NEW YORK – Yet another Obama relative is about to surface in the United States to cause the president grief over the credibility of key aspects of the autobiography that helped propel him to the White House, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.”
Mark Obama Ndesandjo, Barack Obama’s Kenyan half-brother, plans to release Sept. 16 his own autobiography, “An Obama’s Journey: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery across Three Cultures,” published by Globe Pequot Press.
WND reported in December Ndesandjo initially planned to self-publish the book.
In an advance copy of the 374-page memoir obtained by WND, Ndesandjo describes his relationship with his half-brother as distant and strained.
In an appendix, Ndesandjo disputes as inaccurate and a fabrication much of what Obama presented as his African roots in “Dreams from My Father,” which was used to introduce his complex family story to the nation.
Ndesandjo’s mother was Ruth Baker, a Jewish Bostonian that Barack Obama Sr. met and married while pursuing graduate studies at Harvard. Barack Obama is the son of the Kenyan and his second wife, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white student he met while studying at the University of Hawaii.
Baker was a 1958 graduate of Simmons College in Boston with a degree in business.
Commonly known as Ruth Nidesand in most Obama biographical accounts, she followed Barack Obama Sr. back to Africa and married him in Kenya in a civil ceremony Dec. 24, 1964.
After Baker divorced Barack Obama Sr., she and her two sons by Barack Obama Sr. took on the surname of their stepfather, Ndesandjo.
Ndesandjo’s new book enters the controversy over “Dreams,” which WND columnist Jack Cashill has argued not only contains fictional accounts but was written largely by former Weather Underground domestic terrorist and Marxist activist Bill Ayers.
Ndesandjo currently lives in Shenzhen, China, where he gives piano lessons to orphans.
He plans to be in the U.S. for two weeks in mid-September. He will launch “An Obama’s Journey” with a book signing Sept. 13 at a Barnes & Noble store in Manhattan’s Upper West Side neighborhood.
‘So close, yet so far’
Ndesandjo opens the book with a prelude that describes his meeting with his half-brother at the St. Regis hotel in Beijing in 2009.
“Hearing a sound behind me, I turned to see someone standing in the doorway, cast into shadow by the bright light from the corridor outside,” he wrote of first seeing Barack in China. “I recognized the outline of those big, mouse-like ears that always seem to stick out. He stepped into the light and I saw his calm, serious face.”
Impulsively, Ndesandjo hugged Barack.
“Suddenly, he hugged me back,” he continued the narrative.
“I detected a faint smell of cigarette smoke and knew that, in spite of his and Michelle’s best efforts, today he had been playing truant.”
At that meeting, Ndesandjo reflected back on a piece of Chinese calligraphy he had given Barack at a previous meeting, in Austin during the 2008 presidential campaign. It read: “So close, yet so far. So far, yet so near.”
Ndesandjo reflected that Obama was close to him in the elaborately decorated hotel meeting room in China, yet so far away emotionally.
“Yet could I honestly have expected that some old photographs, or even the novel I had written, would get my brother to open up to me for the first time?” he wrote.
“How could the beliefs he had clung to for decades, the entrenched admiration of an adult for his father, be in any way altered by the views of a brother he hardly knew?”
‘To me my father had always been dead’
Ndesandjo writes graphically of his father’s proclivity for domestic violence.
“We Obamas have big hands,” he wrote.
“They can be used to create or to debase. My hands enable me to comfortably reach across twelve keys and play piano well. My father would use his big hands to knock my mother down when he came home from a night of drinking. I would move protectively toward her and clutch her legs, crying. I know now why I mostly remember her legs, not her torso, or even her face.”
He writes of being woken up as a child in the middle of a Kenyan night:
“When I was abruptly woken up, I would see light streaming in around the sides of the door. There would be thumps and yells, often followed by the sound of my mother screaming in pain or anger. Once I heard a loud crash and rushed to the door of the living room. By the orange light I saw my mother on the floor and my father standing over her, his hands clenched.”
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