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Impressively research but a bit depressing,
This review is from: Other Barack (Hardcover)I was deeply moved by Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father (A Story of Race and Inheritance), however I realise we all create myths about ourselves and our pasts (even more so if your narrative is positioning you for high political office) so I was curious to get a more objective view of Obama's father.
Sally Jacobs offers this in a well researched book, though the result is rather depressing.
The (current) President's book ended by showing his father as an alcoholic and failure. Here he emerges as even worse: a serial philanderer, bigamist, liar, sponger, wife beater and a man so devoid of empathy it's shocking. Obama Junior probably had a lucky escape with him not being around.
The book's great strength, alongside the readable prose, is the quality of the research. The author interviewed hundreds of people and tracked down every conceivable record of Obama's father. In places this over complicates things. Too many people and relations flit in and out of the narrative, until I struggled to keep track of them all. I was also uncomfortable with Jacobs's patronising (possibly even racist) justification of Obama Senior's behaviour because he was African.
In short, I finished the book with mixed feelings; ideally I'd give it 3.5 stars. I was impressed by the research, but its end was to portray a deeply flawed and sordid man. It's all a bit grim. If you enjoyed DREAMS FROM MY FATHER, approach this with caution.