A new biography on President Barack Obama points out a string of inconsistencies in his best-selling memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” and sets the stage for possibly more intense questioning about his personal story than he received when he campaigned four years ago.
The book’s author, David Maraniss, documented the inconsistencies in his book “Barack Obama: The Story,” and as a result put into question the veracity of claims Obama made in his memoir, which was popular with Obama’s political followers, who were often seen with the book at campaign events in 2008, the New York Times blog, The Caucus
Maraniss, according to the Times, said the president in his book deliberately cast everything in racial terms. “That was the original purpose of that book,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a venal reason. I think it says more about a writer’s pressures to try to tell a story than anything about his larger character.”
Maraniss wrote in the book that Obama skipped over the more mundane parts of his upbringing to focus on the themes of race, including the role of basketball in his life, according to the Times, Since playing basketball “did not make his life odd or mysterious,” Marannis said, it was left out.
Maraniss also documents efforts by Obama to invent or change characters to help his story, including the acknowledgment by Obama that events with a girlfriend he said happened in New York actually took place in Chicago.
The most dramatic was that of Mr. Obama’s New York girlfriend. In the book by Mr. Maraniss, the president acknowledges that some of the events he describes as taking place with the New York girlfriend actually took place with another woman he dated in Chicago. “Like many characters in the memoir, he introduced her to advance a theme, another thread of thought in his musings about race,” Maraniss writes in the book, The Times reported.
Maraniss’s book also knocks down Obama’s claim that his grandfather was detained and tortured by the British in Kenya, according to the Daily Mail of London.
Obama’s memoir claims that his paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who served as a cook in the British Army, was imprisoned in 1949 by the British for helping the anti-colonial Mau Mau rebels and held for several months. It quotes his step-grandmother Sarah, Onyango’s wife, saying: “One day, the white man’s askaris came to take Onyango away, and he was placed in a detention camp,” the Daily Mail reported.
She claimed he was “whipped every morning and evening” by the British, the Daily Mail reported. “They would sometimes squeeze his testicles with metal rods. They also pierced his nails and buttocks with a sharp pin, with his hands and legs tied together. He was lucky to survive. Some of his fellow inmates were mutilated with castration pliers and beaten to death with clubs.”
But Maraniss found that there were “no remaining records of any detention, imprisonment, or trial of Hussein Onyango Obama,” the Daily Mail reported, and that Maraniss interviewed five people who knew Obama’s grandfather who “doubted the story or were certain it did not happen.”
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