Obama's half-brother publishes autobiography - Addresses domestic abuse, reveals private family matters

Published: Friday | December 20, 2013 Comments 0
President Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama.
Mark Obama Ndesandjo
Mark Obama Ndesandjo
In this December 17, 2013 photo, the book 'Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery' by Mark Obama Ndesandjo is displayed.
In this December 17, 2013 photo, the book 'Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery' by Mark Obama Ndesandjo is displayed.


President Barack Obama's half-brother is publishing an autobiography that details the domestic abuse that served as the theme for his earlier semi-autobiographical novel, which featured an abusive parent patterned on their late father.

Mark Obama Ndesandjo also recounts his sporadic-but-intense encounters with his brother over the years in Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery. The self-published book, to be released in February, also tries to set the record straight on some points in the president's bestselling 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father. In that book, Obama seeks to learn more about their father, a mostly absent figure, after learning of his death in a car crash in 1982 at age 46.

Controversial truths

Ndesandjo's book comes four years after his novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen: A Novel of Love in the East. As in his first book, Ndesandjo wanted to raise awareness of domestic abuse by using his family's story, although he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the president's relatives have not universally welcomed his airing of private matters in public.

When asked how he would describe his relationship with his brother, he said, "Right now, it's cold and I think part of the reason is because of my writing. My writing has alienated some people in my family."

Even though he felt their relationship was distant, "I hope that my brother and I can really hug each other after he's president and we can be a family again," said Ndesandjo, who resembles Obama. Like the president, Ndesandjo also has a white American mother, Ruth Ndesandjo, a Jewish woman who was Barack Obama Sr's third wife.



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