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The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Familyby Peter Firstbrook
Synopses & Reviews
On January 20, 2009, a few hundred men, women, and children gathered under trees in the twilight at K'obama, a village on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. Barack Obama's rise tothe American presidency had captivated people around the world, but members of this gathering took a special pride in the swearing in of America's first black president, for they were all Obamas, all thepresident's direct African family.
In the first in-depth history of the Obama family, Peter Firstbrook recounts a journey that starts in a mud hut by the White Nile and ends sevencenturies later in the White House. Interweaving oral history and tribal lore, interviews with Obama family members and other Kenyans, the writings of Kenyan historians, and original genealogical research, Firstbrook setsthe fascinating story of the president's family against the background of Kenya's rich culture and complex history.
He tells the story of farmers and fishermen, of healersand hunters, of families lost and found, establishing for the first time the early ancestry of the Obamas. From the tribe's cradleland in southern Sudan, he follows the family generation by generation, tracingthe paths of the famous Luo warriors--Obama's direct ancestors--and vividly illuminating Luo politics, society, and traditions.
Firstbrook also brings to life theimpact of English colonization in Africa through the eyes of President Obama's grandfather Onyango. An ambitious and disciplined man who fought in two world wars, witnessed the bloody Mau Mau insurrection, andsaw his country gain independence from white rule, Onyango was also hot-tempered and autocratic: family lore has it that President Obama's grandmother abandoned the family after Onyango attempted to murder her.And Firstbrook delves into the troubled life of Obama's father, a promising young man whose aspirations were stymied by post-independence tribal politics and a rash tendency toward self-destruction--twofactors that his family believes contributed to his death in 1982. They say it was no accident, as described in the president's memoirs, but rather a politically motivated hitjob.
More than a tale of love and war, hardship and hard-won success, The Obamas reveals a family history--epic in scope yet intimate in feel--that is trulywithout precedent.
From the Hardcover edition.
The astonishing story of Barack Obama's Kenyan roots, "The Obamas" is the product of dozens of interviews with Obama's African relatives, presented by the first person to trace Obama's family history back 400 years and 23 generations. 12 bw photos.
Draws on dozens of interviews with the 44th president's African relatives to trace Obama's heritage back to the "cradleland" of the southern Sudan tribe, describing his ancestors' first encounters with Europeans and their role in the fight for Kenyan independence.
Table of Contents
Prologue — Two elections, two presidents — Meet the ancestors — The life and death of Opiyo Obama — The Wazungu arrive — The new imperialism — Five wives and two world wars — A state of emergency — Mr. "Double-Double" — Epilogue — Glossary of people — Glossary of terms and place names — Timeline.
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