Barack Obama in Hawaii and Indonesia: The Making of a Global President
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Dinesh Sharma, Ph.D.
Hardcover: 276 pages
Publisher: Praeger (September 22, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
"This book is about Obama's narrative truth--his cultural upbringing,
narrative psychology, and transformative leadership. We will examine Obama's
cultural pathway through the life cycle and examine how he resolved the
various developmental and psychosocial challenges he confronted...
Why is Obama's upbringing in Hawaii and Indonesia relevant for America at
this turning point in history? Is there indeed a connection between the
personal and the political? I find that there is a remarkable degree of
confluence between Obama's biography and the challenges America faces today"
--Excerpted from the Prologue (pg. xxv) & Chapter 1 (pg. 23)
Barack Obama's historic run for the presidency spawned a cottage industry
of books about him and the First Lady, with several even being published
well before the inauguration. Most of the early offerings were merely
take-the-money-and-run rip-offs, which is why this critic suggested that
theose impatient for a keepsake consider waiting for someone to come up with
a worthwhile biography likely to stand the test of time.
Proof that patience is a virtue is Barack Obama in Hawaii and Indonesia, as
insightful an assessment of the roots and psyche of the 44th President of
the United States as one could ever hope to find. This fascinating analysis
of the formative years which made the man was written by Dinesh Sharma, a
cultural psychologist who received his Ph.D. from Harvard University.
Dr. Sharma conducted a couple of years' worth of painstaking research in
preparing this opus, venturing to Obama's hometowns in Indonesia and Hawaii
and to other important ports-of-call to conduct interviews firsthand and to
unearth evidence to determine how his subject had truly been imprinted as a
child. Among many issues, he tackles such popular questions as whether Obama
had attended a Muslim or Christian school in Jakarta (both) and whether he
was born in Hawaii (of course).
Sharma found it harder to prove that the President's parents ever wed. In
fact, Barack Obama, Sr. was already married with children when he met Ann
Dunham, Jr.'s mom. Womanizing, wife-beating Barack, Sr. takes it on the
chin, here, being exposed as both a bit of a blowhard and a deadbeat dad
despite his son's desperate "dreams" and need to place him on a pedestal.
Instead, it is the women in Barack, Jr.'s life had the most impact, from his
mom, Ann; to his maternal grandmother, Madelyn; to his half-sister, Maya; to
his wife, Michelle.
Overall, the author was obviously extremely impressed by what he learned
about the President, since he has no reservations about comparing him
favorably to such icons as fellow Nobel Peace Prize-winner Martin Luther
King, Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and the fabled King Arthur. For, like
those equally-charismatic leaders, he has managed to mesmerize not merely
the citizens of this nation, but folks all over the globe, with his
inspirational message of hope and change.
An enlightening account of Obama's boyhood chronicling an amazing
transformation from an Indonesian slumdog ordinaire into a planetary prophet
for the ages.