The most famous man in the world is still a mystery to most of us; as most presidents are, Barack Obama is the object of interest for so many–for good or bad–because of his position of power.
While we know a bit about his early years–some from his book “Dreams Of My Father”–he didn’t quite reveal everything readers thought he did. Obama told Washington Post reporter David Maraniss that he merged several of his ex-girlfriends into one within the book, a clever way to keep from singling anyone out.
Maraniss, who has written a book about Obama called simply, “Barack Obama: The Story”, managed to get his hands on some journals kept by a former girlfriend of Obama’s named Genevieve Cook, the daughter of an Australian diplomat. Excerpts from the journals are included in the book, which will be released next month. The two of them met at a party and quickly became close, finding solace in one another because of their shared sense of not belonging anywhere.
“That wasn’t my world,” she said of her family’s social status. “I was through and through infused with the sense of being an outsider, like Barack was.”
One of Cook’s journal entries reveal a truth perhaps more profound than she realized at the time:
“Thursday, March 22
Barack—still intrigues me, but so much going on beneath the surface, out of reach. Guarded, controlled.”
A theme that runs throughout the journal entries is the fact that Obama continuously battled his feelings about his race and was constantly trying to find where he fit in.
“…He felt like an impostor. Because he was so white. There was hardly a black bone in his body.” A later entry says, “…In his own quest to resolve his ambivalence about black and white, it became very, very clear to me that he needed to go black.”
Maraniss says that while Obama’s book “Dreams Of My Father” is a fairly truthful expression of his past, it is “a remarkably insightful exploration of his internal struggle but should not be read as rigorous factual history” because he changed around a few things in order to protect the people he was writing about, out of respect. “Barack Obama: The Story”, however, gives actual accounts from the people who were closest to Obama during his college years, making it highly anticipated by those who are interested in what our president went through before his rise to office.