Mark Ndesandjo’s mother later divorced the senior Obama and married another man, whose surname both mother and son also took.
Ndesandjo and Obama did not grow up together. Ndesandjo was brought up in Kenya but moved to the U.S. for college, earning a bachelor’s degree in physics at Brown University, a master’s in the same subject from Stanford University and an MBA at Emory University.
The book recounts Ndesandjo’s first encounter with Obama, who was visiting Kenya in 1988. They did not hit it off.
“Barack thought I was too white and I thought he was too black,” Ndesandjo said. “He was an American searching for his African roots, I was a Kenyan, I’m an American but I was living in Kenya, searching for my white roots.”
The 500-page book includes an appendix listing a number of alleged factual errors in Obama’s 1995 memoir, “Dreams from my Father,” such as quotes incorrectly attributed to Ndesandjo’s mother.
“It’s a correction. A lot of the stuff that Barack wrote is wrong in that book and I can understand that because to me for him the book was a tool for fashioning an identity and he was using composites,” Ndesandjo said.
“I wanted to bring it up because first of all I wanted the record to be straight. I wanted to tell my own story, not let people tell it for me,” he said.