9 Tall Tales From Barack Obama’s Memoir

David Maraniss’s new biography of Barack Obama challenges parts of Obama’s own memoir, Dreams from my Father, as BuzzFeed reported.

1. Hussein Onyango, Barack’s grandfather, wasn’t really imprisoned and tortured by the British.

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2. The father of his Indonesian stepfather, Soewarno Martodihardjo, wasn’t killed by Dutch soldiers in the fight for independence.

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3. Regina, a friend at Occidental who Obama writes about as a symbol of the authentic African-American experience turns out to be based on Carolina Boss, who is white. Regina was the name of her Swiss grandmother.

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4. Obama projected a racial incident onto his New York girlfriend that he later told Maraniss had happened in Chicago.

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5. Obama wrote that he broke up with his New York girlfriend in part because she was white. But his next girlfriend, an anthropologist in Chicago, was also white.

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6. Obama cuts out two white college roommates entirely.

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7. Obama wrote about his high school friends as an alienated, ne’er-do-well “club of disaffection.” In fact, most members of the “Choom Gang” were “decent students and athletes” who went on to successful careers.

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8. Obama’s mother left his father, not the other way around.

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9. In his memoir, Obama mentions he missed out on playing time in high school basketball because he coach preferred players who “play like white boys do.” In fact, Obama had to work hard just to make the team, and race had nothing to do with it.

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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