• Offers the first systematic study of Barack Obama's Indonesian and Hawai‘ian years and their effect on his adult character and political identity
• Shows how Obama's early experiences fostered a repertoire of social and psychological skills ideally suited to dealing with the complex cultural and geopolitical issues that confront 21st-century America
• Provides new keys to understanding Obama by looking at the varied cultural and religious influences that shaped his attitudes, beliefs, and hybrid cultural identity
• Examines Ann Dunham's doctoral dissertation, based on her social anthropological fieldwork in Indonesia, for clues to the perceptual prisms she inculcated in her son, Barack Obama
"Whatever the final historical judgment of Obama's presidency, the very fact of it resonates globally as it signals that the United States is more in sync with the rest of the world than its power-wielding implies and is ready for the multicultural changes of the 21st century, says cultural anthropologist Sharma. He draws on his insider-outsider perspective as an immigrant, written materials by and about Obama, and interviews with family, friends, neighbors, and teachers in Hawaii and Indonesia to offer the first cultural biography of Barack Obama. . . . Sharma offers intriguing glimpses of Obama's life and a compelling argument that Obama's singular background and his election as U.S. president despite distrust of his "otherness" make him a transformative figure as the United States grapples with emerging nations and its own decline as the world's only superpower."
"An enlightening account of Obama's boyhood chronicling an amazing transformation from an Indonesian slumdog ordinaire into a planetary prophet for the ages."
"Sharma (culture psychology and marketing, St. Francis College, New York) provides a psycho-cultural biography of
President Obama in his first 18 years in Hawai'i and Indonesia, then later on as a young man in college and afterwards
on the mainland United States. Using as evidence Obama's writings along with interviews with Obama's former teachers, his half-sister, classmates in the Catholic elementary school and state elementary school (that used Muslim prayers) that
Obama attended as a child in Jakarta, and interviews in the elite prep school in Honolulu he later attended, the author
contends that Obama is the United State's first global president, given that his first experiences were with multiracial,
multiethnic, multilinguistic people in those areas. . . . Recommended."