Obama's Mother Shaped His 'Essence'

He is his mother's son: David Maraniss
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2012 8:23 AM CDT
Obama's Mother Shaped His 'Essence'
This undated photo shows President Obama's parents, Barack Obama and Ann Dunham. (Her given name was Stanley Ann Dunham.)   (AP Photo/Obama for America)

Barack Obama titled his memoir Dreams From My Father, but "Dreams From My Mother better evokes his story," writes Washington Post editor and Obama biographer David Maraniss. The president is very much a reflection of his mom, the Kansas-born Stanley Ann Dunham who married a Kenyan and later an Indonesian. "She was a searcher," writes Marannis in a Mother's Day tribute, a woman who earned a doctorate in anthropology and was endlessly "fascinated by other cultures and ways of living."

One of the themes in Obama's relationship with his mom is that she was "naive and idealistic, sometimes too good for her own good," writes Maraniss. But if she came off as naive, "it was in the role of a mother not wanting her children to suffer." She may not have lived to see her son make history, "but she shaped the essence of this president." Click for the full essay, which includes a movie-related theory on why she was named Stanley. (Click to read about the biography excerpt dealing with Obama's old girlfriends.)

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