Michelle Obama’s The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times comes billed as a self-help manual but it could be the launch of her 2024 campaign for president. If so, some readers might be puzzled.
The basis of her husband’s run for president in 2008 was Dreams from My Father, but that book failed to show up in The Light We Carry or Michelle’s 2018 Becoming. The one most likely responsible for the omissions is Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow, author of the 2017 Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. On page 538, the author writes:
“Dreams from My Father was not a memoir or an autobiography; it was instead, in multitudinous ways, without any question a work of historical fiction (Garrow’s italics). It featured many true-to-life figures and a bevy of accurately described events that indeed had occurred, but it employed the techniques and literary license of a novel, and its most important composite character was the narrator himself.”
Garrow also identified happy-drunk poet “Frank” as Frank Marshall Davis, an African American Communist who spent much of his life defending an all-white Soviet dictatorship and writing pornography such as Sex Rebel: Black. As Garrow explains, “Davis’ Communist background plus his kinky exploits made him politically radioactive.” That is why Barry needed the “historical fiction” of Dreams from My Father, the back story about the Kenyan foreign student.
The rising star had “remaining disagreements – some strong indeed” with Garrow’s book. The disagreements would have been stronger if Garrow had exposed Obama’s source material for the Dreams section on Kenya, a fascinating read.
En route to Africa, the author writes, “I pulled out a book from my carry-on bag and tried to read. It was a portrait of several African countries by a Western journalist who’d spent a decade in Africa.” The author and the book are not named but the most likely prospects are I Dreamed of Africa, published in 1991, and the 1994 African Nights, both by Italian writer Kuki Gallmann, a longtime resident of Kenya with husband Paulo and children Sveva and Emanuele.
In Dreams from My Father, the American meets a “a dark haired Italian named Mauro and a British couple in their early forties, the Wilkersons.” Remember, Dreams from My Father is a novel, and the composite character plays fast and loose with names. As the introduction explains, “some of the characters that appear are composites of people I’ve known” and “the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of their privacy.”
On page 64 of Dreams from My Father, the author says he went to the library and “found a book on East Africa,” in which the Luo tribe merited only a short paragraph. I Dreamed of Africa mentions a Luo servant named Atipa, and in African Nights Gallman briefly states that the “Luo tribe is spread around the shores of the great Lake Victoria, in western Kenya.”
In Dreams from My Father, the author proclaims that his long-lost father was “a Kenyan of the Luo tribe, born on the shores of Lake Victoria in a place called Alego.”
In African Nights, released one year before Dreams from My Father hit the shelves, Kuki Gallmann writes of “a little man with a perennial grin,” a volunteer for any kind of work. “His sentences often became entangled in a painful stutter, but his good nature and willingness amply made up for his lack of initiative.” In Dreams, the reader finds Mr. Lucas, “a short, gentle man with a bit of a stutter; he did odd jobs.”
One evening the Italian author looked down at the “the breathtaking depths of the Mukatan Gorge, in the Great Rift Valley, in this living cathedral of the spirit.” In I Dreamed of Africa, Gallmann marvels at “the breathtaking spaces of the Great Rift Valley,” and takes in the “breathtaking view of the Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha.”
The Dreams from My Father author arrives at “the Great Rift Valley” and stands “at the edge of the escarpment, looking out to the western plain. For the author, “This is what Creation looked like.”
Kenya is a vast land of nearly 225,000 square miles. In African Nights, Gallmann and company “camped in the area of Narok, one of the main centers of the proud Maasai tribe.” In Dreams from My Father, the American travels to Narok, “a small trading town where we stopped for gas and lunch.”
In I Dreamed of Africa and African Nights, the reader finds “the ink-black of Arap Langat” and “the ink-black darkness” where fish are approaching. Under a slate sky lies the “ink-black turmoil of the ocean,” and so forth.
Dreams of My Father speaks of “ink-black stairwells” and “tall ink-black Luos and short brown Kikuyus.” In Kenya, men “dive into inky-black waters.”
Gallmann sees “coral walls and purple Bougainvillea,” and the American spots “Bougainvillea, red and pink and yellow with flowers, spread along one side.” Gallman sees the “dusty and thorny savannah,” the “open savannah” and savannah contrasting the wind-swept highlands. The American surveys “wide plains, savannah grass” and a “thorn tree against the horizon.”
Both Gallman books include a glossary with terms such as shamba, shuka, boma, kangas, matatus, and baobab for various African garments, vehicles, foods and plants. Dreams from My Father cranks out these terms with the ease of someone who had lived in Africa for many years. That would be someone like Kuki Gallmann.
Gallman describes “women in colorful shukas and rows of brass and bead necklaces” while the American newcomer finds Maasai women “wrapped in red shukas,” and in both accounts the Kenyan ladies with “laughing smiles” are often found on “straw mats.” The American describes “their smooth brown legs sticking straight out in front of them from under wide skirts.”
Kuki Gallmann describes women with “stick-like legs, thin arms gleaming with glass bracelets.” The American encounters a “spindly cook named Rafael,” and Kenyan named Mirimuk has “gaunt cheeks, slightly protruding eyes but stick-like indefatigable legs.” That is also the case with the Kenyan Barack Obama, when Barry sees him in Hawaii at the age of 10.
“He was much thinner than I expected,” the author explains, “the bones of his knees cutting the legs of his trousers in sharp angles.” His “eyes were slightly yellow, the eyes of someone who has had malaria more than once. There was a fragility about his frame.”
Barry’s aunt Auma has a poster that says “I have a dream.” In I Dreamed of Africa, Kuki Gallmann writes, “the profiles of the hills seemed inexplicably familiar, as though I had already been there. . . It was more than I could have dreamed and yet it was exactly what I had dreamed.”
Much of what appears in Dreams from My Father, including the title, is a lot like what Kuki Goodman wrote. On the other hand, the American is not simply aiming for a knock-off. He has a larger purpose in mind.
The character “Sarah” tells Barry “it is me who looks after your father when he is a small boy.” Sarah also claims that Kezia Obama, Barack Obama’s wife, “says children who claim to be Obama’s are not Obama’s.” So the trickery belongs to Kenyans, not the composite character from America.
Barry was born on August 4, 1961. In all his documents from 1958 to 1964, housed at the Harlem-based Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York, the Kenyan Barack Obama makes not a single mention of an American wife and Hawaiian-born son.
Some editions of Dreams from My Father include the composite character’s July 27, 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention, in which he says: “My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father – my grandfather – was a cook, a domestic servant to the British.”
On the other hand, in the early going of Dreams, the author says “I don’t fault people their suspicions.” People still have them, and they are more justified than ever.
I Dreamed of Africa hit the big screen in 2000, with Kim Basinger as Kuki Gallman and Vincent Perez as husband Paulo, directed by Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire). As the IMBD profile has it, “a bored Italian socialite (Kim Basinger) abandons her jet-set lifestyle for the rigors and rewards of rural Kenya in this true story, based on the best-selling memoir by Kuki Gallman.”
“When Barry Met Kuki” has not been optioned, but the profile might read: A half-white Harvard lawyer and his white ghostwriters rip off the memoirs of a white Italian in Barry’s quest to become a rising political star.
The plagiarism leaps from the pages but seems to have escaped biographers such as David Maranis, author of Barack Obama: The Story. On the other hand, clues emerged in An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen, the memoir of publisher and editor Peter Osnos, released in June of 2021.
The former Barry Soetoro, is the stepson of Lolo Soetoro, the Indonesian student his mother Ann Dunham married in 1965. Barry had no record of publication but landed a deal with Simon and Schuster for a book on race and voting rights. The aspiring author failed to deliver and agent Jane Dystel brokered a deal with Osnos, then publisher of Times Books.
In 1994 the book was still unfinished and the author said he needed to make a trip to Kenya for research about his father. In all likelihood, instead of going to Africa, Obama or his ghostwriter simply ripped off the memoirs of Kuki Goodman.
Obama has been billed as the best writer to occupy the White House since Lincoln. According to Jack Cashill, who has been on to the Gallmann connection since 2011, POTUS 44 is the “best plagiarist to occupy the White House before Biden.” There is, of course, much more to the story.
As many believe, Weather Underground vet Bill Ayers had a hand in Dreams from My Father, but the most likely principle author is David Axelrod, dubbed “Obama’s narrator” by the New York Times. For a presidential candidate, Axelrod explains in his 2015 Believer, “biography is foundational,” and the Obama narrator “felt more comfortable, and proficient at, telling stories” than creating ads.
The believer describes his client Obama as “a fantastic writer with the skill of an historical novelist.” Two years later, David Garrow proclaimed Dreams from My Father an historical novel masquerading as a biography and memoir. A Promised Land, released in November of 2020, indulges the same elephantine style, and Michelle had good reason to tap the services of “Obama’s narrator.”
In 2008, Christopher Hitchens said Michelle’s college thesis couldn’t be read “because it wasn’t written in any known language.” About half way through Becoming, Michelle introduces David Axelrod who would “lead the messaging for Barack.” If anyone thought the believer had a hand in The Light We Carry it would be hard to blame them. Her official life story, according to Michelle Obama 2024, “is nothing like she claims.” Neither is that of her husband.
A Promised Land leaves out the Stalinist Frank Marshall Davis, whose duty for the Soviet Union landed him on the FBI’s security index. Dreams from My Father gets only a single mention. In similar style, Michelle’s book leaves out Dreams from My Father, which contends that the Kenyan “bequeathed his name” to young Barry Soetoro. By the end of the book, the Kenyan is a nameless “Old Man,” even to his own family.
The Dreams author rode the narrative all the way to the White House. Now it seems Michelle Obama may seek a return to the premises. In her 2018 Becoming, Michelle claimed “I have no intention of running for office, ever,” but best not to believe anything until it’s officially denied.
Kezia Obama, widow of Barack Obama, passed away in April, 2021 at the age of 81. The composite character and his wife were now safe from any clarifications Kezia might want to offer.
With the addled Joe Biden, 80, in the White House, and Rip Van Winkle communist Bernie Sanders, 81 pondering another run, Michelle may turn out to be “the answer,” as she says her husband was in 2008. That year, the dynamic speaker promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America.
In fundamentally transformed America, the outgoing president picks his successor and deploys the FBI and DOJ against opponents. The transformation also divides the nation into oppressor and victim classes, along racial lines. The composite character’s domestic opposition replaces foreign adversaries and foreign terrorists as the greatest threat to the nation.
A terrorist mass murder becomes “workplace violence,” but parents who resist the racist indoctrination of their children are branded domestic terrorists. Arsonists, murderers and looters are transformed into peaceful protesters.
The nation’s past is vilified and globalist institutions glorified. Runaway inflation destroys wealth and bloats the already fathomless debt. The border disappears and criminal illegals become a privileged, protected class. And so on.
That’s the promised land the composite character was talking about. With 2024 just around the corner, ask yourself how you like it so far.