BARACK Obama was subjected to racial abuse as a child in Indonesia and may have witnessed his mother being beaten by his stepfather, according to a new book about the troubled life of the president's mother.
Ann Dunham died at the age of 52 in 1995 before her son entered politics. At the age of 18, she married Barack Hussein Obama Snr, an African.
She was already pregnant with a baby who would become the first black president of the US. She later divorced and married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian.
The forthcoming book, 'A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother', details her unconventional approach to the world, which led to turbulence in the lives of Mr Obama and his half-sister Maya, but also extraordinary achievement on his part.
Mr Obama has joked that his mother raised him to become a combination of Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Harry Belafonte.
In an interview with author Janny Scott, Mr Obama said his mother was "resilient, able to bounce back from setbacks, persistent" and had made sure her children knew they were loved.
"But despite all those strengths, she was not a well-organised person. Had it not been for my grandparents providing financially, my mother would have had to make some different decisions," he said.
Mr Obama lived in Indonesia from the age of six until he was 10, when he returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. (© Daily Telegraph, London)