Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Obama Revolution

I was very excited that I got a chance to review The Obama Revolution by Alan Kennedy-Shaffer. I was looking forward in reading a book about the Obama Campaign.

About The Book:

The first book to be written by a campaign staffer and offering rare insider glimpses, The Obama Revolution explores how a generation of believers and the politics of hope won the presidency for Barack Obama and changed the world.

The Obama Revolution carefully examines what Obama plans to do as president, how Obama clinched the Democratic nomination and won the general election, and why Obama’s evocative rhetoric inspired millions of Americans to create a political revolution that toppled the status quo and changed the face of American politics forever.

Drawing on both first-hand campaign experience and scholarly analysis, the author delivers everything from personal stories of grass-roots organizing and grueling all-nighters to candid assessments of the Obama campaign’s strengths and weaknesses. Insightful and powerfully written The Obama Revolution offers an enlightening, annotated, documented overview of Obama’s path to the White House and what it means to every American.

Learn how Obama used policies of change, strategic vision, and the rhetoric of hope to transform the campaign into a political movement. Discover how field organizers (most under 30), using cell phones and the Internet, mobilized and energized a whole new generation of voters. Follow the author as he registers voters, spreads the word and is touched by the people he meets.

Anyone wondering whether America's flame still burns brightly needs to read this book and be inspired by the hope, the promise, and the ardor of Barack Obama and “Generation Change”—the future of America—as they work hand-in-hand to fulfill the legacy of change that is the Obama Revolution.

My Review:

I found The Obama Revolution to be eye opening and thoughtful. It was very interesting to see the Obama campaign through the eyes of one of the people who lived it. Kennedy-Shaffer puts in a lot of facts to support his statements. He also put a lot of time and effort into writing this book and it shows.

Kennedy-Shaffer looks in the past to show that this is not the first time that a presidential candidate has run on change and won. He shows us how the campaigns of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were similar to Obama's and how Obama takes his campaign to the next level. I found this very interesting.

As I was reading The Obama Revolution I thought that the Obama Campaign was the perfect storm. The Campaign was doing the right things at the right time and of course the right candidate. How staffers incorporated the old with the new. Staffers going out and making personal contact with potential voters as well as using the Internet to get the Obama rhetoric out. Even when mistakes were made Obama learned from those mistakes, which made his campaign better.

Kennedy-Shaffer puts in 10 speeches that Obama delivered during his campaign. These speeches were considered important to the campaign.

If you want to learn more about the Obama Campaign and how Obama was able to win the Presidency this book is for you. A very good introduction to the rhetoric and what happens in a presidential campaign . 4 Stars.

About The Author:

Alan Kennedy-Shaffer served as a regional field director for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia. Educated at Yale University and William & Mary Law School, Kennedy-Shaffer is the author of Denial and Deception: A Study of the Bush Administration’s Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq. Kennedy-Shaffer’s writings have also appeared in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post, the Patriot-News, the Daily Press, and the Virginia Gazette. Alan lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

You can visit Alan on the web at

Happy Reading


Evy said...

Very good review. I thought it very interesting how the campaign got people at the grassroot level working as part of the larger event. I hope to read this book one day!

Cheryl said...

We hear a lot of talk about grassroots these days. It certainly sounds like this will be important in upcoming elections.

Thanks for the great review of this title.


Pabast said...

Obama oozes charisma, which I feel was very helpful in getting people to become part of his grassroot campaign. I remember seeing Obama speak at the Democratic Convention 2004. I got chills. I called my daughter who was 8 at the time to watch this speech I told her that I wanted her to see this because he was going to be the first African American President. That is when I fell in love with him so to speak.

I see other campaigns using what Obama did as a guide. The question will be can other politicans suceed like Obama.

Books We Read said...

Hmmm...Besides having charisma, one has to be in the right place at the right time to come to power. If you read the history of China, Europe and you see how Mao Ji Dong, Lenin and Hilter came to power and rose to the top out of nowhere....There is a similarity. I'm not saying Obama is like any of them in terms of personality or governing philosophy. But the fundamentals of how Obama came to power are the same like those... that is "grassroot" campaigning and speeches that struck a cord of the people's heart at the right time when the countries were in chaos, or having economic or social problems. Lenin, Moa, Hilter all knew "power came from the bottom up...and the majority of the people...." They won their power with the support of the pepole who all wanted change, who all desired a new course that would improve their welfare and prosperity....who all disliked the wealthy class and the corrupted government who catered to them ..... Actually, Obama's campaign tactics are nothing new..
"Change", "New Direction", "Revolutionary", "For the pepole"....were big words for Mao, Lenin and Hilter... Again, Obama is not Lenin, Mao or Hilter. Just his campaigns are similar to theirs, and his strategies to motivate the voters are the same. The message of the campaign is so similar, "The current government isn't working for the people, they are working for their own interets and the wealthy people's interest, this is why you need me, to change, to work for you, the pepole..." Moa visted villages after villages to deliver messages like this in China.... The entire China fell in love with him...(too bad this guy turned out to be a dictator, controlled freak)

Obama is a very smart and educated man, there is no doubt about it. But he also happened to be in the right place at the right time when Americans were all feeling lost and hopelessness about their country's economic and political policies and there were enough disgruntled Americans there to demand a new face, a new something.... In a situation like this, all it took was really a new face, a new political party, new energy, a new style to win the pepole over... Obama happened to be that new face, new kid who got "new ideas" (not to me though, I heard those before...)

Only history will tell if Obama is the solution to America's problems like his campaign promised.

Obama's campaign is one proof that history always repeats itself, and regardless of race, ethnicity and the culture, what people like to hear and what entice pepole are all the same things....

Right now, I'm neutral about Obama. Coming from China and having grandparents and parents telling me the political change of their time, I just don't get impressed or moved by politicans and their speeches like my American friends. Cause what Obama said, I had heard similar on documentaries I watched when I was growing up....(people often vote on passion , impulse, on "heresays" that's what I learnt from history)

I like to vote by studying closely everything the person has done,(his track records) and the practicality of everything he promosed. Charisma is not what I'm looking for in a President.

I think other politicans can succeed if they refer to history what works and what doesn't work in terms of getting support. (not just from Obama's success, yes, his too, but before him, there were others who used the same strategies)

Pabast said...

Books We Read-What you say is so true. As I mentioned in my review. It was the perfect storm-right place at the right time with the right candidate.

Also as you mentioned history does repeat itself. This has happened before in America's past as well. Kennedy-Shaffer refers to past presidents who were considered candidates for change. I also thought of Jimmy Carter losing to Ronald Reagan.If people are not satisfied with Obama people will vote for change again.

It is interesting that you mentioned dictactors in your comparison. It is true that they had to have charisma to get in power, but they also ruled by fear and tourture.

When I vote, I try to follow my belief system. I don't vote for charisma, but lets be realistic people do. If Obama said things that I disagreed with I would not have fallen for him.

Only time will tell if Obama will be a good president. And I am glad that I live in a country that has checks and balances to prevent what has happen in other countries. We have the right to vote for change whenever we want to because basically that is what an election is. You vote for change or you vote for the same.