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Groundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 088-4115019771
ISBN-10: 0199394601
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Amid all the hype about 'big data' and analytics in Obama's presidential campaigns, one key story hasn't been told in full: how the Obama team built a sprawling and vibrant field organization almost entirely out of volunteer labor. Han and McKenna recount the successes and struggles of this effort, drawing on extensive and illuminating interviews with everyone from senior staff to many of those volunteers. Their account shows how a winning campaign depends as much on old-fashioned shoe leather as on statistical models and multi-million dollar advertising sprees. This is a book that both scholars and practitioners of campaigns should read." --John Sides, author of The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election


"Groundbreakers is thus an excellent introduction to the practice of organizing, which is an extremely underappreciated facet of American politics...If we are ever going to have a more active and representative political culture, political actors and ordinary citizens alike will have to start taking some cues from Groundbreakers." -- Boston Review


"All students of campaigns should read this book. Highly recommended." -- CHOICE


"A rich and highly readable story about a campaign that made history, not only in terms of whom it elected but also how it did it... At its core, this book shows readers that 'democracy can work when people are given power."
--Perspectives on Politics


About the Author


Elizabeth McKenna is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hahrie Han is Associate Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College.

Jeremy Bird served as the National Field Director for Obama for America and is a founding partner at political consulting firm 270 Strategies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199394601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199394609
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Blanca U. Oleary on March 3, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best book written about Barack Obama's ground game. Very authentic. Interviews from the people/volunteers that actually did the work, many of whom had never participated in politics at any Level. Some were like me, who had waited decades for a candidate to come along that actually cared about real grassroots politics in America. Barack Obama not only cared, he re-invented grassroots politics in America. Working on President Obama's campaigns is one of the things I'm most proud of, and this book captures that sentiment better than any other book I have read on this subject.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although many a scholar has penned a case study documenting the campaign strategy, digital tactics, and volunteer management techniques employed by Obama for America campaign most fall into one of two buckets; either the campaign staffer's insider tell-all or the scholarly outsider's definitive record. McKenna & Han demonstrate a third way, by mixing an impressive array of first-hand, ethnographic interviews within an empirical, social-scientific framework for analysis their report offers not only a more accurate encapsulation of the campaign's nuts-and-bolts innerworkings, but illustrates, moreover, an authentic internalization of that very same ethos for which 2.2 million (+2) grassroots volunteers found to an inspirational intoxicant for the imagination too tempting to resist. - Jacob Republicandroid.com
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great play-by-play analysis of President Obama's march to victory, and the army of volunteers that rose to the challenge.
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A headquarters staff member of major political party recommended the book. While interesting, it lacked real substance.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Still working my way through this book. Great read and it will be used for the 2016 campaign here.
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