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Mr. and Mrs Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers Did It Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Elevator Group, The (January 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098197192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981971926
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,128,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Presta, the son of Italian-born immigrants, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife Michelle are community organizers and leaders. When the campaign asked, he volunteered in Barack Obama's 2000 Congressional campaign. He had extensive contact with Obama and his campaign workers and organized three hundred volunteers at a critical campaign moment. He expanded those activities during Obama's 2004 Senate race. He worked at several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, in such positions as typesetter, reporter, circulation manager, and ad sales. He is currently working on his next book in the Mr. & Mrs. Grassroots series.

More About the Author

John Presta, the son of Italian-born immigrants, was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois on March 3, 1953. John was born and raised in Chicago in the community known as Taylor Street and at the age of two his family moved to the Garfield Rodge community which is located near Midway Airport. At the time, Midway Airport was the "busiest airport in the world." Mayor Richard J. Daley was the mayor of Chicago when John was growing up and John vividly recalls that Daley was a revered figure in Chicago and a beloved politician.

But John's excitement for politics began in 1960 when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected President of the United States. JFK, as he was known, was young, energetic and full of new ideas and proposed a new frontier to the American people. It was this inspiration that brought out John's passion for politics. It was then John decided he was a Democrat. John recalls the assassination of JFK on November 22, 1963 as if it were yesterday.

During the following years John's passion for politics remained, but in the back of his mind he was looking for another JFK. That figure appeared in the form of JFK's brother Bobby and John hoped that Bobby would run for President. When Lyndon Baines Johnson announced on March 31, 1968 that he would not seek reelection, the stage was set for Bobby to assume the Presidency.

Again, another assassins bullet ended the dream.

But on March 7, 2000, John met an obscure state senator from Illinois named Barack Obama and John was again struck by a thunderbolt. John knew instantly that Barack Obama was special and something inside told him this man would one day become President of the United States. And from that day forward, John, with his wife Michelle and 300 volunteers pursued this dream until Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.

The book, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots, was the culmination of a dream for John, not only seeing this man Obama become elected President of the United States of America, but also fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing a book.

He and his wife Michelle are community organizers and leaders. When the campaign asked, he volunteered in Barack Obama's 2000 Congressional campaign. He had extensive contact with Obama and his campaign workers and organized three hundred volunteers at a critical campaign moment. He expanded those activities during Obama's 2004 Senate race. He worked at several newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, in such positions as typesetter, reporter, circulation manager, and ad sales. He is currently working on his next book in the Mr. & Mrs. Grassroots series.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy McGuire on March 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Many books are likely to be written about the historic presidential election of 2008 when Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States, most of these books will be either by objective observers or by high ranking Obama campaign insiders. As valuable and indeed essential as these works are to the student of American politics, none will be as intimate or as passionate as John Presta's "Mr. & Mrs Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners and 300 Volunteers did it." If all politics is local, it doesn't get any more local than this
John Presta has experience as a journalist, but do not expect journalistic objectivity here: he is unabashedly an Obama loyalist. In this detailed memoir of a remarkable political ascendency, he tells you why. Those who think Barack Obama is the Antichrist, then, may not like it much. No matter. They should read it anyway if for no other reason than to find out what all the fuss is about and how Obama came from nothing to capture the nation's highest office. Presented here is a study in politics as is should be, politics as I imagine the Founding Fathers dreamed it would be, politics as local neighborhood efforts by small cadres of true believers.
The charge has been made that Obama is the result of the corrupt Chicago political machine. Presta says it's just the opposite. Obama was the outsider, the impatient upstart who would not "wait his turn," and was opposed by the Chicago establishment when he ran unsuccessfully against the entrenched incumbent congressman Bobby Rush in 2000. Again in 2004 when he came back to challenge the legacy candidate Dan Hynes in the US Senate race, the machine ignored him or treated him as no more than a nuisance. The outcome of that race was just understood as a given, Hynes would win.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By db on January 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
So often we think of political "insiders" as elected officials, lobbyists, etc. But John Presta is your neighbor, part of your community...and, yet, he and his wife Michelle are your ticket to learning more about the early days of Barack Obama's career.

A community activist and bookstore owner in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, Presta recounts his first introduction to Obama, the ensuing political forums and local campaign efforts -- along with a bevy of other historically significant grassroots events that led to Obama's rise in Illinois. Chockfull of detail and personal reflection, Presta sheds light on the 44th president in a way that grounds us again. It allows us to set aside the skewed images of mass media and see Obama as a man, a neighbor, with a passion to change America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E Garnet Fay on September 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
John Presta has his finger on the pulse of his community and knows how to build local consensus to support progressive action. Here is the story of how a neighborhood rallies around ideals and becomes a political force for change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BookLover on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book which chronicles the relentless, hardworking efforts of a south side Chicago couple who saw something special in Barack Obama way back in 2000 and, as commununity organizers and local business owners, became committed to helping Mr. Obama get elected to public office. In a first person account, Mr. Presta traces how he first came to know then senate candidate Barack Obama, and worked tirelessly to campaign for his presidency.

This book is filled with fascinating details about the behind the scenes work of the people who got to know Barack Obama personally, saw his great potential, and committed their time, ennergy and money into helping him get elected president. Presta shows us how he knew, from the start, that Obama had what it took to become president. A terrific book that can show the reader how our president has the tools to change our country for the better.
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