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Netroots Rising: How a Citizen Army of Bloggers and Online Activists Is Changing American Politics Hardcover – June 30, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0313346606 ISBN-10: 0313346607 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger; First Edition edition (June 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0313346607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0313346606
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,739,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Netroots Rising examines a small window of time when a few young guys with basic computer skills stumbled upon a new way to communicate and organize. The Internet is no longer the home of amateurs, and the Netroots have not yet settled upon a new cause or a new candidate. Netroots Rising provides an account not only of the rise of the Netroots, but, perhaps, also their fall."


Political Communication

"These two Democratic political consultants offer a rich, even gripping narrative, well sourced, of our century's transformation in political engagement by means of netroots. The Deaniacs, the draft Clark effort, the campaign against Tom DeLay, and Jim Webb's unlikely victory (Feld coordinated Webb's online fundraising) are among the stories told here. Feld and Wilcox are not sure what the future holds for the netroots phenomenon, but their book has long-term value for large public and undergraduate libraries."


Library Journal, Starred Review

"When Lowell Feld and Nate Wilcox speak, political activists everywhere should listen. And luckily for us, they've come together to share their vast online organizing experience….in the splendid Netroots Rising, a chronicle of war stories and lessons learned from the trenches of the nascent online movement. Make no mistake: This book is simply the best account of the origin and mission of the netroots out there, bar none, in any medium….What pushes the book into must read territory for the practical progressive is their interviewing prowess with all manner of people associated with both the netroots and traditional campaigns….The diverse opinions and experience the authors sought out really lend a richness to this book……..Netroots Rising is a tour de force--comprehensive and interesting, full of character, personality, passion and commitment….a concrete resistance to mass media passivity that cannot be more strongly recommended."


American Nonsense/Daily Kos ( (http://www.dailykos.

"Their survey offers insider and first-hand accounts of the power of the netroots to determine political outcomes and also offers chapters covering how activists build movements and insiders kill them and how the passage of time affects political and internet movements. A must for not only computer libraries, but any collection strong in social sciences."


Midwest Book Review/The Bookwatch

"…it does an excellent job of explaining how the bloggers and other online activists came to play an increasingly important role in American politics…Democrats will love this book, but there is much here for everyone interested in political communications…Netroots Rising is a fascinating book written in an easy-to-read journalistic style. This would be an engaging book to assign in a political communication class. Just as interesting as the information this book provides, however, are the questions it raises but leaves for others to answer."


Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly


"Blogs have changed the dynamics of campaigns forever in just a few short years, and they've opened up politics to a whole new wave of grassroots activists. Lowell Feld and Nate Wilcox take us behind the scenes of this new phenomenon, revealing the virtues and, yes, the vices of the blogosphere in some of the hottest contests in recent elections. One thing's for sure: politics will never be the same, and people who don't have a handle on blogs won't understand the campaigns of the future."


Larry J. Sabato, Director, Center for Politics, University of Virginia


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
I heartly recommend the book to you.
Ralph Parrott
The conflict between the grassroots and netroots activists versus the party insiders and professional staff is a constant theme running through the book.
Karen F. Duncan
A great endorsement from Webb's company commander in Vietnam was posted.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Feldman on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For people involved in the tsunami of online political activism over the past five years (a.k.a. 'The Netroots'), Lowell Feld and Nate Wilcox are household names, and reading through their fascinating new book, *Netroots Rising*, reveals exactly why that is. Part social history, part activist manual, part political biography, *Netroots Rising* is--at its core--a first-hand description of the 2006 Virginia Senate race, wherein the Democratic Party candidate Jim Webb out hustled and out smarted the incumbent Republican George Allen, thereby giving delivering a new Democratic majority in the Senate. If ever there was an election tale that could make even the most disengaged reader jump out of their chair and shout, the 2006 Virginia Senate race was it. *Netroots Rising* is a perfect case study for college courses and field trainers alike. But what makes the book so rewarding to read, however, is more than just the tale from the trail. It is the masterful way Feld and Wilcox put their experiences in Virginia in the big-picture context of a shifting reality in American electoral politics. Insiders will relish the chance to read Feld and Wilcox' version of 'L'Affaire Macaca'--wherein George Allen insulted a Webb field staffer with an obscure, but well-documented, racial slur. Newcomers to the netroots will devour the brilliant genealogy of online politics that Feld and Wilcox lay out starting from the presidential bid of Gov. Howard Dean.Read more ›
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Rousselot on July 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The American political landscape has been irrevocably altered by the rise of progressive bloggers and online activists. In Netroots Rising, Lowell Feld and Nate Wilcox have provided a gripping insiders account of this phenomenon. Every campaign manager and Party Chair in America needs to read this book.
Peter Rousselot ,Chair, Arlington County Virginia Democratic Committee
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MikeG on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Netroots Rising was super valuable to me in formulating my own theories of online organizing and blogging. I'd say that I really took two things away from Netroots Rising:

1) A better understanding of the historical development of online organizing and the people and campaigns that pioneered the field.

2) The fact that in many of the early successful online campaigns -- drafting Wesley Clark, defeating George Allen -- the web was used as a tool to completely upset the existing power structure.

The reason I found this valuable was because it really put online organizing into context for me and helped crystallize many of my theories on web strategies and tactics. I'd worked at environmental organizations as an online organizer for a couple years at the point I read Netroots Rising, and it occurred to me: Upsetting existing power structures is exactly what we're trying to do. So I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could take the historical examples presented in Netroots Rising and use them to inform my work to protect the environment.

Obviously the types of campaigning I do are far different from the types of campaigning the authors were doing for the likes of Howard Dean and Tim Kaine, so there's not exactly a direct transfer of tactics. But the booked definitely helped shape my thinking in a big way. And when you think about it, giving people the power to directly select the candidate they want (even in the face of opposition from the party establishment) isn't really too different from giving people the power to shape policy or influence decision-makers (even in the face of opposition from the party establishment, special interests, corporate PR firms, etc.).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Wright on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book analyzes, through narrative, anecdote and commentary, the convergence of grassroots organizing/activism with the decentralized power of mass communication available through the internet. The stories are great and provide a unique perspective on recent political events. More significant perhaps is the identification of this emerging reality for political campaigns at all levels -- the reality of a newly democratic process, of citizen activism making a difference. The issues involved are reminiscent of the growth in community organizing in recent years through organizations such as the IAF.

By the end of the book, I had a renewed sense of possibility, if not hope, for local political activism. Perhaps citizens can influence candidates, campaigns, and, ultimately, policy. Now that sounds interesting; sign me up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Political Science has a concept known as "empowerment theory." The idea is that, among other things, giving people an opportunity to participate meaningfully in campaigns is one way of showing respect for their skill, energy, judgment, and intelligence. As formerly frustrated political outsiders begin to perceive such an opportunity for empowerment, many of them will seize that opportunity. As a result of their action, they will feel more efficacious, their lives will seem more meaningful to them, and their belief in democracy will deepen.

This book is a confirmation of empowerment theory. It is a true story of how outsiders to an established campaign process found a new way to become effective participants in the system. As the authors suggest, this may be the beginning of a real revolution.

Who are the netroots? They include men and women, paid website designers and managers, bloggers (paid and unpaid), and especially the readers of these information sources. It is these readers who participate early in campaigns by using the net to seek and to spread information, and to contribute funds to favored candidates, whether in or out of their own voting jurisdictions. By no means monolithic in their opinions, the netroots lean both liberal and libertarian.

For well over 100 years the US has had a political system with a relatively closed campaign and election process run by the rich. Until, that is, 2002 when Howard Dean began his presidential bid.

As the authors show, the Dean campaign listened to its supporters in several ways. It took suggestions made in comments on its blog and in emails to its website. It conducted online voting. It joined with Meetup.
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