I've been meaning to write this for weeks now - and apologize for writing it this late into the summer. Suffice it to say, Bob Neer wrote a book on Barack "for beginners." It's a very slim book that one could read on a few rides in the subway, for example.
It reads almost like a manual on Barack's life - going through each stage, starting from whence he came. You'll really learn a lot, even beyond the things most people learned from watching the conventions. For example, did you know his mother - who was on food stamps at one point - eventually worked herself into becoming a world-wide authority on microloans in developing countries as a means to empower local people, getting them out of poverty? Pretty cool.
I'm not going to talk a whole lot about the content of the book - that would take away from those who want to read it. The writing's sharp and on point; it's very accessible. Everything's (diligenty) sourced on the website. There's hand-drawn pictures throughout the book, I guess as a means to make it more readable. I'm not 100% sold on the pictures, but then again I've never been into pictures in books.
The book's only $7.95 and is the perfect tool for someone who's not completely sold on Barack Obama. If you know anyone who's against the war, or who voted for Hillary, and they're still on the fence... they need to read this book. Get it for them. It's honestly a good policy to keep a copy or two of these around to give to your on-the-fence friends, because they will like Barack much more after they read about his life - which is even more interesting than I would have ever imagined.
I started the book as someone who was going to vote for Barack, but perhaps not be enthused about it. In this election, I first wanted Al Gore - to the extent that I signed up for "Draft Gore" emails for months. When it became beyond apparent that he wouldn't run for the position, I shifted towards Edwards's populism, great health care plan and message that he'd take on K Street. After he bailed, just a week before the Mass primary, I voted for Hillary based on the fact that her energy and health care plans were superior to Barack's. So, suffice it to say, my support for Barack was not enthusiastic... until I read the book. Then I was actually interested in him, as opposed to just willing to vote for him; I needed to learn more about him. Now I'm ready to head up to NH or Maine for a weekend or two, just to seal the deal.
So if you think you have friends who either may not vote, or who'd vote for McCain despite their best interests, this book is for them. At $8 bucks, this book is a great investment to help them along the way to making the best decision in this upcoming race. It's a great buy for anyone who'd just like to learn more about his life and what makes him tick, too.