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Barack Obama For Beginners Book Review

Updated on February 3, 2009

by Bob Neer; Illustrated by Joe Lee

Barack Obama for Beginners: An Essential Guide


This, as the title suggests, is a bit of a short book, yet a great starting point for those who would like to better get to know the 44th president and his past (and, some might say, the expected trajectory of his future). But 71 pages long, including acknowledgements, I read it while on a trolley and a bus through San Diego (in my city, the metro stinks, and you can ride all day without getting anywhere!).

Yet this is not necessarily a book for children, though it is approachable to high school students as well as adults. It neither panders to the reader, nor talks above her head; as said, an excellent beginning to getting to know Barack Obama.

This book is, however, a bit too kind to the former Illinois senator. It is a veritable filament towards his reputation, allowing him to glow with but the slightest bit of static. However, while the author is obviously quite taken by the young president (like most of the country), it is not entirely devoid of the grit and possible embarrassment that every politician has had to endure at some point or other. What the book does achieve, beyond mere education, is showing Barack Obama, via many quotes taken directly from the media and his speeches, as the great politician we all hope he will prove to be.

So, if you’re so inclined, and not adverse to a touch of ingratiation towards the new president (who, at date of publishing had only won the Democratic nomination, not the actual, whole shebang called the American Presidency), read this text. It’s author, who is nearly a doctor of jurisprudence from Columbia University, is no mental slouch.

As an additional note, the illustrations, by Joe Lee, are both enjoyable and recognizable, as his work has appeared in other “For Beginners” series.

Neer, Bob. Barack Obama For Beginners. Hanover: Steerforth Press, 2008.


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