William and Mary Law School

New Book by Kennedy-Shaffer '09 Offers Insights into The Obama Revolution

book jacket

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Alan Kennedy-Shaffer '09

On March 10, Phoenix Books released The Obama Revolution, a new book by Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, a third-year law student at William & Mary. The book is the first published about the  Obama campaign by a campaign staffer.

"After the election I was a bit depressed, as were many organizers, because we no longer had the 18-hour days and constant interactions with black and white people from the community to illustrate what it means to be American," said Kennedy-Shaffer, who served as a regional field director for the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party in Virginia. "After having spent five months canvassing, making phone calls and organizing for Obama ... I felt that it would be great to get a side of the story out there that isn't normally heard." 

In addition to an in-the-trenches look at the historic campaign, the book provides insight into Obama's rhetoric which attracted millions of people to the campaign and continues to attract international attention.

"We need the rhetoric of hope and the promise of change," said Kennedy-Shaffer. "Being hopeful is important, but we also have to demand change through action. So part of what this book does is not only provide a historical account of the campaign, but also a way forward."

To this end, Kennedy-Shaffer provides policy prescriptions, proposals to revive the economy, restore America's standing in the world and what he calls a "green deal." The book also contains what Kennedy-Shaffer believes are the ten most important speeches from the campaign, beginning with Obama's 2004 Democratic Convention speech and ending with his election night victory speech. "Students will find that The Obama Revolution can serve not only as a history of the campaign, but also as a reference on policy and rhetoric," he said.

Kennedy-Shaffer is no stranger to combining activism and academic endeavors. He urged students to get out into the community, start talking to people and gain real world experience they can apply to their study of the law.

"I would encourage law students to branch out and get involved in political campaigns and to become citizen lawyers," he said.  "It's impossible to become a citizen lawyer in the classroom."

This is Kennedy-Shaffer's second book. His first book, titled Denial and Deception: A Study of the Bush Administration's Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq, was published in 2006.

Editor's Note: The College of William & Mary Bookstore on Duke of Gloucester Street will host book signings by Kennedy-Shaffer on Saturday, April 4, and Saturday, April 18, both from 10 AM to noon.