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September 20, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
With the 50-day mark to the election now gone, the countdown to Election Day has begun.
Voters hoping to become experts on the candidates before the big day might relish the opportunity to do some quick reading on the subject. But with the deluge of political nonfiction books and mud-slinging reads topping bestseller charts, the task of selecting research materials seems daunting.Related Articles
Vox makes it easy by compiling a list of the most popular mud-free books on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Hear it from the candidates themselves, read quotes from their speeches assembled in tidy compilations or look to books written by investigative and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists.
So cozy up with your e-reader or hunker down at the library stack, and get to know the candidates a little better before casting your vote.
Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise
By Barack Obama (2008)
Publisher: Random House, $10.98
Written at the pinnacle of his pre-presidential celebrity, Change We Can Believe In explains the foundational ideas and plans that shaped President Obama’s 2008 political campaign for office.
The book is divided into two parts. The first details the nuts and bolts of then-Senator Obama’s mission to strengthen the middle class, revive the economy and rebuild American leadership at home and abroad. The second half features a selection of transcribed speeches from campaign events. For readers looking for a guide to compare the president’s 2008 campaign promises to the realities of 2012, this read might fit the bill.
No Apology: The Case for American Greatness
By Mitt Romney (2010)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, $16.37
Romney’s No Apology is a dense but informative read; it might be best to thumb through the index to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Romney’s how-to-strengthen-America manual is highly detailed and solution-oriented. Each chapter presents topics such as health care, defense and education. He addresses just about every pertinent subject possible in the 336-page book.
Barack Obama In His Own Words
By Lisa Rogak (2007)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers, $11.49
Lisa Rogak’s pocket-sized book is an easy flip-through of quotes from President Obama before he was President Obama. Inside is an alphabetized laundry list of the president’s views on everything from education reform, race and his sometimes re-occurring cigarette habit. This might not be the best selection for readers hoping to dig deep into contentious political debates, but it’s a good starting point for those intimidated by political books.
Mitt Romney In His Own Words
By Phillip Hines (2012)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, $10.39
For voters wishing to better understand the Republican presidential nominee, look no further than Phillip Hines’ new book. Hines compiles more than 300 Romney-isms on 150-plus topics including his Mormon faith and even his beloved head of hair (which has its own Facebook page).
This up-to-date collection offers readers the opportunity to judge the presidential hopeful for themselves with quotes from various speeches and public appearances.
Barack Obama: The Story
By David Maraniss (2012)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, $17.66
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Maraniss became an expert on Obama after being assigned to follow the presidential candidate for The Washington Post. What Maraniss offers is an exclusive, new biography of the life and saga of the president. There seems to be an intricate interplay between the president’s childhood and adolescence to his journey to become the first black President of the United States. Don’t fear the encyclopedic look of Maraniss’ latest work. This read is well worth its weight.
The Real Romney
By Michael Kranish and Scott Helman (2012)
Publisher: Harper Collins, $18.47
According to a recent article in The New York Times, the great service of Michael Kranish and Scott Helman’s new biography is that it humanized Romney. These Washington Post veterans and renowned investigative reporters delve deep into the life and times of the presidential candidate. They include intimate details about his Mormon faith and business credentials. This comprehensive work might just be the best way to get to know the “Real Romney.”