Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Presta  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1953 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- John Presta on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Mr. Presta grew up in the Taylor Avenue and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

At a young age, Mr. Presta began following politics with the election of JFK. He and his wife Michelle own a book store and are community organizers who helped with the early Obama campaigns for Congress and the United States Senate and ultimately President of the United States. Mr. Presta has worked a variety of Jobs at several newspapers including the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune. He was also a reviewer for the New York Journal of Books. He is currently working on his next book in the Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots Series.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Mr. and Mrs Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers Did It
ISBN: 098197192X

Elevator Group, The. 2010

Chicago community activists John Presta and his wife Michelle were running their small, popular independent bookstore, Reading on Walden, when Barack Obama's campaign asked them to help in his 2000 race for Congress. Instantly impressed after meeting Obama, the Prestas came on board and stayed on board after his loss. An engaging, detailed, first person account of the Prestas' personal interactions with Obama and how they, together with Obama and his early campaign workers, slowly and steadily built a grassroots organization around a highly committed group of some 300 volunteers. The Prestas shortly became known as "Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots" in the Obama campaign, and Obama himself called them his "southwest side powerhouses." This book peels the layers off the early years of Obama's political career, detailing how he and individual grassroots and "netroots" organizers built a successful campaign despite the Chicago political machine and won the 2004 Senate race, causing immediate speculation about Obama for President. With great insight into a younger Barack Obama's character, vision, self confidence and determination, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots shows how change comes slowly, gradually, incrementally, and suddenly, and how one person - or two - can make a difference that changes the world.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)