Madison author wins Book of the Year Award
Chicago Writers Association in their Non-fiction Category
"Mary Lang Sollinger offers a rare glimpse into the fascinating world of political fundraising in her highly personal, engaging book From Inspiration to Activism. This is a well-crafted, well-paced book that delivers on its title as Mary describes how she was inspired to make a difference in the world, and how that inspiration spurred her to work tirelessly to elect Barack Obama in 2008. Mary’s idealism is refreshing rather than divisive. She writes of her upbringing in a rural, Republican family and how, as Obama’s campaign progressed, she would hear her father’s voice in Obama’s speeches. Mary’s ability to find these connections across political differences undoubtedly led to her fundraising success, yet the book isn’t simply a compilation of Mary’s efforts. Instead, in each story she shares, she shows how she and countless campaign volunteers embody Obama’s mission to respect, empower, and include. She shows how, by listening and being kind, each of us has the power to effect change. From Inspiration to Activism is an enjoyable blend of memoir, history, and ‘how-to’ tips. Lesson one in Mary’s final section is “Be magnanimous.” Her story does this beautifully.”--- --Tammy Letherer, CWA Judge
Mary grew up in a farming town in Wisconsin in a Republican family. She moved to Madison and opened a store on State Street, near the University of Wisconsin. After becoming a prodigious fundraiser and a community activist. for causes and candidates she believed in, she became a candidate for mayor. Because of these credentials, Mary received a call for an incredible opportunity. It was to host a fundraiser at her home with Senator Obama in the fall of 2007.Mary believed in the issues and values he represented. Mary, along with many other volunteers, worked tirelessly in canvassing across Madison, Milwaukee, Dubuque, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. While knocking on door after door, Mary found unique ways to overcome obstacles when trying to connect with people on the other side of those doors. She embodied Obama’s campaign mantra of: respect, empower, include, REI. Mary discovered that only in the United States of America could this happen. NOW, more than ever, this book is essential to re-kindle that hope that is in all of us.
For ordering: A Room of One's Own or the publisher: Little Creek Press
The cost of the paperback is $17.95
Use this link: https://www.amazon.com/Inspiration-Activism-Personal-Presidential-Campaign/dp/1942586760
for the paperback book, an E-book ($8.99), available via Kindle or Audible Book.
The book is also available on iTunes.
What a time to be releasing a new book!
Necessity and hard times are the “mother of invention”. During the pandemic's health restrictions, we stretched our imaginations. A new, interesting and practical way surfaced—Happy Hour Obama Book Readings and Conversations.
Curious about hearing President Obama's legacy through Mary’s journey in the 2008 campaign? Join Mary for an hour-long Zoom Conversation with your virtual guest list! Learn about her time serving on the National Finance Committee and what it was like to get out the vote in the field by knocking on doors in four states.
Mary has given over 20 book conversations and book readings for women's groups, book clubs, community, black friends and young activists. She would like to connect with book clubs, community groups, youth organizations who are curious about an insider's story of how ordinary people can make a difference our political process.
All book reading events have been changed to virtual/Zoom events due to COVID.
If you are interested, please text Mary at 608-212-6889 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 15, 2008, the day that energized 135 voters and changed my life forever.
Obama in my living room. He had just ended. He had to give a second answer to a guest's question. It was nine "Mississippis" of thinking for that right answer. "Humph," the older Black woman said. I was thrilled and relieved. It could have been his "Waterloo."
Der Spiegel had just arrived, as we were leaving to hear both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama speak at a State Party fundraiser.
The Wisconsin Volunteers who worked so hard trying to persuade people to vote for Senator Obama. We were being fed our lunch by Joe, the mailman who had shared his hair raising stories on how he literally ran out of the South.
This is the magazine cover that opened our conversations with potential voters in Pittsburgh. We must have bought thirty copies to give, with the understanding that they would pass it on to someone who would be interested and would be voting.
Volunteers and Donors at the January 29, 2009 Inaugural. The gentleman in the front with the mustache is Dr. Zorba, who made a difference with bringing in Wisconsin for Obama.
One of many donors and volunteer "round tables" with 30-35 guests. President Obama always the gentleman let the hostesses Carol Pensky and Cynthia Friedman go into the room first. He always looked comfortable, would say about three or four sentences, and then invited our questions. There were always very broad ranges of topics; President Obama had the answers without any prompting or help from an aid.
"A campaign memoir from an actual campaign worker is rare, even though each presidential campaign gives birth to a small library of books from the higher up insiders and the reporters covering the campaign. MLS gives a look from the trenches. It is a book for students of political science that marries theory with reality.”
"What was going to be one became six fundraisers Mary organized for Barack Obama's Presidential campaign. She is a master organizer - energizing everyone, making it fun, making it easy, personalizing each event. I'm not sure how she did it, which is why I want you to take a look at the book. You'll learn a lot while having fun along the way."
"Mary is a true example of someone inspired to create change at the local level, and in a short time becoming a major force nationally. I was happy to see the book reflected President Obama's mantra of "Respect. Empower. Include. This is a code of ethics we, in Wisconsin, understand.”
“Sollinger has written a heroic and cultural work of political activism detailing her journey from growing up on a farm, to becoming a business person, ultimately becoming the delegate to the National Democratic convention in 2008. She is Reflective and truthful both in her self discovery and on the most serious challenges of our American Democracy. She reminds us that we should “respect, and empower and include“ as the way to a breathtakingly better world.”
"The great potential of democracy lies in the magic people create when they decide to give of themselves for the broader public good. Here is a story of the extraordinary journey Mary Lang Sollinger experienced through choosing such a path."
"Mary Lang Sollinger has been a friend and advocate for years. As a key player on many successful campaigns and political movements, she has a keen understanding of what it takes to win. Her book offers a great insight into the early rise of President Obama's campaign and the impact individuals can have in changing the course of history.”
“Mary Lang Sollinger's book reflects a deep conviction she and I share—civic engagement is a unique power, and, through action, we can harness that power to effect change. My involvement with the Obama campaign in 2008 was one of the highlights of my life, and this book does a good job of capturing why.”
"The timing for From Inspiration to Activism is crucial for the upcoming elections in November. I am glad that Mary is sharing her journey and hope with us all.”
“This book is a mesmerizing, personal portrait of the 2008 Obama campaign. Sollinger captures the magic of the historic campaign and Obama himself, both full of idealism and hope. She breaks barriers, just as her candidate did in 2008. This is a good read that makes a great moment in American history feel fresh and alive, contrasting them with the dark political times we live in now.”
"Mary and I share a deep belief in the Obama campaign mantra: respect, empower, include. By bringing people together with the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things for their country, Mary testifies to the better angels of our democracy. This book has a special place in my heart and is an important read for anyone who wants to help our country.”
"I read how Mary Lang Sollinger started out in politics in peaceful Madison with a fundraiser, and then kept piling them on. By the time I got to this book’s chapter about Indianapolis, I came a friend and indefatigable Obama supporter. Mary had a vision, and fortunately it matched Barack Obama’s. Read her book.”
"A deeply heartfelt, behind-the-scenes look at how one person can make a difference. An engrossing, personal story about how grassroots activism starts and spreads.”
"Mary Lang Sollinger is an inspiration to voters at all levels, from her neighborhood to the nation at large. Her warm and stirring book shows why: a profound commitment to living the principles of Respect, Empower, Include. The book shows how campaigning for Senator Obama changed her. The book will change you, too—and make you want to follow in her footsteps."
"Mary has captured the essence of the formation of a candidate and campaign that changed America and the world. She exemplifies the best of what politics can bring out in us: respect, community and hope. Mary has dedicated her political life’s work into funding, training and mentoring candidates, campaign staff. All she has asked in return is an open heart and mind. I implore you to take all the wisdom you can from her story and put it to action.”
One of my goals is to have a 20 city national book tour with panel discussions before or after the reading. If you are interested in having a book reading your town at your civics club or community center, please contact me at email@example.com for the scheduling and details. Let’s see what we can work out.