Neer, Robert



Bob Neer studies the history of the United States in the context of 20th century globalization, with a special focus on U.S. military power. "Napalm, An American Biography," the first history of the incendiary weapon, will be published in 2013 by the Belknap Press imprint of Harvard University Press. His current research project is a global history of the U.S. military. 

Bob has taught Contemporary Civilization, the year-long Core Curriculum political philosophy survey seminar from Plato to Nietzsche, since 2006. In the summer of 2012 he taught the "Empire of Liberty: A Global History of the U.S. Military" seminar to graduate and undergraduate students. He served as a John Jay Graduate Fellow and seminar leader for the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program, and a Teaching Assistant for The History of the City of New York course taught by Professor Kenneth Jackson. He was nominated for the 2009 Columbia Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student, is a contributor to The Encyclopedia of the City of New York, 2nd Edition, published in 2010 by Yale University Press, and has delivered guest lectures to classes at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and Hong Kong University, and spoken at numerous conferences.

After he received his law degree and history M.A. from Columbia in 1991, Bob took a 14-year leave of absence to work in international business and politics. He started, developed and sold media and entertainment firms in London, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong and Boston. He served as Campaign Manager for Gil Garcetti during his first successful run for District Attorney of Los Angeles County, and worked for the Howard Dean and John Kerry presidential campaigns. He is the author of Barack Obama for Beginners, published in 2008 by the For Beginners books division of Steerforth Press, with a revised edition published in 2009, the best-selling title in the 24-year history of For Beginners books, and has written articles for The Boston Globe, the Asian Wall Street Journal, and other periodicals. He is a co-founder and editor of, the most widely read independent political blog in New England with approximately 1.25 million unique annual readers. Bob studied Southeast Asian politics as a Fulbright scholar at the National University of Singapore in 1987, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1986.