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Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes
Synopses & Reviews
In Your America, award-winning producers John Siceloff and Jason Maloney explore the paths to success of a remarkable group of people, each of whom has appeared on NOW, the popular PBS show, to tell their stories. For everyone interested in change at a local and national level, this book provides a blueprint for working together locally to create a better global community.
Your America introduces twelve ordinary citizens who are accomplishing extraordinary changes in their communities. Among them:
*Bill Graham, mayor of tiny Scottsburg, Indiana, who took on the telecommunications giants and wired his town to provide Wi-Fi for all.
*Katie Redford, a young law student who dusted off the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 and ended up changing the way American corporations behave overseas.
*Wynona Ward, who drove long-haul trucks as she studied to be a lawyer and founded an organization, Have Justice, Will Travel, that reaches out to abused women in isolated homes and communities.
"In this uplifting collection of profiles, Siceloff and Maloney, producers of the PBS program Now, spotlight individuals who have sparked successful community action without resources or (in most cases) any political or organizing experience. Highlighted individuals include Lucas Benitez, a Mexican migrant worker who led a movement to improve the egregious working conditions in tomato fields in Florida; Jackie Thrasher, a school teacher who beat back the special interest money poisoning local electoral politics in Arizona; and Diane Wilson, a shrimp boat captain who started a campaign to halt toxic dumping of polyvinyl chloride in the Gulf of Mexico. The focus in these in-depth follow-up pieces to the Now profiles is less on a particular issue than on how such unassuming community leaders are born and how many paths to civic activism are forged from local concerns. Most of the featured individuals — aside from former civil rights activist Robert Moses and government whistle-blower Bunny Greenhouse of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — are ordinary citizens, and their abilities to devise creative solutions to serious problems and persevere against vastly influential antagonistic interests will inspire and embolden all readers. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Approaching the topic of civic activism on both a national and local level, Your America reveals essential lessons from twelve stories of ordinary citizens accomplishing extraordinary changes in their communities. Like Bill Graham, mayor of tiny Scottsburg, Indiana, who took on the telecommunications giants and wired his town for free wifi; or Katie Redford, a young law student who dusted off the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 and ended up changing the way American corporations behave overseas. Each profile is the result of a story on Now, the popular PBS show with a viewership of over 2½ million people. For fans of the show, community activists, and the blogosphere, this book provides a blueprint for working together locally to create a better global community.
About the Author
John Siceloff is the creator and executive producer of PBS's NOW. An award-winning producer for such shows as 20/20, Primetime Live, and Dateline, he is also the recipient of the DuPont Award, Peabody Award, and Emmy Award. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post. He lives in New York, NY.
Jason Maloney is a news and documentary producer who has worked for NOW. His work includes reports for PBS' NewsHour. He was recently the editorial producer on the documentary on the AQ Kahn network entitled "Nuclear Jihad," which won the DuPont Award. He lives in New York, NY.
Table of Contents
Introduction by David Brancaccio * The Politics of Empowerment * Have Justice, Will Travel: Wynona Ward * Tomatoes of Wrath: Lucas Benitez * Corporate Cruelty: Katie Redford * Helping the Children: John Walsh * A Literary Movement: Rueben Martinez * Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!: Robert Moses * Tell Me the Truth!: Peggy Buryj * A Loud Whistle: Bunny Greenhouse * Demanding the Future—Now: Bill Graham * Power to the People: Jackie Thrasher* Greening the Gulf: Diane Wilson * A River Runs Through It: Lynn and Devonna Owens * An American Story * Afterword by John Siceloff
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