Synopses & Reviews
A true American original is brought to life in this rich and lively portrait of Pete Seeger, who, with his musical grace and inextinguishable passion for social justice, transformed folk singing into a high form of peaceful protest in the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing on his extensive talks with Seeger, New Yorker
writer Alec Wilkinson lets us experience the mans unique blend of independence and commitment, charm, courage, energy, and belief in human equality and American democracy.
We see Seeger instilled with a love of music by his parents, both classically trained musicians; as a teenager, hearing real folk music for the first time; and as a young man, singing with Woody Guthrie and with the Weavers. We learn of his harassment by the government for his political beliefs and his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1949. And we follow his engagement with civil rights, the peace movement, and the environmentespecially his work saving the Hudson River and building the ship Clearwater. He talks ardently about his own music and that of others, and about the power of music to connect people and bind them to a cause. Finally, we meet Toshi, his wife of nearly sixty years, and members of his family, at the house he built on a mountainside in upstate New York.
The Protest Singer is as spirited and captivating as its subjectan American icon, celebrating his ninetieth birthday.
From the Hardcover edition.
A spirited and intimate look at American icon and activist Pete Seeger.
Throughout his life, Pete Seeger transformed a classic American musical style into a form of peaceful protest against war, segregation, and nuclear weapons. Drawing on his extensive talks with Seeger, Alec Wilkinson delivers a first hand look at Seeger's unique blend of independence and commitment, charm, courage, energy, and belief in human equality and American democracy. We see Seeger as a child, instilled with a love of music by his parents; as a teenager, hearing real folk music for the first time; as a young adult, singing with Woody Guthrie. And finally, Seeger the man marching with the Rev. Martin Luther King in Selma, standing up to McCarthyism, and fighting for his beloved Hudson River. The gigantic life captured in this slender volume is truly an American anthem.
About the Author
Alec Wilkinson began writing for The New Yorker in 1980. Before that, he was a policeman in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and before that a rock-and-roll musician. He has published eight other books—two memoirs, two collections of essays, two biographical portraits, and two pieces of reporting. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lyndhurst Prize, and a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.