Synopses & Reviews
A majestic history of the summer of '64, which forever changed race relations in America
In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers' shacks. But by the time their first night in the state had ended, three volunteers were dead, black churches had burned, and America had a new definition of freedom.
This remarkable chapter in American history, the basis for the controversial film Mississippi Burning, is now the subject of Bruce Watson's thoughtful and riveting historical narrative. Using in- depth interviews with participants and residents, Watson brilliantly captures the tottering legacy of Jim Crow in Mississippi and the chaos that brought such national figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Pete Seeger to the state. Freedom Summer presents finely rendered portraits of the courageous black citizens-and Northern volunteers-who refused to be intimidated in their struggle for justice, and the white Mississippians who would kill to protect a dying way of life. Few books have provided such an intimate look at race relations during the deadliest days of the Civil Rights movement, and Freedom Summer will appeal to readers of Taylor Branch and Doug Blackmon.
"Recreates the texture of that terrible yet rewarding summer with impressive verisimilitude."
"Remarkable...a well-researched, vivid retelling of the 1964 civil rights crusade to put Mississippi's 200,000 disenfranchised blacks on the voting rolls...[an] important book."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"Elegantly written...A fascinating look at ordinary people at their best and worst...Riveting."
"An amazing account of one pivotal summer in the history of civil rights...with a thriller's pacing, the book forcefully describes the depravity and treachery behind the bombings, beatings and intimidation...and shows the physical and emotional costs of such a fight."
-The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
- Visit brucewatsonwriter.com
- Also available as an e-book
"Freedom Summer" presents finely rendered portraits of the courageous black citizens--and Northern volunteers--who refused to be intimidated in their struggle for justice, and the white Mississippians who would kill to protect a dying way of life.
A riveting account of one of the most remarkable episodes in American history.
In his critically acclaimed history Freedom Summer, award- winning author Bruce Watson presents powerful testimony about a crucial episode in the American civil rights movement. During the sweltering summer of 1964, more than seven hundred American college students descended upon segregated, reactionary Mississippi to register black voters and educate black children. On the night of their arrival, the worst fears of a race-torn nation were realized when three young men disappeared, thought to have been murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Taking readers into the heart of these remarkable months, Freedom Summer shines new light on a critical moment of nascent change in America.
About the Author
Bruce Watson's previous books include Sacco and Vanzetti, a finalist for the Edgar Award, and Bread and Roses, a New York Public Library Book to Remember. His journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Smithsonian, and Reader's Digest. He lives in Massachusetts.