PERFORMING ARTS

Pete Seeger: In His Own Words

. 2012. 376p. 978-1-61205-521-2. 29.95.
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The author or coauthor of iconic songs such as “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “If I Had a Hammer,” Seeger has been at the forefront of numerous political, environmental, and social justice movements. Gathering the most extensive collection of Seeger’s writings to date—ranging from unpublished letters, diaries, and notes to himself, to previously published album-liner notes, book introductions, and journal articles—sociologist Rob Rosenthal (provost, Wesleyan Univ.; coauthor, Playing for Change: Music and Musicians in the Service of Social Movements) and his son, songwriter Sam Rosenthal, introduce a man deeply committed to the power of music, community, and ideas. Chapters cover Seeger’s early life and work, his political and social involvement, his travels abroad as a kind of folk-music ambassador, and his musings on making music.
VERDICT This remarkable collection displays Seeger in all his cantankerous, playful, idealistic, and loving glory. He’s one of America’s national treasures, and this treasure trove of his writing reveals why.

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