When We Were Free To Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference It Made

Univ. of North Carolina. 2012. c.344p. ed. by Lori Rotskoff & . illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807837238. $30. SOC SCI
When We Were Free To Be is a curious title for this book, as it may imply that we are no longer free to be whomever we choose. The 1972 record album and illustrated book, Free To Be You…and Me, which this new volume memorializes, offered gender-neutral stories sung or told by celebrities of the day. The Free To Be Foundation still exists. Contributors to that classic understandably take pride here in what they accomplished. Marlo Thomas, who conceived of the idea behind Free To Be, is here (heavily represented in the photographs), along with Ms. magazine cofounder Gloria Steinem, actor Alan Alda, and writer Deborah Siegel, whose "Dispatches from My Twins' First Year" nicely captures the everyday quandaries of parents trying to be nonsexist. Rotskoff (Barnard Ctr. for Research on Women) and Lovett (history, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) include separate essays by social justice activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin and her daughters Robin Pogrebin and Abigail Pogrebin, thus providing distinct generational perspectives.
VERDICT General readers familiar with the original record or book, both still available, and researchers interested in social, gender, and media studies will appreciate this work.
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