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Ben Tarnoff, author of The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature is doing an AMA at 3pm! Go to reddit.com/r/books to ask him questions about these four writers. 
The members of the bohemians are: A young Mark Twain, escaping the draft and seeking adventure; literary golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbirth, poet and protectorate of this band of lost boys. 

Ben Tarnoff, author of The BohemiansMark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature is doing an AMA at 3pm! Go to reddit.com/r/books to ask him questions about these four writers. 

The members of the bohemians are: A young Mark Twain, escaping the draft and seeking adventure; literary golden boy Bret Harte; struggling gay poet Charles Warren Stoddard; and beautiful, haunted Ina Coolbirth, poet and protectorate of this band of lost boys. 

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classicpenguin:
The Great Black Spine Giveaway is here! Spread the word!
We’re giving away 150 of our black spine Classics, randomly selected for your enjoyment. Think of this as spring cleaning/huge thanks to all our social media followers for being so wonderful. Click here or click through the image to enter! (US/CAN only, contest ends 4/21.)


classicpenguin
:

The Great Black Spine Giveaway is here! Spread the word!

We’re giving away 150 of our black spine Classics, randomly selected for your enjoyment. Think of this as spring cleaning/huge thanks to all our social media followers for being so wonderful. Click here or click through the image to enter! (US/CAN only, contest ends 4/21.)



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I think The Grapes of Wrath was the first novel I ever believed in entirely, whole-heartedly.

Garrison Keillor

Throughout the week over at The Penguin Blog, we’ll have more thoughts on Steinbeck’s masterpiece from some of his most loyal readers (including Keillor, and a post today from the director of the National Steinbeck Center, Colleen Bailey).

(via classicpenguin)

In Their Own Words with Bruce Watson, author of Freedom Summer"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."—Margaret Mead
Fifty years ago this summer, 700 clean-cut college students headed to Mississippi to live in shacks and hovels and stare down injustice. Their aim was simple—to make America a democracy. Raised in comfort, coddled by teen culture, these young Americans might have spent the summer of 1964 at the beach, watching TV, or listening to that new group, the Beatles. But they chose a different path, changing America and, in the process, changing themselves and their generation. Freedom Summer follows these students from their training in Ohio to their testing in the racial cauldron of Mississippi, “the closed society.” The story includes murder and violence, arson and ugliness. But it is also filled with hope, humor, and proof of what America can be when its ideals are held to the fire.
I am often asked whether the altruism of Freedom Summer could arise today. The question usually hides a sneer. “Not today’s students!  With their Facebook and Twitter!  They’d never be so idealistic!” I disagree. Today’s college students are every bit as eager to change the world as the volunteers of Freedom Summer. Perhaps more so.  While there may be no single focus for their idealism, no glaring injustice just a long bus ride away, the students I meet and teach are as committed as those who went south in 1964. Today’s students have plenty of causes; millions join every day, and not just by tweeting.  What today’s students too often lack is role models—stories of change that grew from the smallest ripples. I found Freedom Summer full of such stories—of Freedom Schools where black and white joined hands in the spirit of learning, of host families—”the best people I ever met”—opening their homes and hearts to total strangers, and of bone-poor citizens who risked their lives just to vote.  
The phrase “changed America” has become a cliché, but Freedom Summer can make that claim. This single summer inspired the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and its volunteers jumpstarted the 1960s. Some continued to play key roles in the Civil Rights Movement while others returned from Mississippi to work in the Free Speech Movement, the Women’s Movement, and the anti-Vietnam Movement.  
Like many who have studied and written about the Civil Rights Movement, I resent the simplification of this heroic human uprising. The basic story, the only story often taught in classrooms is: Rosa Parks sat down, Martin Luther King stood up, and freedom triumphed. But freedom, as one movement song noted, “is a constant struggle.”  Though I was too young to be in Freedom Summer, I felt remarkably privileged to tell this truly American story of sacrifice, dedication, and spirit.   
Check out: This new site from the University of Wisconsin Historical Society with archives of Freedom Summer material — http://preview.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=N:1474 And this is the site set up by Civil Rights Veterans themselves, including bios, oral histories, and other archives — www.crmvet.org. In honor of the 50th anniversary of, Freedom Summer" premieres on PBS June 24, 2014.http://www.thirteen.org/programs/american-experience/pete-seeger-and-freedom-summer/

In Their Own Words with Bruce Watson, author of Freedom Summer

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."—Margaret Mead

Fifty years ago this summer, 700 clean-cut college students headed to Mississippi to live in shacks and hovels and stare down injustice. Their aim was simple—to make America a democracy. Raised in comfort, coddled by teen culture, these young Americans might have spent the summer of 1964 at the beach, watching TV, or listening to that new group, the Beatles. But they chose a different path, changing America and, in the process, changing themselves and their generation. Freedom Summer follows these students from their training in Ohio to their testing in the racial cauldron of Mississippi, “the closed society.” The story includes murder and violence, arson and ugliness. But it is also filled with hope, humor, and proof of what America can be when its ideals are held to the fire.

I am often asked whether the altruism of Freedom Summer could arise today. The question usually hides a sneer. “Not today’s students!  With their Facebook and Twitter!  They’d never be so idealistic!” I disagree. Today’s college students are every bit as eager to change the world as the volunteers of Freedom Summer. Perhaps more so.  While there may be no single focus for their idealism, no glaring injustice just a long bus ride away, the students I meet and teach are as committed as those who went south in 1964. Today’s students have plenty of causes; millions join every day, and not just by tweeting.  What today’s students too often lack is role models—stories of change that grew from the smallest ripples. I found Freedom Summer full of such stories—of Freedom Schools where black and white joined hands in the spirit of learning, of host families—”the best people I ever met”—opening their homes and hearts to total strangers, and of bone-poor citizens who risked their lives just to vote. 

The phrase “changed America” has become a cliché, but Freedom Summer can make that claim. This single summer inspired the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and its volunteers jumpstarted the 1960s. Some continued to play key roles in the Civil Rights Movement while others returned from Mississippi to work in the Free Speech Movement, the Women’s Movement, and the anti-Vietnam Movement. 

Like many who have studied and written about the Civil Rights Movement, I resent the simplification of this heroic human uprising. The basic story, the only story often taught in classrooms is: Rosa Parks sat down, Martin Luther King stood up, and freedom triumphed. But freedom, as one movement song noted, “is a constant struggle.”  Though I was too young to be in Freedom Summer, I felt remarkably privileged to tell this truly American story of sacrifice, dedication, and spirit.  


Check out:
This new site from the University of Wisconsin Historical Society with archives of Freedom Summer material — http://preview.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=N:1474

And this is the site set up by Civil Rights Veterans themselves, including bios, oral histories, and other archives — www.crmvet.org.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of,
Freedom Summer" premieres on PBS June 24, 2014.
http://www.thirteen.org/programs/american-experience/pete-seeger-and-freedom-summer/