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The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  7 reviews
A hundred years ago, any soapbox orator who called for women's suffrage, laws protecting the environment, an end to lynching, or a federal minimum wage was considered a utopian dreamer or a dangerous socialist. Now we take these ideas for granted— because the radical ideas of one generation are often the common sense of the next. We all stand on the shoulders of earlier ge ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Bold Type Books
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University of Chicago Magazine
Peter Dreier, AM'73, PhD'77
Author

From our pages (Sept–Oct/12): "A hundred years ago soapbox orators who called for women's suffrage, a federal minimum wage, or environmental laws were called utopian dreamers or dangerous socialists. Now these ideas are taken for granted. Occidental College politics professor Peter Dreier examines the organizers, activists, writers, artists, and progressive politicians of the past century who challenged the status quo and changed history—including UChicago's John
...more
Caryn
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Outstanding topic. Perfect book for teaching high schoolers about social justice and effects of politically progressive American Heroes. With that said, the book is written at a level that is a tad sophomoric.
Anna Kat
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this a few sections per day and enjoyed visiting parts of the past to get inspiration for the present and future. If you're looking for something to remind you of the distance we've traveled and struggles that we have worked towards, this is a great book. Peter Dreier doesn't sugarcoat or whitewash the ways that some of the leaders focused on the battles of some over others (ie white feminism versus intersectionalism) but rather tried to name shortcomings and honestly portray how politici ...more
Googoogjoob
Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
More useful as a reference than as a book to be read cover-to-cover. The 100 biographies in this book are all packed with useful information, but they're also all very dry and don't do much to humanize the men and women they profile- often they just seem like listings of their most important accomplishments.

The selection of people profiled for the book is also sort of uneven: in the early 20th century, most of the people selected are labor organizers, maverick politicians, progressive Supreme Co
...more
Paul Brannan
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
A book that’s depressing and uplifting in equal measure: Depressing because the rapacious, the corrupt and the cruel remain creatively active in this century’s efforts to turn back the clock and fashion brutish, devil-take-the-hindmost societies. Uplifting because there are still people who won’t be silent, who won’t remain passive and who won’t stand for the venal, divisive world they want the rest of us to inhabit. The heroic 100 chosen here remind us that rights are not freely given, that the ...more
Darla
Oct 16, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: nonfiction
On my to-read list. See an interview with the author:

http://billmoyers.com/2012/03/30/the-...

Dreier: "The radical ideas of one generation often become the common sense of the next generation. Ideas that were once considered utopian or impossible or way out in the wilderness are often brought into the mainstream of American thought by courageous and forward-looking people who are ahead of the curve."

...more
Steve
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Remember Margaret Mead's quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."?

Dreier assembles the stories of some of them. Without the commitment and dedication of these and more, the fight we face today would be deeper and darker.

This is a tremendously inspiring compendium of heroes and heroines.

Join me in changing the world. It is within our reach.

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