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Freedom Summer

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  219 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
In June 1964, over one thousand volunteers--most of them white, northern college students--arrived in Mississippi to register black voters and staff "freedom schools" as part of the Freedom Summer campaign organized by the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Within ten days, three of them were murdered; by the summer's end, another had died and hundreds more had en ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 27th 1990 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1988)
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Oct 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
I'm read this book for my social movements course, but it's no text book. It's fascinating - - a little history, a little sociology, but overall a great read. I might even go so far as to say that it's the best book I've read in grad school so far. It epitomizes the kind of scholar I aspire to be!
This is less a study of the American civil rights movement and more a study of how a period of intense stress and close social bonds can radicalize individuals, break down social norms, impact their political and personal lives, and build new social networks and political organizations that form the basis for future political action.

The ‘Freedom Summer’ project brought a collection of predominantly northern white college activists to Mississippi over a few months the summer of 1964, where they p
Leonard Nakamura
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you want to understand the Sixties, you want to read this book. And it is also crucial reading if you want to understand the development of political movements. The leaders do successful political movements sometimes go through crucible periods in which the power and necessity of action becomes clear. The Freedom Summer was such a period for the movements of the Sixties: Free speech, anti war, feminist, communalist all gained impetus from the volunteers who emerged from this grueling, excitin ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Was a really good read to gain an understanding on how many of the social movements that took place in the 20th century came into being. Also read it for a sociology movements class
Jeanie T
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
History is brutal.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Freedom Summer", by Doug McAdam, is a moving, emotional, thought-provoking book describing the attempt of over 1000 volunteers to travel to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 to help improve the suppression and voting rights abuses of poor rural blacks.

Historical in fact, but never dry, it's the story of many of the young people, most white college students from the north, taking their idealism south with them to bring freedom and justice to sharecroppers and the forgotten and forlorn members o
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
WOW! This is a history book, about my generation, that reads like a novel. I was in college at the time and pretty naive about the discrimination faced by poor blacks in Mississippi and the deep south. But, more than 700 idealistic and courageous college students traveled to Mississippi in the summer of 1964 and changed our country forever.

Bruce Watson introduces us to students who arrived the day that three volunteers were murdered. Though frightened, they stayed through arrests, fire bombings
Tom Schulte
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Beside being an important analysis of race relations in America, this reminded me of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age in another way. Like it, there is a lot of dry, scientific, textbook like data analysis. Heck you can get the Logint Regression details in an appendix! Good stuff, really - very good that that is all here. What comes through is the work of the volunteers up to and including the 1964 Freedom Summer in voter registration and other efforts in ...more
Clea M
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Definitely one of the most engaging books I've been assigned to read this semester. A great analysis of the Freedom Summer volunteers, and what their biographies and motivations might tell us about activism in general. I found it far more depressing than inspiring--don't be an activist kids, because you'll probably just act racist and thus alienate the organization you're trying to work for, and then you'll spend the rest of your life futilely chasing after the fleeting feelings of community and ...more
An excellent introduction and overview to some of the implications and themes of Freedom Summer and how other social movements grew out of the tensions among volunteers and within the community. I'd rate this more favorably, but simply had the misfortune of not reading this book in college, when it was recommended to me; before I got neck deep in the more theoretical dimensions of Sixties social movements, and dissecting the structure of racial inequalities between women involved in the movement ...more
Mar 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
We read this in my social movements class and for that purpose it was a great book. When it comes to dissecting a social movement and the workings therein, this book was fabulous. However, I wasn't excited about the writing style and the argument seemed a little far fetched and unrealistic. The content, was worth reading but I think there are much better books out there to read about events in the 50's and 60's advocating civil rights.
May 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-u-s-history
McAdam had access to ridiculous levels of primary sources and tells in detail the story of Freedom Summer. How did the activists from the north get picked? Why some not others? Shows the beginning of white activists dealing with activists of color in more profoundly cooperative ways. Just fascinating.
Kevin Waid
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A fascinating generational analysis.
William Shank
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
By far the best book on the historic Mississippi Summer Project. True heroism at its core.
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent historical account of that summer and the years following.
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“For historical currents do not irresistibly propel themselves and everyone in their path. No matter what their broader structural or ideological roots, they both carry along and are carried along by people, who are not merely passengers of history, but pilots as well.” 2 likes
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