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No one could rouse an audience to full-throated song like Pete Seeger, and few endured the burden of the McCarthy-era Blacklist with as much aplomb. A master of guitar and banjo, he became the father of the folk song revival in the '60s and a champion of human rights and environmental protection.
The book is classified as Juvenile Literature. Although it is certainly not a complete biography of its subject, I would challenge any adult to identify a passage that is sketchy or condescending. It captures the essence of Pete Seeger very completely in its 104 pages. Photographs are well chosen, well presented, and well captioned. All quotations are cited in the endnotes. The Index is good, and there is a Bibliography. I found no grammatical or typographical errors. I consider it a first-rate effort.
This short, simple, straightforward, yet spirited book about the "Old Folky", Pete Seeger, is suitable for both children and adults. As a longtime lover and singer of folk music, Pete was one of my idols, both as a singer and an activist. Pete was not afraid to take action in pursuit of justice; may his legacy continue through others, especially youth, who may be in spired by this book.
Pete Seeger was a person of remarkable achievement. In “Let Your Voice Be Heard,” Anita Silvey provides an outline of the life and accomplishments of Pete Seeger, starting with his family, his early education, and his interest in music.
Seeger was a song writer as well as a performer with the Almanac Singers, the Weavers, and with Woody Guthrie. The Weavers performance of “Goodnight Irene” was a nation-wide hit. Seeger is credited with writing the well-known peace song “Where Have all the Flowers Gone.” This success was abbreviated by persecution by the US government during the 1950s resulting from his support of progressive causes. People threw stones at Seeger and his fellow performers after a performance in Peekskill, NY, only a few miles from my home.
As s second career, Seeger took on the task of cleaning up the polluted Hudson River. He had the sloop Clearwater built and used it for education and fund-raising. This effort was not without opposition. I recall a barrage of TV ads by General Electric claiming that it was not necessary to clean up the PCBs that they had dumped.
Those who would compromise health, safety, and quality of life for a profit are still at work. However, times have changed. It is ironic that at a recent demonstration on an environmental issue, I noted the presence of the Mayor of Peekskill and city council members.
The book is well written, with flowing text, and numerous photographs. I recommend it for adults as well as children.
4.0 out of 5 starsThat machine really did kill facists
Reviewed in the United States on July 20, 2016
Pete Seeger's folk songs have become such an iconic part of American life (and campfires) that it's almost hard to imagine that someone sat down and actually *wrote* them. This book introduces Seeger to the next generation, one that doesn't remember the good old days, or the considerably darker days that came before.
The text is short, and the writing is at about a middle school level, but the story isn't sugar coated - it includes details about the violence of the Civil Rights movement, Seeger being called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and even a brief mention of Japanese internment during WWII. Given the subject matter, I'm glad the author didn't make the story too overly PC. There are pictures, but the book is definitely not just a picture book.
Inasmuch as this is a kids' book, there were some places where I would have been happier with a bit more historical context - for example, describing a party where the attendees each donated 35 cents toward rent makes a lot more sense if there is a general idea of what rent was back in those days. The text also starts out kinda stilted, though that picks up. Overall, however, this biography is a worthwhile read.
Pete Seeger. He was one of our nation's genuine legends. Few men have stayed as true to their goals as Seeger.
I won't pretend I agree with all of his views. But, as a messenger and persuader of those views, he was amazing. He knew people often listened more with their hearts and so he sang his way to convince them his views.
I write this review on the Fourth of July, a day we think of freedom. Seeger fought for his freedom to sing and speak what he wanted. There were those who wanted to stop him, and his pressed on. We need more men as willing to risk for their freedom as him.
He grew up with some privilege and a strong musical education, and learned his instrument and how to write well. He saw how other people had harder lives and realized he could help change this. These are the stories which followed.
We read here a look at his early life through his death. Anita Silvey, the author, honestly admits her pro-Seeger bias. While that bias shows through her lionization, she presents his life accurately. It misses anything critical of him, a real weakness in the book, but it has Seeger's own approval. That's saying something.
5.0 out of 5 starsWell-Told Story of an American Hero
Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2016
I really like this biography of Pete Seeger. It's intended for young readers as an introduction and tribute to a true American hero. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Seeger once, many years ago, and though I did not know the full extend of his accomplishments at the time, I was very much struck by how real he was, how quietly brilliant and genuine he was.
This book is written simply and clearly, but it doesn't hide from blunt truth. When it mentions someone was murdered, it delivers the information without hesitation. This is an important point, as the story of Pete Seeger would not have any impact if facts are glossed over. This is the kind of book that a young reader may enjoy and learn from, and don't be surprised if you find yourself borrowing it as an adult to get a taste of this important American story.
Informative, clear, and full of pictures to support the text, I think this is a great way to introduce kids to a true American and hopefully build their interest in learning more. My daughter is a bit young for this at the moment, but now that I'm done with it, it's on her bookshelf, waiting for her to reach the right age. I look forward to sharing this with her.
4.0 out of 5 starsKeep YouTube close so you can immediately listen to what you are reading about
Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2016
I have heard the name Pete Seeger a lot, especially with his recent passing, but I didn't know much about him. I was glad to see this book that promised a quick read to learn what I needed to know. So I sat down with this and YouTube and listened to the music as it came up in the book. It really needed the sounds to make sense of everything. Wish this had an accompanying CD.
I do feel like I understand Pete, the Guthries and folk music better than I ever have. I'm glad I listened to songs from everyone in the book but I can't say that the music really spoke to me although much was good. I liked that the author described guthry's and Seegers singing styles and I loved the back stories, but I'm not win over to this era of folk songs despite truly enjoying current artists who list these as there inspirations from Brighteyes to Beck.
Totally glad I read it though. Especially glad that I listened to every song as it came up. I do feel a rich knowledge of the times, the blacklisting, the Vietnam era and the folk spirit.