Long an icon of American musical and political life, Pete Seeger has written eloquently in a diverse array of publications but nowhere is his life story more personally chronicled than in these, his private writings, documents and letters stored for decades in his family barn. Pete Seeger: His Life in His Own Words, collects Seeger's letters, notes, published articles, rough drafts, stories and poetry - creating the most intimate picture yet available of Seeger as a musician, an activist and a family man. The book covers the passions, personalities and experiences of a lifetime of struggle - from the pre-WWII labour movement and the Communist Party, to Woody Guthrie, the Civil Rights movement and the struggle against the war in Vietnam. The portrait that emerges is not of a saint, but a flesh-and-blood man, struggling to understand his time and his place.
"Pete Seeger is one of America's rare elders. Always hopeful, sometimes in the midst of despair, always ardent, and often wise, and having endured sacrifice, he appears in these pages of his writing and correspondence as an exemplar of courage, dignity, humility, and thoughtfulness."
—Alex Wilkinson, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger
"The Rosenthals deftly selected and arranged the material to tell Seeger's life story so that it reads like a full-fledged autobiography. The words are Seeger's, and the bountiful wisdom is Seeger's, but the handiwork is the Rosenthals'."
—Matthew Rothschild, in The Progressive
"Gathering the most extensive collection of Seeger's writings to date — ranging from unpublished letters, diaries, and notes to himself, to previously published album-liner notes, book introductions, and journal articles — sociologist Rob Rosenthal and his son, Sam Rosenthal, introduce a man deeply committed to the power of music, community, and ideas… This remarkable collection displays Seeger in all his cantankerous, playful, idealistic, and loving glory. He's one of America's national treasures, and this treasure trove of his writing reveals why."
“Growing up with Pete’s music, I dreamed of making music and being an active citizen of the world. Read this book – and give it to your kids to read.”
“These writings are like hidden treasures – unaltered, unlaundered, and revealing Pete’s evolution as a conscientious and conflicted patriotic American. Pete’s letters and observations ensure that we won’t forget how his commitment to this simple act of singing songs – especially together – helped him cut across every barrier while speaking out for the things that he cared most about – truth and fairness.”
—Nick Forster, host of the nationally broadcast eTown
“Thirty years ago, Pete Seeger sent me a letter supporting a political campaign. It was a leaf, carefully pasted on a hand-made card. He is one of our great trees. This book is a wonderful ‘leaf’ to future generations.”
“The book offers unusual insight into Seeger’s motivations, and for his relentless optimism in the face of adversity. Seeger has spoken the truth for nearly 100 years, and his writings offer inspiration to all those working for peace, justice and for a better world…[Rob and Sam Rosenthal] have produced a book that all Seeger admirers will want to read.”
—Randy Shaw, Editor of BeyondChron