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"To Everything There is a Season": Pete Seeger and the Power of Song (New Narratives in American History)

4.2 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195324822
ISBN-10: 019532482X
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Winkler's book is obviously a labor of love.... The book is carefully written by a scholar who identifies with Seeger and his causes.... Winkler's fine book should introduce readers to Seeger and encourage further exploration of Dunaway's scholarship. But of greater significance is the encouragement that Winkler gives his readers to listen and sing along with Seeger's music."--History News Network


"Allan Winkler...has written the best brief biography of Seeger in print."--PopMatters


"Winkler pays welcome attention to how Toshi Seeger made possible her husband's life as protester and artist -- a fact that can escape Pete."--Cleveland Plain Dealer


"A remarkable testament to Seeger and his contributions to American music and culture, this informative, well-documented, yet conversational book will appeal to anyone with an interest in folk music. Essential."--A.C. Shahriari, CHOICE


"This is an excellent biography for folk-music fans, teen activists, and U.S. history buffs." --School Library Journal


About the Author


Allan M. Winkler is Distinguished Professor of History at Miami University in Ohio. He has also taught at Yale University and the University of Oregon. A prize-winning teacher, he is the author or editor of ten books, including The Politics of Propaganda: The Office of War Information, 1942-1945, Home Front U.S.A.: America during World War II , Life Under a Cloud: American Anxiety about the Atom , and Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Making of Modern America. He is also co-author of the college textbook The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society and the high school textbook America: Pathways to the Present.
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Product Details

  • Series: New Narratives in American History
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019532482X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195324822
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.5 x 4.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There is no questioning that Pete Seeger is an icon in the music world. He is a folk legend but also an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - quite a stretch for some people to imagine; but what else could you expect from a man whose music has moved to action civil rights activists and union organizers.
This book describes Pete Seeger's life, mainly from his college years to about 2006. There are wonderful forwards by the editors and Tom Paxton, which will give you an idea of the depth of Seeger, if you have no idea who he is (but how could you not know his music?). Pictures from the collection of Pete and Toshi are integrated throughout the book.
There is much mention of how blue blooded Seeger is, but this is really never gone into in any depth to satisfy my curiosity..
His meeting and collaborations with Woody Guthrie and Guthrie's influence on Seeger is explained; but Pete's private life, his marriage with Toshi and some of his heartbreaks are also described. The period of his life and the effect of the years of the Red Scare are well delved into. The much told story of Dylan and Pete at the Newport Folk Festival is made clear and the birth of the Clearwater Movement for the Hudson is included.
It is interesting to learn how Pete wrote `Where Have All the Flowers Gone' from a Ukrainian folk song and how `We Shall Overcome' was developed. He truly is the beloved father of the American folk movement, even starting David Guard of the Kingston Trio on his way with the Seeger book ` How to Play a Banjo'.
As for the included CD, it is nice to have this 36 minute - 10 songs of Pete in his best voice. It contains his best known pieces.
Turn, turn, Turn/ Talking Union/ If I Had a Hammer/ Where Have All the Flowers Gone/ We shall Overcome/ Waist Deep in the big Muddy/ Sailing down My Golden River/ Abiyoyo/ Winoweh/ My Get up and Go.
The book and CD are truly essential for anyone interested in music of America.
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Format: Paperback
Until I read this book, I did not realize the debt I owe to Pete Seeger.

Some years ago, I was asked to play guitar and lead some singing for a Cub Scouts campfire. I had never lead campfire songs before and was unsure of how it was all going to work. Specifically, I needed some easy songs that everyone could sing, the type that if you didn't know it already, you could learn it quickly. The first song that I thought of was "If I Had a Hammer" (also known as "The Hammer Song"), which I now know was co-written by Pete Seeger. The song was a complete success and continues to be an integral part of my campfire repertoire.

This book is sparse on the biographical details of Seeger's life, since there is an extensive biography on Seeger already, How Can I Keep from Singing?: The Ballad of Pete Seeger. However, it focuses on the development of Seeger's beliefs in social change and how he used his chosen medium--singing and the banjo--to promote that change. In that regard, this book does a fine job. Having thought of Seeger as a musician first and an activist second, this book tells me that it was in fact the other way around.

Still, Seeger's musical influence is large. After the success of that first campfire, I felt I needed more material. I purchased a copy of Rise Up Singing which not only includes numerous songs by Seeger, it is published by Sing Out! magazine, which was started by--you guessed it--Seeger. Anyone who is interested in music as a collaborative process owes a debt to Seeger's work.

I've removed a star for a couple things that bugged me.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Winkler has given us a stimulating biography of Pete Seeger. While shorter than David Dunaway's pathbreaking biography, it captures much of the essence of Seeger's music and politics, from a most positive perspective. Recommended for all folk music fans!
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By surfdoggi on September 25, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read on the life and times of an American folk icon
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