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Grade 5-9 The incredible courage and determination of young people, black, white, male and female, who risked great personal danger and even death as they participated in the freedom rides during the Civil Rights Movement are the focus of this remarkable book. History is told through the experiences of two young men of disparate backgrounds, one black John Lewis, the other white Jim Zwerg. A foreword by each man precedes chapters that compare and contrast their families, childhoods, and teenage years, and the events leading up to, and their participation in, the historic rides of the early 1960s. Dramatic black-and-white photographs, accompanied by clear, engaging captions, support the text. Each of the seven chapters is preceded by a full-page photograph. Bausum's narrative style, fresh, engrossing, and at times heart-stopping, brings the story of the turbulent and often violent dismantling of segregated travel alive in vivid detail. The language, presentation of material, and pacing will draw readers in and keep them captivated. Final chapters reveal the paths Lewis's and Zwerg's lives took after the end of the rides, and both men reflect back on that period. A partial roster of riders with brief profiles, an illustrated time line of key moments in the Civil Rights Movement, a resource guide and notes, and a list of further reading conclude the book. A definite first purchase. Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. In another excellent work of nonfiction, the author of the acclaimed With Courage and Cloth (2004), covers a civil rights topic less frequently addressed than Brown v. Board of Education or the 1963 March on Washington. Eschewing a general overview of the 1961 Freedom Rides for specific, personal histories of real participants in the dangerous bus integration protests, Bausum focuses on two college students from strikingly different backgrounds: Jim Zwerg, a white Wisconsin native who became involved during an exchange visit to Nashville, and John Lewis, a black seminarian and student leader of the nonviolence movement. Zwerg became an inadvertent figurehead when he was branded "nigger-lover" and singled out for a particularly harsh beating, while Lewis parlayed leadership skills cultivated during the rides into political success as a Georgia congressman. Incisively illustrated with archival photos (one of which shows Zwerg and Lewis side-by-side in a jail cell, "bloodied together as brothers in a common cause"), this moving biographical diptych prompts careful thinking about race (Zwerg himself believed he received disproportionate fame because he was white), and delivers a galvanizing call to action, encapsulated in Lewis' stirring foreword: "You can change the world." Zwerg likewise contributes a foreword; exhaustive, useful end matter concludes, including resource listings, a bibliography, and citations for quotes. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Bausum's ability to get to the heart of Civil Rights issues shines in this book. She does not shy away from the reasons for the Freedom Rides - and writes about an often chaotic... Read morePublished 20 months ago by JLS1955
Freedom Riders was a very inspirational book! I learned tons about the Civil Rights movement that happened in the 50's and 60's, definitely more than I learned in history class. Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by Candace Lee