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Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists Paperback – September 7, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Martin (Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters) attempts to galvanize a new generation of activists, exhorting them to abandon puffy "save the world" rhetoric in favor of action. A passionate champion for social justice work of all stripes, she profiles eight activists who have managed to "soothe the critics and pessimists in their own heads and act," among them Rachel Corrie, the young American crushed to death under an Israeli bulldozer while protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes. While Martin's intentions are good and the individuals she writes about are compelling and complex, there's a lingering naïveté and puzzling ahistoricism. She writes about the need for a new generation of activists without addressing what battles have been fought and how. Without an attention to the past, she cannot speak to the efficacy of certain tactics above others or how to tailor social justice work to be of maximum benefit to specific campaigns and communities. Nonetheless, Martin is successful in cheering on would-be activists to struggle and fail and struggle again. And while the book may raise more questions than it answers, it initiates a vital conversation at a time when the world and its challenges seem more intractable than ever.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Courtney Martin’s portraits of eight young activists reveal people who are flawed, scared, and human—which makes them all the more inspiring. An elegant, effortless read that confirms what we already know: young people continue to change the world.”
—Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, authors of Manifesta and Grassroots
“Do It Anyway asks the most difficult question possible: how can I make my life meaningful? The answers are varied, transformational, and necessary for us all.”
“Courtney Martin is one of our most insightful culture critics and one of our finest young writers. She’s written a lively, compelling, and very important book for people of every generation who want to be fully alive in and to the world. Take in what she says and you may find yourself turning to that impossible cause you care about and ‘doing it anyway.’”
—Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak
“Unlike a lot of authors, Courtney Martin isn’t trying to sell you activism and why you should (yawn) get involved. Instead, she goes deep into the stories and lived experience of eight individuals. Do It Anyway is a treasure and deeply affecting.”
—Billy Wimsatt, author of Bomb the Suburbs and Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs
“Put this on your must read list! Courtney Martin, of Feministing and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters fame, has just launched a new book. Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists profiles the work of eight activists, doing what they can to make this world a better place.”
- The Real Deal
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A major advantage regarding how Courtney E. Martin has written this book is the fact that she is brutally honest about the realities we are facing and the challenges that confront anybody who endeavors to create positive change. This is no fairy tale about simply needing to envision change and it will happen; this is a hard-hitting book full of concrete examples about what real people are doing about real problems. The author states this focus quite clearly in her introduction, “Activism is a daily, even hourly, experiment in dedication, moral courage, and resilience. This book is an exploration of that effort.”
The author writes about eight individuals and the changes they are trying to make. The stories are quite different regarding the details of each act of activism since she is telling the true stories of a peace activist, prison reentry social worker, veterans’ activist, filmmaker, radical philanthropist and others. Because of the diversity of individuals under thirty-five who are honored, each story is a deep learning experience.
The author’s concluding chapter provides the reader with well thought out ideas about how to move forward with “good failures” broken down into five ways of acting that are practical and relevant. The multiple pages of resources include organizations, readings and films that are comprehensive and diverse in their perspective about the realities of activism.
Courtney E. Martin’s closing statements were well written and thoughtful, including the following challenge, “Our charge is not to ‘save the world,’ after all; it is to live in it, flawed and fierce, loving and humble.” This book energized me to think more deeply about how to do that in these times of compelling and terrifying change.