The Protest Singer
An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger
By Alec Wilkinson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307390981, 174pp.)
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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A spirited and intimate look at American icon and activist Pete Seeger.
Throughout his life, Pete Seeger transformed a classic American musical style into a form of peaceful protest against war, segregation, and nuclear weapons. Drawing on his extensive talks with Seeger, Alec Wilkinson delivers a first hand look at Seeger's unique blend of independence and commitment, charm, courage, energy, and belief in human equality and American democracy. We see Seeger as a child, instilled with a love of music by his parents; as a teenager, hearing real folk music for the first time; as a young adult, singing with Woody Guthrie. And finally, Seeger the man marching with the Rev. Martin Luther King in Selma, standing up to McCarthyism, and fighting for his beloved Hudson River. The gigantic life captured in this slender volume is truly an American anthem.
Alec Wilkinson began writing for The New Yorker in 1980. Before that, he was a policeman in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and before that a rock-and-roll musician. He has published eight other books—two memoirs, two collections of essays, two biographical portraits, and two pieces of reporting. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lyndhurst Prize, and a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.
"A beautiful, honest portrait."--Los Angeles Times
"A slim, lucid volume . . . packs in all the key twists and turns in Seeger's very full life."--Boston Globe
"Wilkinson has done a magnificent job of creating a picture of a virtuous and principled man."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
"In prose as unassuming as his subject, Wilkinson captures Seeger's unpretentious, down-to-earth manner."--San Francisco Chronicle
"In crisp, elegant prose, Wilkinson outlines Seeger's early life, his family's influence upon his work, his activism for peace, civil rights and the environment, and his friendships with other legends such as Woody Guthrie."--Dallas Morning News
"A quick read that is both pithy and entertaining."--Christian Science Monitor
“Wilkinson's biography reads as lucidly as if we were there with him, listening to Seeger's history as he boils maple sap down to syrup and chops his daily quota of firewood.”—Publishers Weekly
"[Wilkinson] draws a picture of the folk singer not only by summoning up his history, public and private, but by giving us the man observed, in small swatches of manner and conversation.”--Newsday