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Download Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy Audiobook, by Bruce Watson Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (283 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bruce Watson Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2010 ISBN: 9781400187485
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In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers' shacks. But by the time their first night in the state had ended, three volunteers were dead, black churches had burned, and America had a new definition of freedom. This remarkable chapter in American history, the basis for the controversial film Mississippi Burning, is now the subject of Bruce Watson's thoughtful and riveting historical narrative. Using in-depth interviews with participants and residents, Watson brilliantly captures the tottering legacy of Jim Crow in Mississippi and the chaos that brought such national figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., and Pete Seeger to the state. Freedom Summer presents finely rendered portraits of the courageous black citizens and Northern volunteers who refused to be intimidated in their struggle for justice, as well as the white Mississippians who would kill to protect a dying way of life. Few books have provided such an intimate look at race relations during the deadliest days of the civil rights movement. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Here is a past of fear and hate, but also of courage and bravery, all given a narrator's---a scholar's---knowing and wise documentary attention. Robert Coles, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Children of Crisis series
  • “Recreates the texture of that terrible yet rewarding summer with impressive verisimilitude.”

    Washington Post

  • “Remarkable…a well-researched, vivid retelling of the 1964 civil rights crusade to put Mississippi’s 200,000 disenfranchised blacks on the voting rolls…[an] important book.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Elegantly written…A fascinating look at ordinary people at their best and worst…Riveting.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “Mesmerizing history.”

    Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joy | 2/18/2014

    " I picked this up in the library after hearing a partial interview on NPR and thought I would breeze through it. The book stunned me. For one thing, I had no idea how much evil was perpetuated by state and local governments, or that the Federal government looked the other way. Reading this book explained so much about the 1960's; how an idealistic few took on something huge, were foiled by "the establishment," and why an entire generation felt disenfranchised as a result. Nearly all of the iconic movements of the 1960's were started by or as a result of the kids who went down to spend eighty some days in a hot, sticky state. They changed nothing and everything at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Czarina | 2/12/2014

    " Outstanding historical account of the summer in Mississippi when Bob Moses led the SNCC to fight for freedom. Cannot imagine anyone not voting after reading this! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonna | 2/5/2014

    " I read this book as research for a book I was writing and I learned so much from it. It reads very well for a non-fiction book. Anyone with half an ounce of interest in the Civil Rights movement will enjoy this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 2/3/2014

    " 5 stars ! (which if you scan my bookshelf, you'll know that I don't just give stars away like candy). This book is so hard to put down, mesmerizing and meticulous in the recounting of the summer of 1964. I can't imagine the kind of chutzpah it took to go down into Mississippi at that time. An amazing story of heroic idealism. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 1/28/2014

    " Freedom Summer tells the story of Mississippi during the summer of 1964 when hundreds of college students from across the US traveled to Mississippi to open Freedom Schools, run voter registration drives and education, and support African Americans stepping into County Courthouses to register to vote. It was a summer of terror for all, for African Americans standing watch with rifles and shotguns to the young students whom they were protecting. White Mississippians were terrified of the changes to come from the "invasion" of these outsiders, which included the FBI. This is the summer told of in the film Mississippi Burning in which 3 civil rights workers are murdered. One of the most interesting chapters of the book is the epilogue, which tells of the reaction of the civil rights workers and the residents of Mississippi. Whites were outraged that once again they were shown at their racist worst when they have made progress in Mississippi. The civil rights workers were outraged that Blacks were shown as helpless and the FBI were heroes. This was not the case in the summer of 1964. I do most of my reading by audiobook and Freedom Summer was a good choice for my commute. Performer David Drummond held my attention and engaged my imagination with subtle shifts in voice to indicate speakers. His accents, from New England to the Deep South, were effective and never sounded fake. The story is told through extensive research with interviews and letters so that the voices of the civil rights workers are clear. Freedom Summer is highly recommended as an education for those not yet born in 1964 and a reminder to those who were that there are still pockets of poverty and racism in the USA. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Gross | 1/22/2014

    " A deeply moving portrayal of courage and conviction displayed by volunteers willling to fight against racial injustice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Stevens | 1/14/2014

    " a detailed, comprehensive and accurate look at freedom summer from every point of view: SNCC who invited us, the volunteers, the black community, white Mississippians, the FBI, Bobby Kennedy, LBJ, the celebrities who came down, the rest of the world, which watched, horrified. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Sharber | 1/12/2014

    " very good book. it's a great story with amazing characters and watson does a wonderful job with it. writing in an almost cinematic way you can really see things unfolding. if you are a looking for a good overview type book of the people and the events over the whole of the summer, check this book out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 1/12/2014

    " Good book about the history of the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi in the 1960s. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Oliver Hazan | 12/8/2013

    " This is the best Civil Rights book I have read because it capture all the participants: the brave fighters, but also the frightened blacks and the mostly racist whites. Extremely well done and illuminating (although not particularly well written). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trudi | 11/30/2013

    " Fascinating narrative of the events that took place in Mississippi in the summer of 1964 when civil rights workers entered the state to register voters and open Freedom Schools. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 7/21/2013

    " Amazing book...something everyone should read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elena | 5/4/2013

    " This was a really interesting book! I read it for a history class, but I still really enjoyed it! Learning about Freedom Summer puts movements such as Occupy Wall Street into a larger context. This book is inspiring for any young people who want to work to create social change! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frederic | 4/7/2013

    " Though there is much familiar material here,it's good to be reminded what American Heroes(a greatly debased term,these days)like Bob Moses and Fannie Lou Hamer did for our country,once upon a time... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 12/11/2012

    " Drawing heavily from primary sources (letters home, interviews, journals), Freedom Summer is a riveting account of the summer of 1964 in Mississippi. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 5/12/2011

    " I found this book to be very interesting. It makes the struggle for freedom come alive without stereotyping any group. The book was well researched and was written without bias. It is hard to believe that Mississippi in 1964 was part of the United States. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 3/24/2011

    " Great topic and interesting facts but no real story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/30/2011

    " Amazing. A must read for any student of American and/or Southern history. The sad thing is, how many Americans know nothing of this period of our history and would gain a great deal from having read about it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 bri | 9/25/2010

    " Wow! I feel downright un-american for being so ignorant about the civil rights movement. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 6/19/2010

    " Painful to remember these times, but the book is well written and worth reading to understand the Civil Rights movement. It did indeed start for real in Mississippi. History of SNCC was excellent, and though I lived through all this, I never really understood their origins. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erik Macintyre-lewicke | 6/13/2010

    " Im illiterate so i cnat read "

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About the Author

Bruce Watson is the author of Sacco and Vanzetti, a finalist for the Edgar Award, and Bread and Roses, named a New York Public Library Book to Remember. His journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Smithsonian, and Reader’s Digest.

About the Narrator

David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, appearing on stages large and small throughout the country and in Seattle, Washington, his hometown. He has narrated over thirty audiobooks, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, fantasy, military, thrillers, and humor. He received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay. When not narrating, he keeps busy writing plays and stories for children.