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Paperback Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice Book

ISBN: 0199754314

ISBN13: 9780199754311

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice

(Part of the Pivotal Moments in American History Series)

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Book Overview

The saga of the Freedom Rides is an improbable, almost unbelievable story. In the course of six months in 1961, four hundred and fifty Freedom Riders expanded the realm of the possible in American politics, redefining the limits of dissent and setting the stage for the civil rights movement.In this new version of his encyclopedic Freedom Riders, Raymond Arsenault offers a significantly condensed and tautly written account. With characters and plot...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

History at its best

This book is another great addition to the Pivotal moments in American history series. This series seeks to assess the events that led to a major paradigm shift in American history changing the country in some way. The argument here is that the Freedom Rides established a basis for social justice that had not been achieved previously. With this topic the author does an excellent job of putting a human face on the struggle the riders went through and you can feel the palpable hatred that the riders experienced and the racism is simply nauseating. It is unbelievable how clear the author captures it and not only for the hate towards the riders but the strict values that held this racism in place. What many people saw as right was the destruction of the freedom riders. The author does an excellent job at explaining the dichotomy in the country and showing how the Freedom Rides changed the perception of everyone towards social justice issues. For the first time white and black worked together not always seamlessly but with greater fervor than ever before. The direct action campaigns shifted focuses on what was happening the country creating new challenges. The book is extensively researched and relies not only on newspapers but countless interviews and the author should be commended for the work he put in. An excellent book to read and highly recommended.

an important piece of history finally brought to light.

I heard Mr. Arsenault speak recently and his love of this subject came through. I highly recommend this book.

Gripping, Fascinating and Required Reading

The perfect follow up to "America in the King Years," (by Taylor Branch) Arsenault focuses in on the single most important, ground breaking, and personally dangerous aspect of the civil rights movement. This is a gripping story, and reads like a thriller. Truly, this is contemporary history that you can't put down.

A Thrilling Historical-Action Masterpiece

This is an unqualified masterpiece treatment of an epic civil rights story. Fascinating characters, superb storytelling and a brilliant historian's perspective create a book that will amaze and move you. I read the whole thing in a mountain cabin on a vacation in New Zealand, and have rarely felt so proud to be an American. It is a story of pure guts and glory. Prepare yourself to be absouletly blown away.

A Tour de Force of Research and Writing

In 1961 there were dozens of Freedom Rides by hundreds of riders. Ray Arsenault set out to interview as many of them as he could find, and he spent eight years tracking them down in order to write this comprehensive, highly readable and fascinating book. Before the first rides, he gives the reader a complete history of the civil rights movement, so that when the riders get on buses and head south, you understand fully how radical and dangerous it was. When a bus is burned, you're as horrified as when it happened. By the end of the book, the reader has experienced a lot of sturn and angst. Some questioned whether the rides really accomplished anything, but the author makes it clear just how important the Freedom Rides were to the civil rights movement. All without much help from the Kennedy brothers, who feared a southern backlash in the mid-term elections in 1962. A lot has changed in the last 45 years. This great book documents why.
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