In Freedom Summer, Bruce Watson’s amazing attention to detail vividly brings to life the dramatic events that took place in Mississippi in 1964. Watson’s account of the murder of three civil rights workers that summer and the ensuing aftermath told in David Drummond’s deep, baritone voice makes for a very powerful listen. Thanks to numerous interviews with eyewitnesses to this striking moment in American history, Watson fills Freedom Summer with precise details like the midnight runs one civil rights worker would take to relieve his stress and the first terrifying night another spent half awake in her new office in Mississippi. It’s these telling details that give the book a sweeping, novelistic quality.
There’s also a sense of immediacy that stems from Watson’s precise writing and Drummond’s performance. Drummond wisely takes a matter-of-fact approach to narrating the book. There’s no reason to add extra drama to Freedom Summer. What happened that year in Mississippi needs no embellishment.
Freedom Summer should be heard in every 20th-century American history class, as it zeros in on a specific time and place and reminds us exactly what happened so we will never forget this dramatic turning point in American history. Ken Ross
A child of the 60s I approached this book with the impression that I knew most of what took place. Fortunately, I was wrong. This book revisits the summer of 1964 when 700 or so volunteers arrived to register voters in Mississippi. Familiar characteris of the era come alive through Bruce Watson's pen - LBJ, Stokely Carmichael and others. More importantly, a critical number of the 700 participants also come to life which is so interesting. If you think you know what took place and you fully understand the implications - look at this book again. It is informative, well written by Watson, and wonderfully read by David Drummond.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Great read, or in my case listen to, "Freedom Summer" by Bruce Watson. 700 people going into Mississippi to draught attention to Jim Crow laws in the south in '64. Many were abused. Several lost their lives. This pales in comparison to the black population in Mississippi who were abused, and lost their lives under Jim Crow. Freedom Summer wasn't the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, nor was it the end. In My opinion Freedom Summer turned a candle into a spotlight. Change had to come
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
This needs to be organized a lot better. The chapters do not correspond with the chapters in the book and it is very hard to find where the audio book chapters start in the actual book.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, I really enjoyed getting to hear perspectives from people on both sides of the civil rights movement. This book offered a more in-depth view than I got from my textbooks in school.
Any additional comments?
I like to listen to audiobooks at work while I do mindless tasks (like filing or filling out endless forms). Maybe it was the subject matter, but it felt like whenever a certain derogatory word came up from letters on the opposing side, Mr. Drummond was apt to shout these words just as someone was walking by my desk. (I know it's unrelated to the actual book itself, but I thought I would share that you should prepare those around you if you're going to listen to this with others around)
What did you love best about Freedom Summer?
I lived in N Mississippi at this time. I was a teen but had no idea!!
What about David Drummond’s performance did you like?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Very informative. I recently became interested in the civil rights movement's freedom summer & freedom schools and this book covers so much that I wanted to learn. Very detailed.
This is a thorough and engaging look at the summer of 1964 when a number of dedicated young people went to Mississippi to register blacks to vote and establish "Freedom Schools". All the harrowing events that started with the murders of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney are chronicled as Watson follows several of the volunteers through the months of June, July and August. The listener can feel the fear that the volunteers experienced daily and the culture-shock that many of them felt. Toward the end of the book, Watson mentions how Mississippi is one of the most progressive states in the South now, having more black elected officials than any other state in the country. This summer was the 50th anniversary of "Freedom Summer"; however, there is much more to be done before all Americans are considered first-class citizens.
The narrator David Drummond has the right tone and inflections for this important book.
Would you listen to Freedom Summer again? Why?
Yes! I have always been fascinated by the civil rights struggles, particularly in Mississippi, during the 1960s. Bruce Watson takes a complex time and place and brings it to life. I can feel the summer heat, the overpowering fear, and the glimmers of hope that were present during that summer that began the shift into voter racial equality.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Freedom Summer?
When Martin Luther King met the young teacher, telling her that what she was doing was not "nothing," that the children were the future.
Any additional comments?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bruce Watson is a talented writer, historian, journalist(?). David Drummond was very good in this performance, though there is something I can't put my finger on that does not make this a 5-star performance. I would listen to other performances of his - he is a good narrator (better than most).
Read this book if you have any interest in civil rights, Mississippi, the 1960s... heck, read this book!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful