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Ronnie Gilbert, A Radical Life in Song with a Foreword by Holly Near
Ronnie Gilbert brought the political, artistic, and social issues of the era alive through song lyrics and personal stories. This book traverses 60 years of collaborations in life and art that span the folk revival, the Cold War blacklist, primal therapy, the back-to-the-land movement, and rich, multi-generational family stories.
Ronnie Gilbert had a long and colorful career. Her lifelong work for political and social change was central to her role as a performer. She was raised in Depression-era New York City by leftist, working-class, secular Jewish parents. Ronnie Gilbert was a singer, actor, playwright, therapist, and independent woman best known as a member of the Weavers with Pete Seeger, the quartet of the 1950s and ’60s that survived the blacklist and helped popularize folk music in America.
More than a memoir, Ronnie Gilbert’s autobiography is a unique and engaging historical document for readers interested in music, theater, American politics, the women’s movement, and left-wing activism.
Foreword by Holly Near. Hardcover. ISBN 9780520253087.
Ronnie Gilbert was a legend folk singer and social change activist from the late 1940’s through the early 1960’s. Ronnie Gilbert loved life on the road with Pete Seeger and the Weavers. They sold millions of records and were national celebrities. She survived the notorious blacklist of the 1950’s McCarthy era to renew her successful singing career in the 1980’s and became an inspiration to Holly Near and a new generation of female singers.
Ronnie Gilbert was born in 1926 to a Jewish immigrant mother who was a dressmaker in the ILGWU. She was exposed to radical politics at an early age when her mother took ten year old Ronnie to hear Paul Robeson at a downtown New York City rally. She sang in choirs as a youth and had a great, booming voice.
Ronnie Gilbert never “retired.” She was always learning, always growing, and remained as committed to building a just world. She coninued her commitment to feminism and global peace activism through strong participation in the Women In Black network, challenging U.S. policy in the Middle East and around the world until she died in June of 2015 at age 88, having just completed this long awaited memoir.
Featured positive reviews:
A Wonderful Life! 10/10/2015
[ I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissionâ€™s 16 CFR, Part 255 â€œGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising]
“A memoir isn’t a well-researched biography by a historian. It is a remembering fat with feelings.”~ Holly Near, from the introduction
As an avid singer, and for over forty of my soon to be 59 years a lover of folk, politcal, anti-war and(radical) lesbian and womens’ music, I was saddened to hear of the death this year of Ruth Alice Gilbert. Ronnie Gilbert was a lesbian singer of world renown in my eyes. I’d known she’d been part of the “hootanany movement” when I was really young, and sort if knew about The Weavers through reading about “that Pete Seeger fellow” my parents would shake their heads about.