Freedom's Orator

Freedom's Orator : Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s

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Here is the first biography of Mario Savio, the brilliant leader of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement, the largest and most disruptive student rebellion in American history. Savio risked his life to register black voters in Mississippi in the Freedom Summer of 1964 and did more than anyone to bring daring forms of non-violent protest from the civil rights movement to the struggle for free speech and academic freedom on American campuses. Drawing upon previously unavailable Savio papers, as well as oral histories from friends and fellow movement leaders, Freedom's Orator illuminates Mario's egalitarian leadership style, his remarkable eloquence, and the many ways he embodied the youthful idealism of the 1960s. The book also narrates, for the first time, his second phase of activism against "Reaganite Imperialism" in Central America and the corporatization of higher education. Including a generous selection of Savio's speeches, Freedom's Orator speaks with special relevance to a new generation of activists and to all who cherish the '60s and democratic ideals for which Savio fought so more

Product details

  • Hardback | 544 pages
  • 162.56 x 233.68 x 40.64mm | 861.82g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 15 black and white halftones
  • 0195182936
  • 9780195182934
  • 2,007,149

Review quote

Mario Savio inspired a generation of young people, and this biography elegantly interweaves the various elements of this complex human being: his gift of speech, the profundity of his thought, his spirituality, his strong aversion to dogma, and above all, his unshakable moral core. * Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States * Cohen accomplishes the complex task of interweaving Mario's personal story with that of his political engagements, and deftly ties both to the history of the peace and social justice movements that followed. Among Cohen's many strengths as a biographer is his almost uncanny ability to understand Savio's motivations, to see the goodness of his heart, and to honestly consider the psychological demons Savio worked so hard to overcome... Robert Cohen's biography of Mario Savio is earnest, comprehensive, and written as a compelling narrative that does justice to its subject. For this we can all be profoundly grateful. * Bettina Aptheker, Tikkun * Robert Cohen tells Savio's story with passion and compassion... It is likely to be the standard reference work about Savio. * Jonah Raskin, San Francisco Chronicle * What Cohen's account clearly shows is that the FSM was...notable above all for speaking in ways that made political conversation fresh and meaningful, something that correlated with Savio's own non-sectarian leftism. * Logos * Robby Cohen has written a gripping account of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement that took place in 1964, and the role of the student leader Mario Savio in that movement. Growing up in a working-class Catholic family, Savio struggled with a stammer, but he overcame his stammer to become a passionate and eloquent orator who led the Free Speech Movement in its struggle for political and academic freedom. Cohen tells the story of how Savio became a committed activist as the result of his experiences registering black voters in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964, and goes on to give a blow-by-blow account of the Free Speech Movement, its struggles and its final success. Here at Berkeley the Free Speech Movement Cafe stands as a memorial to the Movement and Savio's role in it. Cohen's book is both a biography of a remarkable individual and an account of a pivotal moment in Berkeley's history. * G. Steven Martin, University of California, Berkeley *show more

About Robert Cohen

Robert Cohen teaches social studies and history at New York University and chairs the department of Teaching and Learning in NYU's Steinhardt School of Education. A Berkeley graduate, he is the author of When the Old Left Was Young and the co-editor of The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s . He lives in Greenwich more

Table of contents

Introduction ; PART I: THE EDUCATION OF AN AMERICAN RADICAL ; 1. Child of War ; 2. The Making of a Civil Rights Activist ; 3. Freedom Summer ; PART II: AVATAR OF STUDENT PROTEST: LEADING THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT ; 4. From Polite Protest to the First Sit-In ; 5. The Police Car Blockade ; 6. Organizing and Negotiating ; 7. "We Almost Lost": The FSM in Crisis ; 8. Speaking Out and Sitting In ; 9. "Free Speech at Last" ; PART III: AFTER THE REVOLUTION: A VOICE LOST AND FOUND ; 10. Descending from Leadership ; 11. Battling Back ; 12. Dying in the Saddle ; Appendix: Speechesshow more

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23 ratings
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