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Book cover of Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes

Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes

by John Siceloff, Jason Maloney, David Brancaccio

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Pages: 256
Paperback
ISBN: 9780230614383






Available to Buy

Overview of Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes

From Pbs's Now Comes This Important Guide to Civic Activism-With 12 Inspiring Stories from Across The Country

Your America introduces 12 ordinary citizens accomplishing extraordinary changes in their communities, from Tallahassee, Florida to Canton, Ohio to Madison Valley, Montana. Your America explores the paths to success of a remarkable group of people, each of whom has appeared on NOW, the popular Pbs show, to tell their stories. For everyone interested in change at a local and national level, this book provides the blueprint for working together locally to create a better global community.

Synopsis of Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes

Approaching the topic of civic activism on both a national and local level, Your America reveals essential lessons from twelve stories of ordinary citizens accomplishing extraordinary changes in their communities. Like Bill Graham, mayor of tiny Scottsburg, Indiana, who took on the telecommunications giants and wired his town for free wifi; or Katie Redford, a young law student who dusted off the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789 and ended up changing the way American corporations behave overseas. Each profile is the result of a story on Now, the popular PBS show with a viewership of over 2½ million people. For fans of the show, community activists, and the blogosphere, this book provides a blueprint for working together locally to create a better global community.

Publishers Weekly

In this uplifting collection of profiles, Siceloff and Maloney, producers of the PBS program Now, spotlight individuals who have sparked successful community action without resources or (in most cases) any political or organizing experience. Highlighted individuals include Lucas Benitez, a Mexican migrant worker who led a movement to improve the egregious working conditions in tomato fields in Florida; Jackie Thrasher, a school teacher who beat back the special interest money poisoning local electoral politics in Arizona; and Diane Wilson, a shrimp boat captain who started a campaign to halt toxic dumping of polyvinyl chloride in the Gulf of Mexico. The focus in these in-depth follow-up pieces to the Now profiles is less on a particular issue than on how such unassuming community leaders are born and how many paths to civic activism are forged from local concerns. Most of the featured individuals-aside from former civil rights activist Robert Moses and government whistle-blower Bunny Greenhouse of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-are ordinary citizens, and their abilities to devise creative solutions to serious problems and persevere against vastly influential antagonistic interests will inspire and embolden all readers. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author, John Siceloff

John Siceloff is the creator and executive producer of PBS's NOW. An award-winning producer for such shows as 20/20, Primetime Live, and Dateline, he is also the recipient of the DuPont Award, Peabody Award, and Emmy Award. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post. He lives in New York, NY.

Jason Maloney is a news and documentary producer who has worked for NOW. His work includes reports for PBS' NewsHour. He was recently the editorial producer on the documentary on the AQ Kahn network entitled "Nuclear Jihad," which won the DuPont Award. He lives in New York, NY.

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Editorials

Publishers Weekly

In this uplifting collection of profiles, Siceloff and Maloney, producers of the PBS program Now, spotlight individuals who have sparked successful community action without resources or (in most cases) any political or organizing experience. Highlighted individuals include Lucas Benitez, a Mexican migrant worker who led a movement to improve the egregious working conditions in tomato fields in Florida; Jackie Thrasher, a school teacher who beat back the special interest money poisoning local electoral politics in Arizona; and Diane Wilson, a shrimp boat captain who started a campaign to halt toxic dumping of polyvinyl chloride in the Gulf of Mexico. The focus in these in-depth follow-up pieces to the Now profiles is less on a particular issue than on how such unassuming community leaders are born and how many paths to civic activism are forged from local concerns. Most of the featured individuals-aside from former civil rights activist Robert Moses and government whistle-blower Bunny Greenhouse of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-are ordinary citizens, and their abilities to devise creative solutions to serious problems and persevere against vastly influential antagonistic interests will inspire and embolden all readers. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Library Journal

The brainchild of Siceloff, creator and executive producer of the award-winning television newsmagazine NOW on PBS, and documentary producer Maloney, the 12 stories in Your America were originally featured on NOW. Each profiles an ordinary person who is making a difference in his or her community. To each participant Siceloff and Maloney posed the question, "How do you get started if you want to make a difference in America?" The responses are open, honest, inspiring, and even heartbreaking testimonials that cover a range of social issues across the political, social, and economic spectrum. From the grieving mother who took on the U.S. Army, to the teacher bringing algebra to minority schoolchildren, to immigrant farmworkers fighting back against big business, each chapter provides a case study on how grassroots efforts really can make a difference. This is a small book that can inspire big ideas. Suitable for all public libraries.
¬óJenny Seftas

School Library Journal

Adult/High School

Siceloff and Maloney provide snapshots into the world of modern-day activism by highlighting and expanding stories originally shown on the PBS television show Now . The individuals represented are from all walks of life, and yet they all exemplify how change is possible at the grassroots level. It is easy for readers to jump from one person's story to another's depending on interest; examples of subject matter include environmental concerns, education and literacy, human rights, and politics. Each chapter opens with a couple of photographs and a brief summary of what the person did. Using a combination of narrative and interview techniques, the authors then move into an in-depth examination of what the individual achieved and how the journey began. The chapter concludes with a "Producer's Snapshot" in which a member of the Now production team relates an experience with and impression of the individual. Links to supplemental information on the people profiled, Internet resources, and suggestions for ways to take action in one's own community are included. With its strong role models, this book would make an excellent addition to civics classes and appeal to teens interested in activism.-Kelliann Bogan, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH

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