‘Maryville Reads’ Book Announced

The 2016-2017 Maryville Reads book, 'Freedom Summer,' focuses on a critical moment in America's civil rights movement

Reading time: 2 minutes

For the 2016-2017 academic year, the tenth anniversary of the Maryville Reads program at Maryville University, discussion will focus on the book, Freedom Summer:  The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy, by Bruce Watson. Events and curriculum planned throughout the academic year will engage the Maryville community in dialogue about themes presented in the book.

“One of the pillars of the University’s strategic plan is diversity and inclusiveness,” said Genie McKee, PhD, dean of the University Library. “Because of Ferguson and many other events, the Maryville Reads committee sought to choose a book that raises social justice and diversity issues. Bruce Watson’s ‘Freedom Summer’ addresses those topics, and is also highly relevant during this presidential election year.”

Maryville Reads is a collaborative effort between the University Library, the Office of Multicultural Programs and the Division of Student Success. The book will be provided electronically to faculty and students as part of Maryville’s Digital World program.

The book is an account of a critical moment in the American civil rights movement.

A New York Times book review said Watson’s book “derives its power — at its best, it is the literary equivalent of a hot light bulb dangling from a low ceiling — from its narrow focus.” The book is an account of a critical moment in the American civil rights movement, when 700 college students descended upon Mississippi to register black voters and educate black children. On the night of their arrival, the worst fears of a race-torn nation were realized when three young men disappeared, thought to have been murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Freedom Summer takes readers into the heart of these remarkable months.


About the Author

As a frequent contributor to Smithsonian, Bruce Watson wrote more than 40 feature articles on subjects ranging from eels to Ferraris to the history of Coney Island. His articles have also appeared in The Los Angeles TimesThe Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Yankee, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2003. Bread and Roses was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of “25 Books to Remember in 2005.” Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, The Murders, and The Judgment of Mankind was a Book of the Month Club Selection and was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Award.