Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists Paperback – Sep 7 2010
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“Courtney Martin’s portraits of eight young activists reveal people who are flawed, scared, and human—which makes them all the more inspiring. An elegant, effortless read that confirms what we already know: young people continue to change the world.”
—Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, authors of Manifesta and Grassroots
“Do It Anyway asks the most difficult question possible: how can I make my life meaningful? The answers are varied, transformational, and necessary for us all.”
“Courtney Martin is one of our most insightful culture critics and one of our finest young writers. She’s written a lively, compelling, and very important book for people of every generation who want to be fully alive in and to the world. Take in what she says and you may find yourself turning to that impossible cause you care about and ‘doing it anyway.’”
—Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak
“Unlike a lot of authors, Courtney Martin isn’t trying to sell you activism and why you should (yawn) get involved. Instead, she goes deep into the stories and lived experience of eight individuals. Do It Anyway is a treasure and deeply affecting.”
—Billy Wimsatt, author of Bomb the Suburbs and Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs
“Put this on your must read list! Courtney Martin, of Feministing and Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters fame, has just launched a new book. Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists profiles the work of eight activists, doing what they can to make this world a better place.”
- The Real Deal
About the Author
Courtney E. Martin is a Beacon Press author.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is not a book on how to become an activist or how to do community organizing. It is a volume of human stories of people who care about how they use their lives for the common good. Martin's profiles assure us that there are young people who deeply care about their fellow humans. The book may be most useful to other young adults who are searching how to make a difference in their communities. Martin avoids romanticizing the activists she profiles. She reveals the struggles, doubts, and faults of those she writes about while also holding up their gifts, commitment, and courage.
The book is well written. The people profiled are portrayed in their humanness and, as a result, can simultaneously evoke admiration and annoyance in the reader. Do not expect an activist manual. Do expect insight into the difficultly of becoming an activist. Then be inspired to do it anyway.
The book begins on a somber note with the tale of Rachel Corrie, the Washingtonian peace activist who sacrificed herself in Israel to protect Palestinians whose house was to be demolished. Martin uses Corrie's story as a jumping off point, saying that "we must not envy that end, but turn to 'live people' for our inspiration..." Ms. Martin does just that by talking to people like Raul Diaz, a prison reentry social worker in Los Angeles; Nia Martin-Robinson, an environmental justice activist in DC; and Tyrone Boucher, a radical philanthropist in Philadelphia.
I really like Ms. Martin's style of writing and her ability to share these individuals' stories and their struggles. Martin also calls out the problems with bureaucracy and mainstream solutions that each of them have to deal with. I was especially taken by the point she makes that foundations and other nonprofits perpetuate the problems that they're trying to solve by not questioning the system that they're a part of as much as they probably could.
I was also pleased to learn about young people of privilege who are uncomfortable with that and want to do something about it. In this post-Reagan era of greed and selfishness, it was refreshing to read about. In general, I found the book refreshing and inspiring. The mainstream media seems to take great pleasure in looking down on younger generations. It has always done this, and it has always been wrong.