Pete Seeger, 1919-2014

Today the world mourns the passing of musical icon Pete Seeger, the singer, songwriter and activist who spearheaded the revival of American folk music, wrote and performed some of the most resonant anthems of the 1950s and 60s, and remained throughout his long and intensely active life a figure of inspiration to millions.

When we asked the legendary musician and activist for reading recommendations back in 2010 — as part of a celebration of his album Tomorrow’s Children, a musical collaboration with children and community members of his hometown in Beacon, NY —  it was no surprise that he offered up a unique list of books by and about people who work to change the world.   We offer up Pete Seeger’s reading suggestions below, as just one more fragment of his wide-reaching legacy.

Music by Pete Seeger

Books by Pete Seeger


By Wangari Mathaai

“This autobiography from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Mathaai tells of her incredible life in Kenya. Every aspect of Wangari’s story, from attending primary school and earning a PhD to spearheading Kenya’s Green Belt movement in 1977, is an inspiration. Her story is a testament to what can be accomplished with hard work and determination.”

The Green Collar Economy

By Van Jones

“Environmental leader Van Jones offers his take on two of today’s most important issues, social inequality and environmental breakdown. These are major dilemmas that we cannot hope to overcome without a united effort. It is only when individuals like Van Jones offer real solutions and we come together to implement them that we will see positive change.”

The Adams-Jefferson Letters

Edited By Lester J. Cappon

“These are beautifully written letters between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Adams’ wife whom he loved dearly. Their correspondences touch on every aspect of early US society, including religion, government and philosophy. The book offers a rare insight into the minds of three important figures from our country’s earliest days.”

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