Wasn’t That a TimePosted: January 31, 2019
Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America
Da Capo Press (November 6, 2018), 297 pages
Kindle edition $13.99, Hardcover $15.43
If you are interested in the history of folk music in America this is fascinating reading.
The Weavers were a highly influential folk group in after World War II and throughout much of the 1950’s. The book discusses the background of each member of the group and how their paths led them to form the Weavers. A large portion of the book discusses the group’s struggle with the blacklist. It was interesting to learn that blacklist pressure came not only from the House Un-American Activities Committee but from private organizations intent on rooting out people they suspected to be Communists or Communist sympathizers.
The author describes how the driving force behind the Weavers, the great Pete Seeger, left the group when the group consented to do a commercial jingle, which, ironically, never aired. Jarnow even describes the collaboration of the only female in the group, Ronnie Gilbert, with the next-generation activist singer Holly Near. In fact it was on Holly’s CDs that I first became familiar with Gilbert.
If the era and the subject matter interest you this book is well worth your time.