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Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists (2010)

por Courtney E. Martin

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11313238,379 (3.56)2
If you care about social change but hate feel-good platitudes, "Do It Anyway "is the book for you. Courtney Martin's rich profiles of the new generation of activists dig deep, to ask the questions that really matter: How do you create a meaningful life? Can one person even begin to make a difference in our hugely complex, globalized world?… (mais)
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Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
The way forward may be with a broken heart, yet we can take heart in the shared experience. Activism is for young and old alike.
  NoelHutchings | Jun 1, 2011 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Do It Anyway: The New Generation Of Activists by Courtney E. Martin is a book I received through the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing. Ms. Martin wrote the book because of the desperation she felt in her own activist life. She wanted to look at and write about when and what activism meant for her generation, so she sought out and interviewed eight young men and women to learn about what they do and why they do it. Each profile makes up one chapter of the book.

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. ( )
  MFenn | Apr 3, 2011 |
One one hand, I understand and agree with the premise of this book. On the other, it feels sort of self-evident to me. I suppose, based on the responses to this book, not everyone had that reaction to it. Despite this, it's a good and fast read, vaguely compelling for me mostly because it is a very coherent argument. ( )
  chuette7619 | Feb 21, 2011 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
It's difficult to feel that one person can make a difference in our world today. Yet, Courtney Martin demonstrates that when we have passion and direction, change can be made. Taking a small view doesn't mean that one gives up the bigger picture--it's how those small views become interdependent and conjoined that makes deep and lasting changes. Rosa Parks often spoke that her decision to keep her bus seat was not simply a spontaneous, earth-shattering act. It was founded on deliberate and smaller bits of activism, some successful, some failures, which eventually lead to the moment when history irrevocably changed.

Do It Anyway demonstrates that our current, most privileged cohort of coming-of-agers (the 25 to 35 year old set), might not have the look of their Baby Boomer progenitors who marched in the streets, held sit-ins and "fought the man," but they have courage, tenacity, passion and the desire to "fix" what they see as broken or in need of improvement in our society. They have a rich set of tools to use toward that end that previous generations did not: Facebook, blogs, Twitter, texting--and they have a profound sense that they should do something to better the world.

Martin, however, does not buffer this group from criticism. These Gen Xers and Yers are pampered and steeped in self-esteem enhancement, which as discussed in the first chapter focused on the late Rachel Corrie, can provoke a certain amount of self-destruction when they come to realize the world is often messy, ugly and very unconcerned with self-image.

I found this book delightful and hopeful--that people do work toward the greater good--especially young people, and that there is a sense of activism growing in the hearts and souls of a generation often typecast as self-serving, oblivious and apathetic. It was well-written and seemingly well-researched. Martin might be criticized for becoming involved personally with her subjects, but I have often found that one can discover more about people using a subjective approach than to keep the "object" of observation or documentation at a distance. Seven of these contemporary activists are real people who give great volumes of energy and themselves for what they believe in--big or small. Martin can only be praised for painting such a clear picture in such a short volume.

Some poignant quotes:

"Like so many teenagers of her generation--the most wanted and coddled in history--Rachel [Corrie] had a nagging sense that she had been sold a bill of goods about her own specialness." (5)

"This struggle--between the system and the self, long-term and short-term change, the political and the personal--is one of the most palpable tensions. . . in all social justice work." (80)

"The legacy that these activists carry with them, to one extent or another, is the 1960s-era activism that has become so iconic, and in some ways distorted, in its constant retelling. Vietnam War protests, civil rights marches, black power, and feminist struggles have been resurrected in word, image, and emotion for decades now--creating a sort of superactivist standard to which the activists of later generations inevitably compare themselves." (183) ( )
  Ellesee | Jan 4, 2011 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Courtney E. Martin profiles eight amazing activists whose stories will touch you. But part of Martin's mission for this book was to show the world that her generation (she's Generation Y, I'm GenX) does care about the world and doing things to make it better.

In order to show that GenY isn't just a bunch of me-me-me individuals, but rather full of people creating positive changes in their community, Martin profiles eight people who are doing some amazing things. The shortcoming is is that Martin stuck to the coasts to find her people. Thankfully she acknowledges this right away. As a Midwesterner, I'm obviously miffed at that shortcoming. Sadly Martin even misses her home state of Colorado.

But the people she does profile will engage and suck you in. She opens the book with a profile of Rachel Corrie which is brilliant as Rachel is such a lightening rod for activists. I learned more about Rachel from this profile than my years of reading bits here and there in news pieces. On one hand, Rachel seemed too idealistic. On the other she seemed like a privileged white kid who got in too deep.

Martin's profiles are rich and will require some tissues here and there. Luckily she wrote in a way that keeps you turning the pages at the same time you stop to shake your head at some of the people's lives (Diaz and Guzman).

Read the rest at my blog.

http://www.vivalafeminista.com/2010/12/book-review-do-it-anyway-by-courtney-e.ht... ( )
  roniweb | Dec 24, 2010 |
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If you care about social change but hate feel-good platitudes, "Do It Anyway "is the book for you. Courtney Martin's rich profiles of the new generation of activists dig deep, to ask the questions that really matter: How do you create a meaningful life? Can one person even begin to make a difference in our hugely complex, globalized world?

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Courtney E. Martin's book Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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