Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times
Soul of a Citizen Living with Conviction in Challenging Times Author:Paul Rogat Loeb Soul of a Citizen has become the handbook for budding social activists, veteran organizers, and anybody who wants to make a changebig or smallin the world around them. At this critical historical time , Paul Loeb?s completely revised editionand inspiring messageis more urgently important than ever. ... more »Paul Rogat Loeb, an associated scholar at Seattle's Center for Ethical Leadership, has written on social involvement for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Psychology Today, Utne Reader, Redbook, Parents, The Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, Salon.com, The Village Voice, National Catholic Reporter, and the International Herald Tribune. He has been interviewed on CNN, NPR, PBS, C-SPAN, NBC, the BBC, and national German, Canadian, and Australian radio, and has lectured on over 200 college campuses. Loeb is also the author of Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus, Nuclear Culture, and Hope in Hard Times. How do we challenge our culture's pervasive cynicism? Paul Loeb presents an alternative vision of hope and courage in Soul of a Citizen. Based on thirty years of studying the psychology of social involvement, Loeb describes how ordinary citizens can make their voices heard and their actions count in a time when we're often told neither matter.
Soul of a Citizen has become the handbook for budding social activists, veteran organizers, and anybody who wants to make a changebig or smallin the world around them. This completely revised editionand inspiring messageis more urgently important than ever.
Soul of a Citizen explores what leads some people to get involved in larger community issues while others feel overwhelmed or uncertain; what it takes to maintain commitment for the long haul; and how involvement can give back a sense of connection and purpose rare in purely personal life. Writing in an engaging and evocative style, Loeb offers profound lessons: "Our efforts can do morefor ourselves and for the worldthan we may ever imagine. We don't have to become saintsor wait for the perfect situationto take action. Change happens little by little, step by step. We can savor the journey of engagement, even though our ultimate destination is unclear. The impact of our efforts will often ripple outward in ways we cannot predict."
At the heart of Soul of a Citizen are profiles of a broad range of people who have learned these lessons. They include:
A Maine housewife helps lead a path-breaking campaign finance reform initiative "so my kids won't grow up in a cynical world."
A Seattle environmental activist celebrates her hundredth birthday, still passionately involved. "You do what you can," she says. "Then you do some more."
A fisherman forges new links between environmentalists, fishermen and Native American tribes to restore Pacific salmon habitat. "It's draining to convince yourself you're powerless and swallow whatever's handed to you," he says. "You get a lot back when you work with a good group of people to take a stand."
An African American man serves seventeen years in the California prison system, then initiates a pioneering drug rehabilitation effort to give people "the support they need, in a language they can understand."
An eighth-grade dropout joins a community group in her San Antonio barrio, helps design an innovative job program and eventually testifies before the U.S. Senate. "The group found some spark in me," she recalls. "I never knew I had it."
Soul of a Citizen is a highly personable story of integrity and commitment, a testament to our often-unrealized ability to lead lives worthy of our convictions.
A teacher's guide to Soul of a Citizen is available at http://www.soulofacitizen.org/studyquestions.htm Soul of a Citizen has been a powerful resource to get thousands of students involved in their communities, giving them the opportunity to apply their learning in meaningful ways. This updated edition is both timely and exceptionally useful to campuses that want to reclaim higher education?s central role in educating responsible, democratic citizens.?Carol Geary Schneider, President, American Association of Colleges and Universities Soul has been a powerful inspiration to citizens acting for environmental sanity, showing how they can take committed stands, even if they don?t know every last answer. The new edition is even more inspirational.?Bill McKibben
I stayed up half the night reading Soul of a Citizen, finding it a beautiful and morally transcendent work. Paul Loeb is a personal hero of mine who gives decency and generosity a political character, in the humblest of ways. The new edition is magnificent?Jonathan Kozol
When my daughter asked from college how to be an effective grassroots citizen, I gave her Paul's book. The new edition is even more powerful.?Josette Sheeran, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Program
Soul has inspired thousands of young people, of widely differing perspectives, to take a stand. It teaches them how to get past the barriers to act, and why their actions matter. The new edition is a powerful personal guide to get involved.?Hans Riemer, Youth Vote Director, Barack Obama campaign, former political director, Rock the Vote
Soul of a Citizen has been a powerful resource to get thousands of students involved in their communities, giving them the opportunity to apply their learning in meaningful ways. This updated edition is both timely and exceptionally useful to campuses that want to reclaim higher education?s central role in educating responsible, democratic citizens.?Carol Geary Schneider, President, American Association of Colleges and Universities
Soul of a Citizen has inspired countless students, faculty, and other readers since its publication a decade ago. Amazing as that book was, this new version is even wiser, deeper, and more inspiring. Loeb has given even more soul to his wonderful work.?Thomas Ehrlich, former president Indiana University
Without engaged citizens, politics is dead. Citizen activism was the source of this country?s birth, and today ensures its future. To really, truly understand why it?s important for us all to stand up and act, and how to do it, read the new updated edition of Soul of a Citizen, an activist classic that belongs on the shelf right next to Saul Alinsky.?Thom Hartmann
"Soul of a Citizen was the common reader for over 2,500 students enrolled in [Kennesaw State University's] first-year seminar. It introduced them to active community engagement, inspired countless service learning and advocacy projects (from literacy programs to a gay rights effort and an NRA-backed concealed weapons initiative), and strengthened their campus and community connections."Jim Davis, Chair, First-year Book Committee, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw Georgia
"We taught Soul of a Citizen in our Leadership and Identity class in our residential college. The book really stimulated students' self-motivation to become social-change agents. Most haven't learned to see themselves in this role. Soul of a Citizen sparked wonderful discussions and helped the students look at themselves in a different light. It gave them a sense of who they could become and what they could achieve."Peter Clecak, Professor of Sociology, and Arnecia Bryant, Campus Village Housing Office, University of California, Irvine
"I have used Soul of a Citizen for the last two years with students taking our new required course on citizenship and social change. They?ve really been enthusiastic about the book. Loeb?s stories of citizen engagement, coupled with his insightful commentary, help them get beyond a personal, individualistic searching for meaning and happiness. It?s really inspired students who?ve done service with groups like Habitat for Humanity and Sierra club, and one who even did her Mission trip (she's Mormon) in the Ukraine last year. Soul of a Citizen challenges students to see that they can find meaningful living by working for the common good and living a life of community."Melinda Dukes, Professor of Psychology, Tusculum College, Greenville, Tennessee
"Too often, academic study leads students to doubt that their ideas and actions matter. Soul of a Citizen taught my students that ordinary people can and do change the world. They said it was the first book in their four years at school that gave them hope."Jane Rinehart, Sociology & Women?s Studies, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
"I teach Soul of a Citizen in a freshman composition class: Writing and Research, a service-learning course for students admitted through our Academic Opportunity program for students not regularly admissible. Loeb?s book works as a great rhetorical model, and inspires my students in what is, for many, their first step into the social arena. As they conduct primary and secondary research into the problems of homelessness, illiteracy, and hunger, Loeb?s book reminds them that solutions to such huge systemic problems start with small actions by people like themselves."Kathleen Dale, Senior Lecturer, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
"I?ve been teaching Soul of a Citizen with great results in a g...« less
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