Renehan is a former Clearwater crew-member from the 1970s and a former member of the Clearwater Board of Directors. He was close friends with Toshi and Pete Seeger for more than 40 years, served as editor of The Clearwater Songbook (NY & London: G. Schirmer, 1980), and collaborated on the Smithsonian/
Pete Seeger vs. The Un-Americans - A Tale of the Blacklist is the first book-length work to focus on Seeger's entanglements with the blacklist, the House Select Committee on Un-American Activities and the U.S. Justice Department during the 1950s and into the 1960s - a period during which the singer demonstrated great resolve and bravery, risking professional ruin and even prison in order to confront government-sponsored attacks on free speech.
The book taps several new primary sources unavailable to previous Seeger biographers, and fills in heretofore unrevealed facts bearing greatly on the singer's 1961 trial for Contempt of Congress.
In refusing to answer questions posed by the House Select Committee on Un-American Activities (1955), and at the same time refusing to take the Fifth Amendment, Seeger consciously put himself in harm's way of prosecution for Contempt - a brave act also embarked upon by such notables as playwright Arthur Miller, economist Otto Nathan, and the Hollywood Ten. Seeger's eventual 1961 prosecution resulted in guilty verdicts on ten counts, and a one year prison sentence - a finding overturned on a technicality in the Court of Appeals one year later. Summed up, the threat of prison hung over Seeger's head for a good seven years, from 1955 to 1962.
The impact upon Seeger's career was, for a time, quite devestating. He went from selling millions of records and touring top venues with his hit group The Weavers, to playing solo at summer camps and colleges for fees sometimes as low as $25. He and his family subsisted on a shoestring budget. The one thing he was able to put in the bank was his integrity.
Pete Seeger vs. The Un-Americans - A Tale of the Blacklist was published in late April in both Kindle and paper editions. An audio edition will publish shortly.
Kindle Edition: $9.99
Paper Edition: $15.00
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