Information about the author.
In a chronicle of three generations of three working-class families, award-winning journalist Samuel G. Freedman tells the human story of the political transformation of twentieth-century America—the rise and fall of FDR’s New Deal coalition and its displacement by the new conservatism of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. This is the single most important political phenomenon of our times.
Freedman has selected three families who are at once singular and broadly representative. They are families who reached this country just as the century was beginning and struggled as blacksmiths and domestics and butchers and plumbers to gain a foothold. They are families who acted on their beliefs not only by voting but also by organizing neighborhoods and leading union chapters, canvassing precincts and watching polls and marching in torch-light parades. These families were pillars of the Democratic…[more]
Small Victories is Samuel Freedman’s remarkable story of life on the front lines in the sort of high school that seems like a disaster with walls—old, urban, overcrowded, and overwhelmingly minority. Seaward Park High School, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, has been ranked among the worst 10 percent of high schools in the state—yet 92 percent of its graduates go on to higher education. The reason is dedicated teachers, one of whom, English instructor Jessica Siegel, is the subject of Freedman’s unforgettably dramatic humanization of the education crisis. Following Siegel through the 1987-88 academic year, Freedman not only saw a master at work but learned from the inside just how a school functions against impossible odds. Small Victories alternates Jessica’s experiences with those of others at Seaward Park, and as we cone to know intimately a number of the astonishing students and staff, Small Victories reveals itself as a book that has the power to change the way we see our world.