Wasn’t That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America” by Jesse Jarnow is the dramatic untold story of the Weavers, the hit-making folk-pop quartet destroyed with the aid of the United States government—and who changed the world, anyway.

Following a series of top 10 hits that became instant American standards, the Weavers dissolved at the height of their fame. Jarnow’s book is the first to detail the remarkable rise of Pete Seeger’s unlikely band of folk heroes, from basement hootenannies to the top of the charts, before a coordinated harassment campaign at the hands of Congress’s House Un-American Activities Committee and the emergent right-wing media saw them unable to find work and dropped by their label.

Using previously unseen journals and letters, unreleased recordings, once-secret government documents, and other archival research, Jarnow uncovers the immense hopes, incredible pressures, and daily struggles of the four distinct and often unharmonious personalities at the heart of the Weavers. With a class and race-conscious global vision of music that now make them seem like time travelers from the 21st century, the Weavers’ story is especially timely when set against the current climate of political unrest gripping the United States and the world.

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