Narratives of the
Free Speech Movement
There are many accounts of the conflict, many
stories of the FSM. Though all overlap, no two survey quite the same ground. Though most
agree on much that's important, their different perspectives are rich with variety and
Books about FSM Available Online
The Beginning: Berkeley, 1964
Columbia University Press, New York and London
Copyright © 1968, 1970 Columbia University Press
Berkeley: The New Student Revolt (partial)
Berkeley: The New Student Revolt (entire book)
The FSM: An Historical Narrative
Published originally with an interpretive essay by Robert Kaufman and Michael Folsom in
FSM: The Free Speech Movement at Berkeley
by the W.E. B. DuBois Clubs of America, 1965.
THE FREE SPEECH MOVEMENT: COMING OF AGE IN THE 1960s
David Lance Goines
Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California
Copyright © 1993
The Wedding Within the War
Heretic's Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution
Beacon Press, Boston, 1997
Chapter 4, The Free Speech Movement
Looking for the Future
a personal connection to yesterday's great expectations today's reality and tomorrow's hope
Personal histories, stories, and
"The Free Speech Movement"
A richly autobiographical account, woven from a
freshwoman's family letters and mature reflection, portraying the FSM as an early, vital
episode in the education of a pagan feminist. (1964, 1996; 34 pp.)
"Present at the Birth: A Free Speech Movement Journal"
The detailed journals of a graduate student
record his involvement during the early action (9/23-10/2) and climactic events (12/1-9).
An evocative personal introduction and a very brief summary of the months between tie the
entries together. (1964, 1984; 18 pp.)
"Inside Sproul Hall" as written to Ralph Gleason
A young reporter assigned to cover the
Sproul Hall sit-in from inside writes about what he can't report. (1964; 5 pp.)
Rossman, "The Birth of the Free Speech Movement"
In a tape-recording made the next morning
(10/3), a graduate student recounts the raw experience of the Police Car Sit-in, and
recalls the developments leading to this crisis, launching the FSM's historical project.
(1964; 18 pp.)
"Heretic's Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution"
The renowned NPR correspondent offers a fresh perspective of the sixties, in a candid memoir of civil-rights work, the Free Speech Movement, and her correspondence with a young American soldier in Vietnam. (1997)
"Intimate Politics: How I Grew up Red, Faught for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel"
A gripping and beautifully rendered memoir, Intimate Politics is at its core the story of one woman's struggle to still the demons of her personal world while becoming a controversial public figure herself. (2006)
"Freedom's Orator: Mario Savio and the Radical Legacy of the 1960s"
Here is the first biography of Mario Savio, the brilliant leader of Berkeley's Free Speech Movement, the largest and most disruptive student rebellion in American history. Savio risked his life to register black voters in Mississippi in the Freedom Summer of 1964 and did more than anyone to bring daring forms of non-violent protest from the civil rights movement to the struggle for free speech and academic freedom on American campuses. (2009)
Robert Cohen and Reginald Zelnik, eds. "The Free Speech Movement: reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s"
Drawing from the experiences of many movement veterans, this collection of scholarly articles and personal memoirs illuminates in fresh ways one of the most important events in the recent history of American higher education. (2002)
Draper, Berkeley: the New Student Revolt
(1965, 150 pp.)
A coherent history by an independent Socialist,
allied to the FSM. Draper's well-paced account of the political drama, extending through
Spring 1965, is informed by serious analysis of many themes. Many will find this the most
useful book-length treatment of the FSM.
"At Berkeley in the Sixties: Education of an Activist 1961-1965"
Tells the story of Jo's involvement with the Bay Area Civil Rights Movement and the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in the 1960s. An unromanticized but inspiring account of a political activist's coming-of-age. (2004)
David Lance Goines, The Free Speech
Movement (1993, 624 pp. + 130 pp. appendices, etc.)
Goines' enthusiastic story of his involvement at
age 19 continues through his jail term in 1967, and justifies the book's subtitle,
"Coming of Age in the 1960s." Yet this is the broadest account of the FSM from
its own perspective, for the narrative is richly woven with hundreds of pages of
interviews with other participants, illuminating key developments and perspectives.
Max Heirich, The Spiral of Conflict:
Berkeley, 1964 (1971, 428 pp. + 74 pp. appendices, etc.)
This sociological study focuses on the dynamics
of communication and conflict among students, faculty, and administration. Heirich's
careful documentation makes this the most detailed and reliable chronological record of
the conflict's events and interactions. His analysis clarifies the immediate
interest-dynamics that made the conflict's progression inexorable.
Seymour Martin Lipset and Sheldon S. Wolin, eds.,
The Berkeley Student Revolt: Facts and Interpretations"
In this volume two professors of political science at Berkeley, themselves in disagreement over the meaning of the revolt, have tried to assemble as wide a range of significan views--from participants on both sides and outside observers--as possible. (1965)
"Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power"
Subversives traces the FBI's secret involvement with three iconic figures at Berkeley during the 1960s: the ambitious neophyte politician Ronald Reagan, the fierce but fragile radical Mario Savio, and the liberal University of California president Clark Kerr.(2012)
Steve Warshaw, The Trouble in Berkeley, (1965, 122 pp)
The complete history, in text and pictures, of the great student rebellion against the "new university."
Narratives from formal reports
From "Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Student Conduct" (Oct. 1964, 4 of 13
This narrative by a committee of the Academic
Senate covers events through the student "infractions" of September 30, from a
perspective of possible disciplinary action. Though less actively critical of the
administration than the Byrne Report's later account, it helped shape faculty opinion
during the conflict.
"The FSM: An Historical Narrative" (Feb. 1965, 24 pp.)
Less personal than most participant reports, but
hardly less passionate. Aptheker's methodical review of tactics and strategy -- from the
perspective of a political organizer, informed by membership on the FSM's Steering
Committee and in the Communist Party -- is the best medium-sized introduction to the FSM's
story. (It largely left political interpretation to a companion essay in the W.E.B. DuBois
Clubs' booklet on the FSM.)
"Highlights of the Fall Events" from
the Byrne Report to the Board of Regents (July 1965, 6 of 50 pp.)
A brief, relatively objective review, from an
investigation commissioned by a Committee of the Regents.
From Appellants' Opening Brief, People
of the State of California vs. Mario Savio and 571 Others (1966, 32 of 284 pp.)
This narrative focuses on facts pertinent to
defense of those arrested in the FSM's climactic sit-in. Its last 20 pages cover the
events of December 2-3 in considerable technical detail.