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The Making of a Rebel

by Emil Willimetz


Gringo, the Making of a Rebel A well-written memoir of an unconventional life, Gringo offers both general readers and scholars a journey behind the lines of the Great Depression, combat in Normandy and northern Germany, and early civil rights and labor organizing in the South. Willimetz's sense of time, place, and character is acute. When he's in the thick of the action, Gringo reads like good fiction.

This autobiography, which ends at midlife, contains historically valuable portraits of Black Mountain College in the late 1930s, the Highlander Folk School under educator Myles Horton in the 1940s and '50s, and CIO organizing projects, including the attempt to bring the plains-based Farmers' Union to Tennessee in the late '40s. Willimetz was deeply involved with all these projects, and their leading actors help shape the life he tells.

Readers' Comments

"Emil writes with wit and keen observation (of) the pressures on our country during the Depression years, World War Two, and through labor and civil rights organizing in the 1940s and 50s. He illuminates important centers of education and activity like Black Mountain College and the Highlander Folk School. This is a wonderful book for anyone who wants to deepen an understanding of American history and the struggles of ordinary people who have helped shape it. Gringo is an enjoyable and deeply satisfying read." -- Guy and Candie Carawan, Highlander Research & Education Center.

"Throughout his life Emil was a committed activist and reformer . . . from his high school days organizing anti-war strikes to his work in Tennessee with the Farmers Union and with those incipient years of nonviolent training of civil rights workers. Gringo evokes in a plain yet forceful way one man's commitment to securing for all the civil liberties, rights, and better life our nation promises but has not always delivered without the struggle of many good men and women." -- Peggy Robinson, Senior Producer, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

About the Author

Emil Willimetz was a student at Black Mountain College in the late 1930s and a documentary film-maker at Highlander Folk School. He lived in Maine with his wife, where he was at work on the second volume of his autobiography when he died in July 2003.

Autobiography, History. $26.95, 6" x 9", 536 pages, 78 black and white photographs, cloth, ISBN 1-931807-16-7

Contact Information

Joanna Willimetz
105 Maple Juice Lane
Cushing, ME 04563
Phone: (207) 354-8966


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