Assigned on hundreds of campuses in every conceivable discipline and from first-year programs to graduate seminars, Paul Loeb’s Soul of a Citizen has become a classic of civic engagement. An antidote to the sense of political powerlessness and demoralization too many students are feeling these days, Soul has helped students of all backgrounds and perspectives learn to make a difference in their communities and in our country. It has inspired them make their voices heard and actions count—and to begin journeys of involvement that could last their entire lives.

Paul spent a year writing a thoroughly updated edition of Soul, incorporating the suggestions of faculty who’d been teaching the earlier edition in classrooms throughout the country. Soul’s new version keeps all the strengths of the decade-old original, while speaking to the new challenge of our very different time. It’s just been published (St Martin’s Press, $16.95 paperback) and St Martin’s is making free exam copies available if you teach a class or supervise a program where you might be able to assign it.

“Soul of a Citizen has been a powerful resource to get thousands of students involved in their communities, giving them the opportunity to apply their learning in meaningful ways. This updated edition is both timely and exceptionally useful to campuses that want to reclaim higher education’s central role in educating responsible, democratic citizens.”—Carol Geary Schneider, President, Association of American Colleges & Universities

"Soul of a Citizen was the common reader for over 2500 students enrolled in Kennesaw State's 2009 first-year seminar. It introduced them to active community engagement, inspired countless service learning and advocacy projects (from literacy programs to a gay rights effort and an NRA-backed concealed weapons initiative), and strengthened their campus and community connections."—Jim Davis, chair first-year book committee, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw GA

FREE ACADEMIC EXAM COPIES: If you’d like to get a free academic exam copy, please email and include your name, campus address, academic position, and the course or program where you might assign the book. Paul has also just updated his classroom study questions and service learning examples, both available at If you don’t teach a relevant course, you can buy the book at your local campus or community bookstore or at

Soul’s original edition has continued to teach wonderfully. Paul got rave responses this past year in campus-wide programs at University of Alabama, Florida Gulf Coast University, Georgia’s Kennesaw State, and other schools throughout the country. Students in every conceivable discipline, of all political perspectives, and at every academic level have responded.

But it has been a decade and 100,000 copies since Soul’s 1999 release, so Paul’s now created a wholly revised new edition for a new and different world. It keeps the stories and lessons that students have responded to most, and adds inspiring new ones, including some wonderful new student stories. Paul has literally gone through every sentence, paragraph, and section to make sure the book speaks as powerfully as possible to help a new generation become engaged and keep on despite all the barriers and frustrations.

If you’ve assigned Soul with success before, or would like a powerful new book to inspire your students to get involved, we hope you’ll get a copy and consider it, including for the all-campus adoptions where it’s so inspired students to become engaged. Visit for faculty responses, classroom study questions service learning examples, and information on Paul’s campus lectures.

“Soul of a Citizen has inspired countless students, faculty, and other readers since its publication a decade ago. Amazing as that book was, this new version is even wiser, deeper, and more inspiring. Loeb has given even more soul to his wonderful work.” —Thomas Ehrlich, senior scholar, Carnegie Foundation for Education, former dean of Stanford Law School and former president of Indiana University

“Paul Loeb brings hope for a better world in a time when we so urgently need it.” —Millard Fuller, founder, Habitat for Humanity

“Few recent books have inspired more college students, faculty, and staff to get involved in critical public issues than Soul of a Citizen. Loeb’s powerful new version includes even more stories that will engage students as active and thoughtful citizens.”—Gwen Dungy, Executive Director, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators

“When my daughter asked from college how to be an effective grassroots citizen, I gave her Paul’s book.”—Josette Sheeran, executive director, United Nations World Food Program

A NEW EDITION FOR A NEW WORLD: Soul’s new edition keeps classic stories and lessons like how Maine homemaker Alison Smith helped lead a path-breaking initiative for campaign finance reform “so my kids won’t grow up in a cynical world.” How, after an elderly neighbor died of the cold, Virginia Ramirez, a middle-aged Latina with an eighth-grade education, got involved in a San Antonio community or ganization—and eventually testified before the U.S. Senate. And how David Lewis, an African American man who had served seventeen years in the California prison system launched a pioneering drug rehabilitation effort based on trying to give people, as he said, “the support they need, in a language they can understand.” It keeps the core analytical material that’s worked so well—like Loeb’s explorations of the perfect standard, the cynical smirk, and America’s chronic amnesia about social change. Loeb examines, for instance, how the myths surrounding the Rosa Parks story blur the reality that those who change history do so intentionally, by working together with others, and by persevering until they succeed.

Paul Loeb has mixed these classic stories with powerful new profiles and explorations of contemporary citizen involvement, on issues from the economy to global climate change. A few examples:

How Rich Cizik, vice president of the National Association of Evangelicals, was converted on global climate change by a prominent British climate scientist who is also a leading evangelical. Cizik said his shift “shook my theology to its core.” He went on to enlist other key evangelical leaders, like Rick Warren.

How Virginia Tech student Angie De Soto began so apathetic she spent the night of the 2004 election playing a drinking game after not voting. Once a professor got Angie interested in global climate change, she created and ran a pioneering environmental sustainability plan for her once-disengaged campus.

How a young Barack Obama began his involvement by speaking out during the student anti-apartheid movement—through a campaign at Occidental College launched by a former Green Beret. Whether students agree or disagree with Obama’s stands, the story underscores the power of citizen involvement, since we never know where the person sitting in a classroom beside us will end up.

How Michelle Combs, communications director of the highly conservative Christian Coalition, became friends with Joan Blades, founder of the leading liberal group MoveOn. Their friendship led to a joint campaign that saved the Internet as an open-access commons, instead of a medium to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Soul’s new edition also includes more on Paul’s personal journey, from his own student activism to a 2008 campus election engagement project, which he initiated and ran, working primarily with Campus Compact, to help faculty and administrators involve their students in 15 states. The new edition includes a new exploration of political burnout, including how to prevent students from becoming cynical about democracy from potential disappointment with Obama. It includes an updated look at the world of “virtual activism”—and how new technologies can either increase face-to-face engagement or become traps to displace it. Loeb takes a classic of citizen involvement and updates it as a resource to engage a student generation with more potential interest in public life than any in years.

“Soul of a Citizen was a valuable part of our 2009 program for several hundred first-year students. Many also participated in service projects, and the book gave them a hopeful vision of what they could accomplish. Soul is inspiring for any student eager to play a more active role in shaping their campus, their community, and their world. The new edition is even stronger.”—Kevin Waltman, Co-coordinator, Freshman Learning Communities, University of Alabama.

“Since 2007, we’ve assigned Soul of a Citizen as the core text for our Foundations of Civic Engagement course, enrolling 700 students per year. We assign The Impossible Will Take a Little While to 250 students in our core senior seminars. Our students love these books and tell me they are among the only ones they won’t sell back. You are a household name on our campus, and the new version of Soul is even more powerful than the original.”—Maria Roca, Department of Communication, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers FL

“We assigned Soul of a Citizen for all of our First Year Experience students, and use it as a core text for our psychology internship. We believe it helps students to think beyond their own lives—personally and professionally—and to engage with a larger world, feeling that their actions can matter. They've really loved the book and found it very inspiring. The new edition should inspire them even more."—Christine Olson, Faculty Civic Engagement Coordinator, Southwest Minnesota State, Marshall, MN

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Paul Loeb has also lectured at over 400 colleges and universities. Visit for comments and his current schedule. Students respond to his new stories even more powerfully when you bring him to present them in his talks. You can also email for more information. To receive Paul’s articles directly email with the subject line: subscribe paulloeb-articlesedu.

And if you don’t teach a relevant course or supervise a relevant program, you can order Soul of a Citizen through your college or community bookstore or at The site also has more general information on Paul’s work including his award-winning anthology on political hope, The Impossible Will Take a Little While, Named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association, The Impossible has similarly inspired thousands of students nationwide, and has its own study questions and exam copy offer.

Again, to get your free exam copy of Soul, go to:
Soul of a Citizen
with your name, campus address, and the course or program for which you’d consider the book. And please pass on this email to colleagues who might be interested.