“The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know.” -- Harry Truman

Friday, October 15, 2021

What is the Vermont Way?

A fresh look at a remarkable place

Restless Spirits & 
Popular Movements
A Vermont History

“A definitive examination of how average people in one of the nation’s smallest states have influenced and continue to shape American history… A well-written and nuanced history of Vermont’s social movements.” - Kirkus Reviews

“a hard book to put down and 

when you do you keep on thinking…” - Melinda Moulton

a rollicking political and social history of Vermont…” 

- Sasha Abramsky

“…an engaging read that helps explain what makes Vermont Vermont.

- Seven Days

“an effective and invaluable learning tool…” - Jim DeFilippi

“A fascinating and energetic account of the history of Vermont…” - Susan DeMasi

“For readers new to Vermont history, this book will introduce key figures and important events that helped create the state they know today. For readers steeped in Vermont history, the book’s most rewarding parts will probably come in later chapters, where Guma draws from his decades of reporting to offer insights into some of the major political actors and movements from the late 1960s to the present.” 

Mark Bushnell, Vermont History

Available in bookstores and online

From Ethan Allen to Bernie Sanders, Vermont has forged a separate path as a small, independent state with a strong sense of how to preserve its basic traditions while changing with the times. Restless Spirits and Popular Movements revisits its unique story through movements and memorable people who have created the delicate balance of sovereignty and solidarity, political independence and mutual aid known as the Vermont Way. The journey features a memorable cast of characters. 

New illustrated & expanded paperback edition
From White River Press and The UVM Center for Research on Vermont
(sample pages)

Early Reviews

"Vermont has a rich history of humanity who have challenged the status quo and changed the course for the State and in many instances the entire country.  If one wonders how Vermont became what it is today — a trailblazer for human rights, climate, income equality, women's reproductive freedom, racial and judicial justice, etc. — read Greg Guma's book.  It is all there — with beautiful enticing words that weave together a picture of the Green Mountain State and the humans who scripted and sent forth the progressive movement.  It's a hard book to put down and when you do you keep on thinking .....it's a great read and a true assessment of the who, what, when and how Vermont's legacy of social change came to be the blueprint for change admired around the World." — Melinda Moulton, co-founder and CEO of Main Street Landing in Burlington

“Greg Guma has written a rollicking political and social history of Vermont, one of the most fascinating, and least written-about, states in the union. He takes readers on a big journey from the pre-revolutionary years through to Bernie Sanders' runs for the  presidency. In between, he introduces larger-than-life figures from the worlds of politics, religion, culture, journalism, industry and array of other areas. He brings to life great political battles in the early years of the Republic, including around Thomas Jefferson's agrarian vision of the country; struggles for regional dominance and relevance with neighboring states; union struggles; tussles between progressives and nativists over Vermont's identity; and the unique politics of a place that some have compared to the US's own version of Switzerland. The result is both a fun read and an authoritative read, delivered by a skilled writer who has immersed himself in Vermont life and politics for decades.” — Sasha Abramsky, journalist and author of The American Way of Poverty

“This book acts as an effective and invaluable learning tool for those of us who think we know the true history of the state of Vermont, as well as for those of us who know we don’t.” — Jim DeFilippi, author of Jesus Burned


Many episodes have also been released on other websites, as well as in live presentations. The project also includes rare photos, dramatic stories and an episode from The Vermont Movie. Latest — Culture War in Bennington; Birth of the NPAs   2017 additions -- Cleaning up the World: Vermont's First Earth Day, Earth Day 1990: Making Peace with the Planet and Dark Shadows in Vermont's Past.  Also check out Class Struggle: From Socialism to the American Plan and How Traditions and Values Have Defined the Vermont Way (Green Mountain Noise, 2VR, Spring 2014) Publishing partners include VTDigger, Center for Global Research, Second Vermont Republic, ZNet, and Toward Freedom.   

Monograph available as PDF
What is the Vermont Way? The term has been used to describe everything from the traditional way to make maple syrup and smart farming in general to a political campaign agenda and the ability to make something out of almost nothing. Sometimes it extends into the phrase “the Vermont way of life.” When he left the Republican Party Jim Jeffords said, “Independence is the Vermont Way.” In her autobiography Consuelo Northrup Bailey, the first female attorney admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court and the first female lieutenant governor in the nation, said the character of Vermont was defined by “everyday, common, honest people who unknowingly salted down the Vermont way of life with a flavor peculiar only to the Green Mountains.”

"Serenade in Green"

Green Mountain Politics describes the state’s delicate dance of sovereignty and solidarity, independence and mutual aid. The subtitle refers to the focus on political, economic and social events, trends and personalities. Covering centuries, this transmedia project features unique stories, sketches of key figures, and original analysis that explains how the Vermont Way evolved. The following installments are available:

Dark Shadows in Vermont's Past 

The Parkway That Never Was
From The Vermont Movie, directed by Nora Jacobson
 This 5:53 film segment streams on this site and allows scrolling with audio

An illustrated print edition will be released in November 2021, with new insights about influential Vermonters like revolutionary leaders Matthew Lyon and Ethan Allen, Anti-Mason Governor William Palmer and feminist Clarina Nichols; railroad and marble tycoons, anti-slavery activists, major strikes and labor protests; Vermont-born Presidents Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge and progressive politicians James Burke and Ernest Gibson; intimate portraits of Governors Phil Hoff, Tom Salmon, Richard Snelling, and Madeleine Kunin, as well as Bernie Sanders, James Jeffords, and Howard Dean. Plus, the Vermonter who rescued America from McCarthy. 

Excerpts from Greg Guma's Dangerous Words and Maverick Chronicles are also available:

Subscribe to The Vermont Way for articles and event announcements. 
See more excepts at VTDigger.org

Video: Vermont Pastoral 

Photo Montage & Music by Greg Guma 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Coming in 2022 — Maverick Library

Preview video

A private library (in development): Maverick Library will have both General and Special Collections. In Special Collections

Art & Photography books



Burlington books and materials 


Files and manuscripts 

First editions 

Periodicals (antiquarian) 






Subjects / individuals 

Selected publications 

(e.g. Toward Freedom, Vanguard Press, Vermont Guardian)

In the General Collection, major categories to include: 


Current Affairs





Mass Media

Maverick Books


Political Science


Advisory Board to be established for management and acquisitions. Projected opening date: March 2022