In tribute to this country’s long tradition of grassroots protests, a dozen significant clashes.
Opening with a claim that we humans are “hardwired” to respond with disgust to anything seen as “fundamentally unfair,” Kluger offers a roster of flash points—most of which marked change rather than directly causing it but all milestones in the annals of American social discourse and attitudes. Some, such as Stonewall, were more or less spontaneous uprisings; others, from the March on Washington in 1963 to the 2017 Women’s March, were carefully (if sometimes hastily) orchestrated. Likewise, if the Seneca Falls convention and 1982’s immense anti-nuke rally in New York were (relatively) peaceful, aggressive police responses made the demonstrations outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and the Dakota Access uprising in 2016-17 anything but. Unfortunately, Kluger never explains that in framing his account of the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance as one battle in a centurieslong struggle of the “Great Sioux Nation” against a mythic “black snake,” he is not contriving a metaphor but paraphrasing Native American protesters’ statements. Nevertheless, in every case he expertly brushes in historical contexts and properly notes that not every proud “liberation tale” here resulted in unqualified, or even partial, success. Photos at each chapter head not seen.
Cogent reminders that armed rebellion isn’t the only answer to social injustice. (source note, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)