Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold Story of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest

Lawrence Roberts. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-1-328-76672-4
Journalist Roberts debuts with a vivid and deeply sourced account of the events leading up to and following the May 1971 mass arrest of more than 12,000 antiwar protesters by Washington, D.C., police acting in concert with Richard Nixon’s White House. Though demonstrators failed to achieve their goal of shutting down the federal government in order to force an end to the Vietnam War, “the lessons of Mayday restored the right of dissent to the streets of Washington,” Roberts writes. He chronicles the “Spring Offensive,” as organizers called it, from the Weather Underground’s March 1971 bombing of the U.S. Capitol, through the April encampment of antiwar veterans in West Potomac Park, to the traffic blockades and other acts of civil disobedience that occurred from May 1 to May 6. Profiling protest leaders, as well as public defenders and police officials who protected the rule of law against Nixon’s anti-Mayday “war council,” Roberts convincingly argues that the White House’s authoritarian attitudes and actions foreshadowed the Watergate scandal. Readers with an interest in protest movements, the history of Washington, D.C., and 1960s and ’70s counterculture will be rewarded by this comprehensive and accessible account. Agent: Gail Ross, the Ross Yoon Agency. (July)
Reviewed on : 01/10/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-1-328-76674-8
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