cover image Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt

Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt

Sarah Jaffe. Nation, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-56858-536-9

Striking a tone that simultaneously infuriates and inspires, journalist Jaffe gives a macro-level overview of recent protest movements, including Occupy Wall Street, the Wisconsin Capitol protesters, Black Lives Matter, and lesser-known social justice groups. Her book examines these movements with a spare, intelligent style. Jaffe explores how the movements cross-pollinate and evolve, providing insightful analysis of the underlying trends that emerge across different groups. Along with original reporting and research of media coverage, Jaffe includes historical background and testimonies of active participants, creating holistic pictures of these movements. Some mention is made of protest parties of the right (such as the Tea Party), but the majority of the book focuses on movements associated with the left. It provides insight to those confused by the recent uptick in protests and unorthodox political candidates, and a rallying cry to those currently working in these social justice movements—though it’s unlikely the book will convert any partisan readers. “Messages don’t succeed because they say something new,” Jaffe writes, but “because they explain something that people feel but have been at a loss to explain.” For readers feeling frustrated and unrepresented in politics today, this book is just such a message. Agent: Lydia Wills, Lydia Wills LLC. (Aug.)