cover image Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition

Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition

Jeff Biggers. Counterpoint, $26 (224p) ISBN 978-1-64009-047-7

To make the case for resistance in the age of Trump, Biggers (The United States of Appalachia) traces U.S. opposition movements from pre-Revolutionary times to the present, drawing parallels between the tumultuous present and the early days of the Republic. Well-informed and often witty, Biggers covers the resistance movements—and their many, often unsung heroes—of Native Americans, African-Americans, immigrants, and those fighting for women’s rights and environmental justice. Readers meet, among others, Ona Maria Judge, a slave who escaped from George Washington’s household in 1796; labor activist and physician Marie Equi, who was physically assaulted for her outspoken dissent against America’s entry into WWI; Bree Newsome, who scaled a 30-foot flagpole to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse in 2015; and Lakota historian Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, a leader of the Native American resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016. Biggers also discusses the restorative processes of “truth and reconciliation commissions” to address centuries of racial injustices and the way some rural areas and U.S. cities are combating climate change in defiance of “the coal-peddling Trump administration.” Some sections are cursory, but Biggers succeeds in showing how the long tradition of resistance movements continues today. (July)