From a sit-down protest by overworked Egyptian pyramid builders in 1170 BC to defiant Native American Ghost Dancing in the 1890s, and from medieval Indian peasant revolts to modern actions by young Extinction Rebellion and BLM activists, this book is a highly ambitious and intriguing take on the concept of people power.
As noted in the introduction, Protest! focuses on non-violent action, and the writers’ passion for an intersectional and progressive understanding of human history is clear. They share a formative memory of attending an anti-Iraq protest and explain how the hope and joy they found through an essentially failed movement has shaped their world-view. The book’s primary aim is to explore the experiences of protestors themselves, which creates an inspiring reading experience but necessarily limits the space that is left to examine historical context.
A definite highlight is the wide range of protest tactics that have been used throughout history, including theatre, singing and guerrilla gardening. Many of the protests described – such as the frankly unbelievable story of Germany’s sixteenth- century War of the Snails – will be new to young readers and sure to spark further research. The prose is snappy and the illustrations, complete with funny and self- aware speech bubbles, are sure to appeal to fans of Horrible Histories. A spirited and accessible introduction to a fascinating and complex topic.