50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism Paperback – 12 Mar 2005
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
What's to make of a self-educated kickboxing instructor...who lectures on foreign policy at MIT in his spare time? Newsday calls Mickey Z. a "professional iconoclast." Time Out says he's a "political provocateur." To Howard Zinn, he's "iconoclastic and bold." And New York City Council Member Peter Vallone told him: "You write well; it's too bad you're on the wrong side."
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"Mickey Z's 50 American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know is a reminder that complacency is (so) not sexy. It inspires one to stand up to the things that don't pass the tummy test. Those of us who choose the middle of the road will only get hit by a car."
"The seventh inning stretch required fans to stand in honour of the `men and women in uniform' who fight to `preserve our way of life.' Fifty thousand removed their free caps, watched a digitised flag wave on the big screen, and held the [sponsors] patch over their cholesterol-laden hearts while belting out `God Bless America,' collectively choosing to ignore the blood being spilled to keep the world safe for petroleum." - Mickey Z
Billie Holiday singing a song may not be what everyone has in mind when they hear the word revolution but individual acts of conscience and bravery are often at the root of major changes in social order and attitude.
This book is essentially a compendium of some of the finest moments in anti-establishment US history and some occasions when the establishment actually did something worthwhile (this was only a few of the 50). Some of the seminal moments of Feminism (probably shouldn't use the word `seminal' in relation to Feminism but if I said `ovulatory moments' it could still end up in a sticky mess!) Comedy, Music, Anarchism and Socialism are included in the book and some other things besides, notably Marlon Brando and Kathleen Hepburn's underwear. Some of these stories, like Muhammad Ali refusing the draft or the ' Battle in Seattle' are familiar but there are many that most probably won't know.
However, it is not the American History element that I find most interesting in this book (probably because I am not American). It is the personal acts of resistance and courage of the people in it, sometimes individual and sometimes collective, that is most impressive. It also shows how small acts by individuals can have huge consequences, in the US or anywhere else. Whether by laying down their lives, singing a song or even wearing and then not wearing trousers (don't get the wrong idea - this part has nothing to do with seminal moments) the people in Mickey Z's book challenged power and orthodoxy - which is why we are not supposed to know about them.
I like the idea of American teenagers reading this book and going to their history teachers and demanding to know why some of this stuff isn't being studied in class. Or, in this country, demanding to know why we are brought up to learn what a marvellous hero and orator Winston Churchill was and don't hear about his enormous military failures at Gallipoli and of him giving his authorisation to a plan to gas bomb villages of civilians or, as it was put, `recalcitrant Arabs' in order to inspire a `lively terror.'
The same `memory hole' system applies in both countries. Stories like the 50 included here, although not exactly suppressed or forgotten, are often de-emphasised as we instead learn about out glorious war leaders and statues are erected to mass murderers only for other mass murderers to come and tear them down again.
In addition to the 50 examples there is a timeline running through the book that lists many other important milestones of American resistance. It would be a good beginning for people who want to find out more about US history but can't face reading all of the Zinn book yet (but they should do that eventually).
The author states that I guess what I'm looking for here is to reach an audience I've never reached before...and provoke them to think and rediscover critical analysis. I don't claim to cover any new ground here...it's just a refresher course/wake-up call for a heavily conditioned society (and myself, too).
The `heroes' we hear about in schools are typically people who did something brave in the service of the state. This book about people doing something brave to challenge the perceived wisdom or change rather than uphold the existing order provides many interesting examples new and old of what Mickey Z puts at the beginning of his introduction...
"We have two American flags always: one for the rich and one for the poor. When the rich fly, it means that things are under control; when the poor fly, it means danger, revolution, anarchy." - Henry Miller
There is at least one story that anyone can find inspiring in here (most likely many stories) and if you read this book and feel infused with a little revolutionary spirit but are wondering where to begin then Orwell had a good starting point...
"In times of universal deceit telling the truth will be a revolutionary act."
One of the "revolutions" that Zizema with which he opened the was the Bill of Rights(Ratified on December 15, 1791). This reviewer is amused that many folks who demand that voter elgibility be based on a constitutional test do not know that a Bill of Rights exists. Yet, this document is bulwark for basic civil liberties which are currently under siege in the name of "national security." Zizema should have included the Fourteetth Amendment (ratified in 1868)and the Supreme Court case title GITLOW VS NEW YORK (1925)which expanded the legal protections of the Bill of Rights.
The next section gave a short account of Shay's (1747-1825)Rebellion (1786). Revolutionary war veterans were promised bonuses and that their paper currency would be honored for their debts. But Massachusetts authorities reneged on these solemn promises and tried to forclose on the property of veterans who risked their lives during the American Revolutionary War. While the rebellion failed, authorities were not slow to correct the abuses by lowering taxes, end of high direct taxes, lower court costs, exemption of workers' tools and basic necessities from debt assessment, etc.
The book also focused on labor problems. The Lowell Girls who worked under severe conditions were able to assert their rights via Female Labor Reform Association (1844)whose leader, Sarah Bagley, got the Massachusettes legislature to investigate and correct abuses re female blue collar workers.
Another aspect of the book was the unjust Mexican-American War (1846-1848). Irish immigrants were recruited to fight against the Mexicans. However, the Irish were treated harshly because of their national origin and Catholic Faith. Some took the side of the Mexicans for which the Mexicans show respect by making St. Patrick a parton saint of Mexico. Another protest against this unjust war was Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)book titled ESSAY ON CIVIL OBEDIENCE. One of his quotes was, "If...the machine of government...is such a nature that it requires you be an agent of injustice to another, then I say break the law."
Brief excerpts dealt with Progressivism and "Muckrakers." Ida Tarbell's (1857-1944)wrote about the abuses and corrpution re corporations which led the federal legal action in 1904.
Upton Sinclar (1878-1968)wrote a novel titled THE JUNGLE which led to reform of food producers to have sanitary conditions. During the Progressive Age, Emma Goldman (1869-1940)was evicted, arrested, persecuted, and deported for telling the truth about political corrpution and the problems faced by most Americans due to the advanced greed. Her comments re mutualism and freedom were not well received.
Other well know figures were Helen Keller (1880-1968)and Eugene Debs (1855-1926)who opposed war. Helen Keller refuted war mongering journalists by exposing their lack of knowledge and honesty. Debs paid for oppostion to W.W. I by spending time in prison in Atlanta, GA. Yet, Debs criticisms were vindiated by events and Clyde Miller whose initial reporting got Debs convicted apoligized to Debs. Gen. Smedly Butler (1880-1940)exposed military hypocricy during the Bonus Army march in 1932.
Another critic of war was Dorothea Lange (1895-1965)who observed that Americans were supposedly fighting racism with a segregated army. She noticed the detention of US citizens of Japanese ancestry while later men were condemning Soviet and German concentration camps. Steve Allen once commented that totalitarism was institutioned patriotism.
Following W.W. II, Zinc miners were investigagted by the HUAC. However, the HUCA snoops could not overcome the book titled SALT OF THE EARTH which detailed the dangerous working conditions of miners and other associated workers. One of the "leftists" the HUAC could not touch was I.F (1907-1987). Even Stone's critics admitted his mongraphys and books were well researched and clearly written. This reviewer guesses the HUAC cowards feared an intelligent hostile witness. Stone was one of first to refute the alleged Gulf of Tonkin incident (1964) which never took place but led to the Vietnam War with its tragic failures.
Those who were persecuted and prosecuted for non-crimes were Lenny Bruce whose humor led to legal scams to ruin him. Mohammed Ali was also persecuted for his refusal to be consecripted into the Vietman War. As Ali commented, he had no quarrel with anyone in Vietnam 10,000 nukes from the US while people were unjustly treated here in the US. Ali was vilified by press cowards. A good response from Ali would have been that if these cowardly sports journalists were so concerned that Ali did not submit to the draft, these war monger journalists should enlist and help with fighting and take the risks.
Another Vietnam war topic was the massacres that took place which were exposed by Hugh Thompson (b. 1943). What should be examined is NOT what war does to the enemy, but what war does to ourselves. A related incident was the stupid invesigation into Danial Ellsberg's work which refuted the false notion that US presidents are infallible. The US authorities made fools out of themselves by buglary of Ellsburg's psychiatrist's office. Such a stunt was incredibly stupid.
More recent events included the movement called FOOD-NOT BOMBS (FNB) which authorities tried to repress to no avail. In fact, Zizema showed that attempts to repress FNB resulted in theater and parody of the oppressive meansures. The demonstrations against the WTO (1999)showed that most US Senators and Representative who voted for the WTO never read the 500 pages of the WTO Treaty except for Sen Hank Brown (Rep) of Colorado. He voted against the treaty and for good reason.
The last section of the book focused on a movement called PEACEUL TOMORROWS and book by Jermey Glict titled ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE. This book dealt with the tragedies of US interventions far from US shores. When Glick got the better of O'Reilly on 2/4/2003, O'Reilly lost his temper and demanded that Glick's microphone be closed. O'reilly discovered that some folks cannot be intimidated by bullies.
One reviwer wrote that not all of the events in the book were revolutionary, and this remark is right. However, the anecdotes and short essays are a good introduction to refute sanitized versions of US History. Zezima should have included such mutualists as Benjamin Tucker (1854-1937)whose criticisms of monopolies was considered as an example clarity and logic. Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)offered comments on the law and US Constitution which are worthy of consideration. The book is a good start for those not familiar with US History.
James E. Egolf
May 3, 2012
Look for similar items by category
- Books > History > Americas > United States
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > International Relations
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Nationalism
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Structure & Processes