Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition
A widely ranging history of intellectual and moral resistance within American politics…The author writes clearly and with a firm grasp of historical comparison, intimately focused on compelling figures. —Kirkus Reviews
Jeff Biggers has the unblinking gaze of the honed journalist, a novelist’s sense of image and story, and a prophet’s cache of outrage. He stands in my very short list of American literary heroes.—Luis Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway and The Hummingbird’s Daughter
“These times are tumultuous and divisive. But Jeff Biggers, a gifted writer who approaches history as expansively as Zinn and as passionately as Galeano, finds resistance everywhere. He shows us how freedom movements—led by people of color, women, and commoners, from revolutionary-era rebels to today’s loud majority—have pulled American democracy away from tyranny and toward humanity time and again. These powerful, urgent essays remind us that everywhere there is resistance there is hope.” —Jeff Chang, author of We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation
Resist we must, resist we will–and as this volume powerfully reminds us, in so doing we are acting on the deepest American instincts.—Bill McKibben, author Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance
Reading this book, I saw history vanquish amnesia, David slay Goliath, and tenacity take down tyrants. I saw a long, unbroken chain of resistance extending back through centuries. I saw the world saved over and over. I saw heroes and declared them my ancestors. I heard stories to inspire bold action. I found traditions I want to pass on. —SANDRA STEINGRABER, activist and author of Living Downstream and Raising Elijah
With compelling and engaging prose, Jeff Biggers lays out the case for Resistance in the age of Trump. There are so many lessons to learn from Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition. Our turbulent times, Biggers shows us, have eerie and chilling parallels to the birth pangs of our nation and to the continuing struggles of We the People to define and claim our voices. At this moment in history, when even the act of listening to the news can cause despair, Biggers gives us hope. In response to our darkness, he reaffirms the light that resistance offers. He shows us that the free expression of Resistance, whether with the pen, our marching feet, the taking of a knee before a football game, the words to a song—to name a few—remains a cornerstone of what it means to be American.— Naomi Benaron, author of the Bellwether Prize-winning Running the Rift
These are the times that try our souls. Across cities, towns and campuses, Americans are grappling with overwhelming challenges and the daily fallout from the most authoritarian White House policies in recent memory. In a riveting and inspiring narrative history, Jeff Biggers’ Resistance reframes today’s battles as a continuum of a vibrant American tradition, chronicling the arduous, courageous, and often squabbling resistance movements that insured the benchmarks of our democracy—and served on the front lines of the American Revolution, the defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the defeat of fascism during World War II, and various civil rights movements. As an intimate history, Resistance is a provocative reconsideration of the American Revolution and its unfolding promises, bringing alive early Native American, African American and immigrant struggles, women’s rights, and pioneering environmental justice movements and their presence today. Biggers shows how a republic of resistance has served as a de facto “Truth and Reconciliation” commission for our history, especially in times when our nation—and its leaders—need to be held accountable.
Legendary historian Studs Terkel praised Biggers’ The United States of Appalachia, now in its 8th printing, as a “how-to book” in the tradition of the American Revolution. With Resistance, Biggers opens a new window into American history and its meaning today.