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From 2010 to 2020, more people took part in protests than at any other point in human history. Why has success been so elusive? From the so-called Arab Spring to Gezi Park in Turkey, from Ukraine’s Euromaidan to student rebellions in Chile and Hong Kong, the second decade of the twenty-first century was propelled by explosive mass demonstrations.
But few people got what they wanted. In too many cases, the protests led to the opposite of what they asked for. If We Burn is a stirring work of global history built around that strange but fundamental paradox.
Acclaimed journalist Vincent Bevins interviewed hundreds of people around the world, and weaves their insights and recollections into a fast-paced, gripping narrative. We follow his own troubling experiences in Brazil, where a protest movement ignited by leftists and anarchists led to an extreme-right government that torched the Amazon. In the mass protest decade, humanity demonstrated a deep desire for change, and brave individuals started something that has been left unfinished.
In this ground-breaking study of an extraordinary chain of events, protesters and major actors offer urgent lessons for those who wish to understand geopolitics today, and create a better world tomorrow.
Early praise for If We Burn: The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution…
“This is a wondrous work of mystery writing, an effort to solve the riddle: Why has a decade of large-scale rolling revolts produced no revolution, no significant structural reform? I can’t think of any journalist other than Bevins who would dare to ask such a question, or be capable of weaving together seemingly discrete global events into a stunning history of now. Have we planted seeds for a better future, or have the gears of change frozen for good? Bevins lets the people he talked to, those on the street, answer.”—Greg Grandin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The End of the Myth
“In this remarkably assured and sweeping history of the present, Vincent introduces us to the activists, hackers, punks, martyrs, and the millions of ordinary people whose small acts of bravery spurred the mass protests of the last decade. Bevins’s clear-eyed, sympathetic account of the unfulfilled promise of these protests leaves his reader with a bold vision of the future—one in which his book’s lessons are used to transform an uprising into a true revolution.”—Merve Emre, critic for the New Yorker
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