Book Review: "Fifty American Revolutions You're Not Supposed to Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism" by Mickey Z.

Jump to: navigation, search

Fifty American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism

By Mickey Z.

(Publisher: The Disinformation Company, 2005, 155 pages, U.S. $9.95)

A Review by Lucine Kasbarian

Hope Dance Magazine

February 2009

Self-educated writer Mickey Z. (The Seven Deadly Spins; There is No Good War; The Murdering of My Years) skillfully demonstrates that a diploma does not a scholar make in his outstandingly researched, succinctly-written ode to the Bill of Rights: "Fifty American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know."

What at first glance appears to be a U.S. military combat manual emblazoned with the American flag on its cover is actually a handbook about the patriotism of dissent that could become the sleeper of stocking-stuffers this holiday season. "Fifty American Revolutions" is a concise, portable reference guide that resurrects fifty trailblazing examples of resistance in American history – pivotal for the firestorms they created as well as the social progress they engendered – though some of them remain chiefly unobserved in today’s classrooms, boardrooms, and even Oval Office.

This unpretentious book profiles the social movements, the rebels – and in some cases, simply those who dared to live their truths – to present a much fuller picture of American history than the histories we are taught. You will read how by the 1730s, runaway slaves forged a military and social alliance with the Seminole Indians to collectively resist colonial rule; how preteen girls in textile mills of Lowell, Mass. in the 1820s organized one of the first labor unions; how Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, "Uncle Tom’s Cabin," moved America towards abolition; that by exposing oil monopolies, Ida Tarbell began the tradition of “muckraking” journalism which helped to secure anti-trust laws; how labor organizer Eugene Debs ran for president from the hoosegow after being imprisoned for “anti-war” statements and managed to win nearly 1 million votes from behind bars; that by simply wearing trousers in the 1930s, movie star Katharine Hepburn brazenly defied social convention, ultimately ushering in greater freedom of expression for women; and how public citizen Ralph Nader helped secure car safety laws and, after foiling a GM-led entrapment plot against him, applied his legal winnings toward the establishment of the consumer rights movement.

If you already knew these all-but-forgotten bits of history, "Fifty American Revolutions" will be a dynamic refresher course depicting how Americans have rallied for justice. If not, you’ll receive 50 mini-history lessons that, like favorite foods, go down easy but are not soon forgotten. Either way, these stirring accounts of those who dared to defy authoritarian rule will inspire readers to stand up, speak out, and keep officials accountable to the public they were elected to serve. Arranged in chronological order, starting with Thomas Paine and the American Revolution and ending with today’s “Parents Against Revenge for 9/11, “Fifty American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know” demonstrates how very patriotic it is to question dubious government policy. A fitting gift for progressives, activists, contrarians, those too young to remember – and most of all, the unaware who need to be shown what they’ve been missing.