rusq: Vol. 51 Issue 1: p. 81
Sources: Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American History: An Encyclopedia
Joseph A. Hurley

Joseph A. Hurley, Data Services Librarian, Georgia State University Library, Atlanta, Georgia

Rich with a multifarious collection of groups and individuals demanding social, political, economic and religious rights of various forms, American history is studded with frequent protest movements and demonstrations. Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations, and Rebellions in American History, a three volume reference set edited by Steven L. Danver, recounts the many significant acts of protest and rebellion from the colonial period up to the early 2000s. Written for a high school and undergraduate audience, Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations and Rebellions contains 71 topics, each with an introductory section and additional essays that further expand upon subsections of the topic. In addition, each essay includes a further reading lists and many topic sections also contain primary source documents.

Organized chronologically, this highly accessible work is well suited for high school and undergraduate students seeking to become familiar with a rebellion, revolt or demonstration. A major strength of this encyclopedia rests with the organization of each topic section. An introductory essay places each protest or revolt within the broader scope of American history, while separate shorter essays define and describe more specific events, people, groups and movements. For example, the “Homestead Strike (1892—1893)” section contains an essay on the strike itself and supplementary short entries on the union that initiated the strike, Carnegie Steel, lockouts, the Pinkertons, and yellow-dog contracts, with each entry containing a list of further readings. In addition to these shorter essays, the “Homestead Strike” section also includes excerpts from primary source documents associated with the strike. While some topic sections in Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations and Rebellions are more in-depth than others, all explain the causes, significance and general outcome of each protest or demonstration in a concise and well organized layout with many containing primary source excerpts.

Danver’s encyclopedia stands out among the many reference works focused on American social history. While works such as Immanuel Ness’s Encyclopedia of American Social Movements (Sharpe Reference, 2004) and Gina Renée Misiroglu’s American Countercultures (Sharpe Reference, 2009) address some similar themes, Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations and Rebellions is markedly different as it focuses solely on groups and individuals who, through collective action, acted out in the form of protests and/or rebellions. The subjects included in this set span the political, religious and socioeconomic spectrum. Therefore, Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations and Rebellions is not a reference work that chronicles only groups or individuals seeking social justice. Instead, this work includes protest and revolts that sought to expand freedoms, as well as, the “dark side” of protests that sought to restrict freedoms and intimidate minority groups.

Revolts, Protests, Demonstrations and Rebellions achieves its goal as a reference work intended for high school and undergraduate students. This unique encyclopedia, with its well thought-out organization, is a welcome addition to the large body of American social history encyclopedias. It is recommended for high schools, medium to large-size public libraries and academic libraries.

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