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From 2010 to 2020, more people participated in protests than at any other point in human history. Yet we are not living in more just and democratic societies as a result. IF WE BURN is a stirring work of history built around a single, vital question: How did so many mass protests lead to the opposite of what they asked for?
From the so-called Arab Spring to Gezi Park in Turkey, from Ukraine’s Euromaidan to student rebellions in Chile and Hong Kong, acclaimed journalist Vincent Bevins provides a blow-by-blow account of street movements and their consequences, recounted in gripping detail. He draws on four years of research and hundreds of interviews conducted around the world, as well as his own strange experiences in Brazil, where a progressive-led protest explosion led to an extreme-right government that torched the Amazon.
Careful investigation reveals that conventional wisdom on revolutionary change is gravely misguided. In this groundbreaking study of an extraordinary chain of events, protesters and major actors look back on successes and defeats, offering urgent lessons for the future.
- “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 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, New Yorker
- “Ambitious, diligently researched, and provocative, If We Burn will transform the way you think. Vincent Bevins’ detailed, comparative reporting offers a riveting look at the contradictions, unexpected consequences, and lessons of mass protests.”—Alexa Hagerty, author of Still Life with Bones
- “I was not expecting this, but I think If We Burn is even better than The Jakarta Method.”—Benjamin Fogel, editor, Jacobin
- “This insightful study should prove valuable to future activists across the globe.” —Kirkus
- “A must-read for anyone trying to make sense of the profound global transformations since 2008. If We Burn brilliantly interweaves lived experiences and historical context to explain the confusing and effervescent years that changed not only Brazil, but the world as we know it. And the prose is delightful. I started reading and could not stop.”—Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, author of Amanhã Vai Ser Maior and The Rise of the Radical Right in the Global South
- “Bevins’s colorful reportage captures the élan of militants…and he’s also incisive in his critique….The result is an illuminating postmortem on a decade of false dawns.”—Publishers Weekly
- On Sale
- Oct 3, 2023
- Page Count
- 352 pages