By: Thomas Paine
Penguin presents a series of six portable, accessible, and—above all—essential reads from American political history, selected by leading scholars. Series editor Richard Beeman, author of The Penguin Guide to the U.S. Constitution, draws together the great texts of American civic life to create a timely and informative mini-library of perennially vital issues. These slim volumes will serve as a powerful and illuminating resource for scholars, students, and civic-minded citizens.
Common Sense is the book that created the modern United States, as Paine’s incendiary call for Americans to revolt against British rule converted millions to the cause of independence and set out a vision of a just society. Published anonymously in 1776, six months before the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense was a radical and impassioned call for America to free itself and set up an independent republican government. Savagely attacking hereditary kingship and aristocratic institutions, Paine urged a new beginning for his adopted country in which personal freedom and social equality would be upheld and economic and cultural progress encouraged. His pamphlet was the first to speak directly to a mass audience—it went through fifty-six editions within a year of publication—and its assertive and often caustic style embodied the democratic spirit he advocated.
Published by: Penguin Books
The last years of the nineteenth century saw the birth of a new phenomenon: international terrorism. Bombings and assassinations shook the great cities of Europe and America, threatening social order. Fiendish networks of anarchist conspiritors were blamed and the public whipped into a frenzy of anxiety.
The reality was rather different. These dramatic events were only the most visible part of a longer, clandestine struggle waged between the forces of revolution and reaction, in which little was as it seemed. Alex Butterworth interweaves group biography, cultural history and meticulous detective work to create a revelatory account of the age. Both intimate and panoramic, it is a story with uncanny resonances for today.
Published in 2011.
How do we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news? What was rhetoric in the past and what should it be now? And what does Islamic State have in common with Donald Trump?
We’ve never had more information or more opportunity to debate the issues of the day. Yet the relationship between politicians, the media and the public is characterised by suspicion, mistrust and apathy. What has gone wrong?
Enough Said reveals how political, social and technological change has transformed our political landscape – and how we talk about the issues that affect us all. Political rhetoric has become stale and the mistrust of politicians has made voters flock to populists who promise authenticity, honesty and truth instead of spin, evasiveness and lies.
Featuring Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin, Tony Blair and George Osborne, Silvio Berlusconi and many more star performers, Enough Said shows how public language is losing its power, and how an ominous gap is opening between the governed and those who govern.
The result of decades of first-hand experience of politics and media, this is an essential, brilliant diagnosis of what we should stop doing and what we should start doing in order to reinvigorate Western democracy.
Published in 2017.
Awaiting New Stock
Is protest broken? Micah White, co-creator of Occupy Wall Street, thinks so. Movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to environmentalism are leaving activists frustrated. Meanwhile, recent years have witnessed the largest protests in human history. Yet these mass mobilizations no longer change society. Now activism is at a crossroads: innovation or irrelevance.
In this provocative playbook, White offers three bold, revolutionary scenarios for harnessing the creativity of people from across the political spectrum. He also shows how social movements are created and how they spread, how materialism limits contemporary activism, and why we must re-conceive protest in timelines of centuries, not days.
Rigorous, original and compelling, The End of Protest is an exhilarating vision of an all-encompassing revolution of revolution.
Published on 15 March 2016.