Books

REVIEW | 'Resistance: Reclaiming An American Tradition'

I.C. author takes aim at authoritarian D.C. policies

Iowa City author Jeff Biggers takes readers on a brisk trip through American history in “Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition.” Biggers positions contemporary resistance movements in America in the larger context of resistance efforts that have reshaped the country time and again — dating back to, and even before, the Revolutionary War.

Biggers makes no secret of the goad that drove him to write “Resistance.” In the first chapter, “Let Us Now Praise Resistance,” he writes: “Notably, the language of Trump’s America First narrative — with his emphasis on always being first, the best, the biggest, regardless of the facts — reflected (Thomas) Paine’s warning of ‘brutish’ leadership, which now took form in a new world of social media. Trump commanded the whiplash barrages of 140-280 characters on Twitter, casting aspersions, insults, threats, and misleading statements at all hours of the day and night, as if issued from a throne to a hall of sycophantic minions.”

Even if one rejects that characterization of the president’s policies and behavior, Biggers offers much to reflect upon as he traces the path of resistance movements through time. Many of the stops along the way will give pause to all but the most fervent of believers in American virtue. He lingers, for example, over George Washington’s near obsession with a runaway slave, a young woman he never stopped trying to recapture.

Throughout “Resistance,” Biggers connects historical moments with present day issues and actions. In the process, he reveals the dynamic, complicated nature of our shared history and the people and movements that have overcome — or still struggle against — injustice and prejudice in America.’

Book reading:

What: Jeff Biggers will read from “Resistance: Reclaiming an American Tradition

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City

Cost: Free

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