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Read up on revolutions and uprisings at the CDPL


When in the course of human events it becomes irrefutable that the political bands which have connected one people must be dissolved in order to assume the equal stations to which the Laws of Nature entitle them … that, my friends, is the point at which revolution ignites. The organized rebellion of common folk against the tyrannical governmental rule is a regular feature on the ever-turning wheel of history. It seems humans can’t escape the cycle of “stable society, to masses exploited and oppressed, then revolt and rebellion. Does that make you feel a bit like a sentient hamster stuck running on an infinite nightmare wheel? We have many book suggestions on our “Viva la Revolución” display this month at the library that might help you shake things up.

“...To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”*

Ready to read about the revolutions that have brought you the contemporary nations you’re familiar with? Start with “1776” by David McCullough (973.3 McC) for a deeply readable recounting of the first American Revolution and learn about its French counterpart by picking up “Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution” by Simon Schama (944.04 Sch). Ready to read first-hand accounts of what drove citizens to revoke their consent to be governed? Try the fascinating and far-reaching “Voices of the French Revolution” by Richard Cobb (944.04 Cob), or for a more modern take on the topic, “Cairo: Memoir of a City Transformed” by Ahdaf Soueif (962.16 Sou).

“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government …”*

Curious to learn more about how revolts are organized and begin? Check out “This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt is Shaping the Twenty-First Century” by Mark Engler (303.61 Eng) or flip through Angela Davis’ powerful collection of essays in “Freedom is a Constant Struggle” (available as an ebook and audiobook on Libby and Hoopla). You might take comfort in reading the timeless wisdom left for us by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Why We Can’t Wait” (323.1196 Kin), or energize yourself with biographies of agitating role models like John Lewis (DVD 921 Lewis, J.) and Emma Goldman (335 Hsu).

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations … evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”*

If you’d rather turn to fiction for hope and guidance, there’s no shortage of titles reflecting on themes of rebellion and revolt. Did you know that classic author Sinclair Lewis wrote a dystopian novel about the rise of fascism? He did, and it’s terrifying! Check out “It Can’t Happen Here” (FIC Lew); it might be the perfect starting point for your reading. If you’d rather read fiction that reflects more of the contemporary social upheaval we’re witnessing, read the descriptions for the following titles to see if any match your current energy (I recommend you check content warnings beforehand): “The Power” by Naomi Alderman (FIC Ald), “Vox” by Christina Dalcher (FIC Dal), “Red Clocks” by Leni Zuman (LP FIC Zum), and “Women Talking” by Miriam Toews (FIC Toe).

We invite you to drop by and browse the display in person to see if there are any other useful titles that catch your eye -— and take some time to browse lighter fare while you’re here, too! You’ll be sure to have a truly wild summer if you pair your revolutionary studies with some of our Natural Tourism book recommendations.

CDPL offers a wealth of materials for all interests. Stop by the Reference desk if you’d like more information about our collection, or would like to research Local History items. The library is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. You may also reach us by phone at 765-362-2242 or send us an email to

* Quotes from the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.


Shelbi Hoover is a library/digital communications assistant at the Crawfordsville District Public Library.






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