I generally leave shopping tips to the experts, but I have to heartily recommend The Verso Book of Dissent for holiday giving.  Some of my best book purchases are done on impulse, and this is no exception.  

If you’re like me, heaven help you.  Ha! Kidding.  

Seriously, if you’re like me and are lacking in both knowledge of history and spare time for reading this is the book for you.  The book is full of small snippets of dissent from some famous and not-so famous voices in history from all over the globe.  In it you’ll find notable complaints from Abagail Adams and Tom Paine, Spartacus and John Muir.

I liked the book better for the quotes from those I’d never heard of. In 1891 one Mary Elizabeth Lease uttered:

“What you farmers need to do is raise less corn and more Hell.”

If that doesn’t get you in the mood for Christmas, what will?  

If I have one complaint it’s that over two-thirds of the text is devoted to rabble-rousers from the 20th century onward.  I’m sorry, but the Acme Collective (whoever they were) aren’t quite on the same level as Upton Sinclair.  I mean, I could be wrong, but ask again in 50 years who is who.  In spite of that the book does inspire. And isn’t that what we need in these darkening winter days?      

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Dave Coulter

I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...