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Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street [Kindle Edition]

Todd Gitlin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“[A] much needed book…a compelling portrait of the Occupy movement…that capture[s] the spirit of the people involved, the crisis that gave Occupy birth, and the possibility of genuine change it represents.”
—Eric Foner, author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

The Occupy Wall Street movement arose out of a widespread desire of ordinary Americans to change a political system in which the moneyed “1%” of the nation controls the workings of the government. In Occupy Nation, social historian Todd Gitlin—a former leader of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who stood at the forefront of the birth of the New Left and the student protests of the 1960s and ’70s—offers a unique overview of one of the most rapidly growing yet misunderstood social revolutions in modern history. Occupy Nation is a concise and incisive look at the Occupy movement at its pivotal moment, as it weighs its unexpected power and grapples with its future mission.

Editorial Reviews


“In this much needed book, Todd Gitlin, a veteran of the 1960s and an astute commentator on social movements offers a compelling portrait of the Occupy movement that captures the spirit of the people involved, the crisis that gave Occupy birth, and the possibility of genuine change it represents.” (Eric Foner, author of THE FIERY TRIAL: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery)

“Balancing lyrical wit and eloquent analysis, Gitlin captures the compelling story of OWS . . . and provides a gift of clear-headed, balanced thinking about [its] future.” (The Rumpus)

From the Back Cover

Occupy Wall Street is the most dynamic phenomenon in progressive politics in more than forty years. Its followers across the country transformed the national debate, galvanizing millions with its clarion call for economic justice: "We are the 99 percent." In Occupy Nation, bestselling social historian Todd Gitlin offers the first narrative survey of the movement—from its historic inspirations, to its inner tensions, to its prospects in the months and years to come. He offers a fascinating account of this remarkable phenomenon while casting an informed look at its continuing evolution—and how it needs to proceed to truly make an impact. Informed by Gitlin's own history in the 60s protest movement—but written with both eyes aimed at the future—Occupy Nation is the key book for anyone looking to understand the revolution playing out before our eyes.

Product Details

  • File Size: 558 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (May 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006VE1GBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,001 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Occupy this summer? May 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
May Day 2012 marked the beginning of the next political season. Last winter, the innovative phenomenon of Occupy was forcibly removed from public view by coordinated police actions across the country. With the warmer season, the question is whether Occupy will reappear, in what form and to what ends. In particular, how will it relate--or not--to the presidential campaign? For instance, will Obama be able to co-opt the anti-establishment movement to garner the disaffected youth vote that he may need to win, as he did last time.
On May Day, Todd Gitlin released his e-book, "Occupy Nation", to address these important and confusing questions. The book is a sound and thoughtful analysis of last year's Occupy Wall Street movement and of the complex of issues it faces if it is to reappear as an effective force. Gitlin has been a perceptive analyst of radical American politics for 50 years, since he helped to form the New Left in the early 1960s. It is from this deeply relevant perspective that he describes the innovative nature of Occupy, its roots, its spirit and its potential.
Respectful of the Occupy movement's right to continue to define itself, Gitlin refrains from proscribing to it, except to warn clearly about the temptations to detour from nonviolence--a major lesson of the 60s. In the end, Gitlin returns to the New Left mantra, the political is personal. The point is not to ask what Occupy should do now, but to question what I should do, what we should do, to make the coming season the beginning of a new beginning.
"Occupy Nation" is available from Amazon in Kindle format, which can be read on any computer from the Cloud Reader. It is a great read, full of insights and never bogs down. I read it carefully in about a day.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Todd Gitlin wrote an exceptional yet disturbing narrative about the Occupy Wall Street movement, which left me feeling disenchanted after reading it. Gitlin points out that the movement is literally leaderless and has no sense of direction. The way I ascertain it, the movement is trying to make a political statement that Wall Street and the Government are disenfranchising us (the 99%) but unfortunately it doesn't get involved politically, which in itself is paradoxical, leaving the movement virtually ineffective.

It is awe-inspiring that millions of Americans are willing to protest the 1% plutocracy that is economically terrorizing us, but now is the time for the movement to engage unions and to lobby congress. The movement has to embrace leadership. The bottom line is benevolent anarchy isn't a viable solution at this time. It will only result in the movement being ignored even further, or result in more vitriolic media attacks from the extreme right.

If the Occupy Wall Street movement is going to remain relevant it has to somehow infiltrate and assimilate itself into the Democratic Party in the same fashion the Heritage Foundation's fascist Tea Party movement usurped the Republican Party.

Furthermore, Occupy views unions, Move and politicians such as Elizabeth Warren (who support their positions) as enemies, demonstrating that the Occupy Movement are trying to be purist, which is a destructive stance to take. They need to learn how to maneuver through the system in the hopes of effecting change.

Gitlin also points out how local, state and federal governments are ignoring the Occupier's First Amendment rights to assemble and their right to a redress of grievances, while making comparisons to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam protests.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Occupy this review! May 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of Occupy books out there, and I haven't read any of them, so I have no idea how this compares to others. I will say I enjoyed this book and found it very informative. It's a little weird for me to read a book about something so recent, that's still happening. Usually books take much longer to get out, to me at least, and reading this as very of the moment was new for me. Not being part of the movement myself, I was a bit confused as to what's been going on and Occupy Nation provides a great foundation for understanding why it started and continues, as well as giving an inside look at how the movement functions, or doesn't, and the potential it has to change things, or not.

This isn't a romantic book, it very clearly defines, I think, the challenges the movement faces - both internal and external. Gitlin remains objective in portraying the movement. He clearly acknowledges the problems that exist that have motivated or inspired the Occupy movement, but reading the book I never got the impression that I was being preached to or anything like that. The focus stays on the movement: how it happened, why it happened, and where it might go, while providing a historical context for it and comparing it to other movements of the past.

My only criticisms are that the asides and explanations that break up a lot of the sentences tend to disrupt the flow and I found myself going back and rereading certain bits several times. Also, I bought the Kindle edition of this book (as it's only in ebook form right now), and I would have liked for there to have been in-text links to the notes at the end of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect condition!
The book was a great value and it arrived in great condition, even better than I expected it to be.
Published 12 months ago by Jacqueline
5.0 out of 5 stars The negative reviews here are off base; this is an excellent,...
The negative reviews here are off base, unsustainable judgments about the book from reviewers whose comments strongly suggest they either did not read the book, or are upset... Read more
Published 19 months ago by AmericanDreamer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Politics of Visibility
I was engaging in an on-line debate recently on the issue of gun control legislation. When I raised the issue of whether it might be possible to test would be gun owners to see if... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Aussiescribbler
4.0 out of 5 stars A valuable narrative on the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon.
This is a valuable book for anyone who is wondering if anything has or can be achieved through the movement.
Published 23 months ago by Philippa
1.0 out of 5 stars Essence of Gitlin
Let's see, now. "We are the 98%" Which means we encompass an income span extending from $0 to $250,000. Read more
Published on March 25, 2013 by NS
1.0 out of 5 stars Uncritical and Superficial
Another hopeful and optimistic examination of the Occupy Movement that fails to deliver on meaningful criticism and analysis of what occurred.
Published on December 19, 2012 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Very biased book....
This is one of the most biased books that I've ever read about a political "movement". The author did an incredible amount of cherry picking to illustrate his points, while he... Read more
Published on October 13, 2012 by Patriot Reader
Todd Gitlin is professor of journalism at Columbia University, and has also written books such as The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage, The Whole World Is Watching: Mass Media... Read more
Published on October 3, 2012 by Steven H Propp
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More About the Author

I've published fifteen books, including, most recently, Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street; The Chosen Peoples: America, Israel, and the Ordeals of Divine Election (with Liel Leibovitz); The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals; other titles include The Intellectuals and the Flag; Letters to a Young Activist; Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives; The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; Inside Prime Time; The Whole World Is Watching; Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (co-author); three novels, Undying, Sacrifice and The Murder of Albert Einstein; and a book of poetry, Busy Being Born. These books have been translated into Japanese, Korean, Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. I also edited Watching Television and Campfires of the Resistance.

I've contributed to many books and published widely in general periodicals (The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Boston Globe, Dissent, The New Republic, The Nation, Wilson Quarterly, Harper's, American Journalism Review, Columbia Journalism Review, New York Observer, The American Prospect, et al.), online magazines (,,,,, as well as scholarly journals. I'm on the editorial board of Dissent.

In 2000, Sacrifice won the Harold U. Ribalow Prize for books on Jewish themes. The Sixties and The Twilight of Common Dreams were Notable Books in the New York Times Book Review. Inside Prime Time received the nonfiction award of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association; The Sixties was a finalist for that award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

I hold degrees from Harvard University (B. A., mathematics), the University of Michigan (M. S., political science), and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph. D., sociology). I was the third president of Students for a Democratic Society, in 1963-64, and coordinator of the SDS Peace Research and Education Project in 1964-65, during which time he helped organize the first national demonstration against the Vietnam War and the first American demonstrations against corporate aid to the apartheid regime in South Africa. During 1968-69, I was an editor and writer for the San Francisco Express Times, and through 1970 wrote widely for the underground press. In 2003-06, I was a member of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA.

I'm a professor of journalism and sociology and chair of the Ph. D. program in Communications at Columbia University. Earlier, I was for sixteen years a professor of sociology and director of the mass communications program at the University of California, Berkeley, and then for seven years a professor of culture, journalism and sociology at New York University. During 1994-95, I held the chair in American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. I've been a resident at the Bellagio Study Center in Italy and the Djerassi Foundation in Woodside, California, a Bosch Fellow at the American Academy of Berlin, a fellow at the Media Studies Center in New York, and a visiting professor at Yale University, the University of Oslo, the University of Toronto, East China Normal University in Shanghai, the Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis in Tunisia, and the Université de Neuchatel in Switzerland.

I lecture frequently on culture and politics in the United States and abroad (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Russia, Greece, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, Switzerland). I've appeared on many National Public Radio programs including Fresh Air as well as PBS, ABC, CBS and CNN. I lives in New York City with my wife, Laurel Cook.

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