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Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse Paperback – September 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schneider offers a riveting, yet sometimes frustrating account of Occupy Wall Street's first year in New York. After the foreword by Rebecca Solnit, the book takes readers from the meetings leading up to the occupation of Zuccoti "Liberty" Park on September 17, 2011, to the movement's progress across the country and around the world, up to it's first anniversary. Schneider (God in Proof) draws from first-hand reportage, social media, and other sources to depict the spirit, influences, conflicts, and criticisms of the movement. Choosing to describe the movement as an apocalypse will no doubt turn off some readers, but one of the strongest passages in the book addresses Schneider's faith, and the attempted occupation of property owned by Trinity Church. The tone varies between profoundly earnest and pragmatic, though clearly Schneider stands with the Occupiers. Some of his responses to the criticisms of the movement are less than convincing, but never become dismissive. Still, readers may get the sense that in order to invest in Schneider's passion or disappointments, you needed to have been there. (Sept.)


"A fast-moving cinematic chronicle."
(Jonah Raskin 2013-09-10)

"Schneider does a remarkable job of conveying the euphoric sense of possibility that transformed so many people in the square, as well as the frustrations that came after the New York City Police Department cleared out the occupation in the dead of night. . . . Political moments like Occupy crest and subside, and Occupy has subsided. Whatever happens next will be new, but it will inevitably build on Occupy. [Schneider's book and others] go a long way toward ensuring that the experience gained in Liberty Square is preserved and passed on."
(Nick Pinto Al Jazeera America 2013-09-17)

"Part history, part on-the-scene reporting, and part hope for a better future, the work is valuable and delightfully controversial."
(John Scott G. Publishers Newswire 2013-09-19)

"I consider this book one of the lasting benefits of Occupy."
(David Swanson 2013-09-25)

"Offers a series of dispatches cum mediations on the Occupy movement and moment. . . . Thank You, Anarchy occasionally verges on prose poetry."
(Matthew Wasserman Indypendent 2013-09-27)

"Schneider has quickly become one of the “best and the brightest”—to borrow a phrase from the 1960s—in a generation of intellectuals and activists who are reinventing the American radical tradition. In the under-thirty crowd, there’s probably no one with a deeper affinity for the Sixties than Schneider, and no one more eager to question the legacies of the Sixties than he—all of which makes his books and articles provocative and entertaining."
(Jonah Raskin 2013-10-17)

"Provides a unique insiders’ account of the original Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park in New York City, along with compelling data on the movement’s internal and external struggles, its ideological orientations, as well as its diffusion into other, related movements."
(Matt Sheedy Bulletin for the Study of Religion 2013-10-21)

"Schneider writes lyrically about the communitarian joy of being at Zuccotti Park, which for him was clearly a spiritual experience as much as a political one. . . . And the chief message of his book is that the true significance of Occupy lay not in its tangible effects on the outside world but in the process of Occupying itself."
(Adam Kirsch Barnes & Noble Review 2013-10-10)

"Thank You Anarchy, Notes From the Apocalypse is a new, brilliantly candid and detailed inside account of the Occupy Movement as it grew to natural prominence and then was displaced by brutal police action around the nation."
(Mark Karlin Truthout 2013-10-22)

"Some two years after Zuccotti Park was first liberated—and duly rechristened Liberty Square—much has been written about the movement that was born there. But few accounts have been as eloquent, as personal, or as nakedly honest as Thank You, Anarchy. It's a book about how collective common sense can change, and what that messy, maddening, beautiful process looks like. With an insider's zeal and an outsider's prudence, Schneider shows Occupy for the miraculous, apocalyptic experiment it was."
(Sam Ross-Brown Utne 2013-12-01)

"Schneider's panoptic reporting in Thank You, Anarchy brings to mind the work of George Orwell in Down and Out in Paris and London, the books of Robert Coles on his experiences as a psychiatrist in the South, and Norman Mailer's The Armies of the Night on the 1967 anti-war march in Washington."
(Colman McCarthy National Catholic Reporter 2013-11-13)

"This detailed account of the inception and growth of the Occupy movement touched me in a way I wasn’t at all expecting. . . . When Schneider’s interviewees were really starting to challenge my thinking, I appreciated that the not-so-objective reporter had held my hand through the first few chapters. Rather than hit the reader over the head with anarchism and a paradigm shift, Schneider eases into this thing called anarchy, activism and organization. And the movement made sense."
(Elizabeth Reavey America 2014-05-12)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520276809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520276802
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on August 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Thank You, Anarchy" by Nathan Schneider is an insightful short history on Occupy Wall Street including its legacy. Mr. Schneider is a journalist who became an active participant and chronicler of OWS from the early planning stages to the end. This excellent book will satisfy readers who are interested in thoughtful reflections by an authentic voice from within the movement.

Part One is Summer to Fall. Mr. Schneider chronicled the foundational stages of the movement, explaining why "small 'a' anarchy" is conducive to direct democracy. Mr. Schneider detailed the historic events of September 17, 2011 and the momentous days and weeks that followed. We learn about the people who made important contributions as OWS grew from an obscure local event to national prominence that successfully drew attention to the realities of corporate power, inequality and class struggle in 21st century America.

Part Two is Fall to Winter. Mr. Schneider writes about the sense of optimism that pervaded as the movement attracted hundreds of new participants and inspired other occupations across the country. Mr. Schneider shares OWS' general principles and declarations with us but explains that a conscious decision was made not to make specific demands on the system; confounding libertarians and socialists alike. As the OWS community organized teams to take care of the day-to-day running of the camp, Mr. Schneider imagined how an anarchist utopia of like-minded communities might come about. As police began to violently crack down on the encampments, the author reached out to religious institutions for their support and traveled to occupations on the west coast to better understand their specific struggles.

Part Three is Winter to Spring. Mr.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bernice McCann on August 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Another awesome book from Nathan Schneider, someone who has experienced and understands the ever present cloud of witness which continues to pervade our ordinary spaces as we continue expanding our growth through love as members of the human family. The Occupy movement sparked hope in a generation who refused to submit to the expectation that the status quo would continue to define the rules of a society which has become so disproportionately out of whack with the needs and desires of everyone not just those who have more.
Occupy catapulted a broader range of thinking about the major problems that plague mankind through group participation in expressing the collective good wishes for the betterment of human kind and transforming these ideas into mass action. His chronicle documents the hope and creativity which brought and continues to bring hope to the world. He captured the meaning of Occupy which is reverberating around our globe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chSunspirit on October 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A history from the center of the OCCUPY storm......with reflections on the process and the be generations to come....heck....RIGHT now for WE of the shortest of collective memories. Let's spread the word.....and don't let US that we can RISE again......
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Drew Hornbein on October 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Thank you, Anarchy is an amazing account of the activity and insanity around the 2011 occupation of a lower Manhattan park. I was there with Nathan in the early days as well as in the days and months after the occupation. Even though we shared many experiences it thrills me to see how another person took in the insanity of those days; his perspective is both accurate and personal. If you've been confused about what it was like to be there Nathan brings you as close as you could possibly get without actually being.

It takes quite a talented writer to express the joy and horror that was Occupy Wall Street. It is something that no one person could possibly understand or convey. The complexity and variation of people and ideas is well covered in this book. Like others have said, if you are going to read one book on OWS, this is the one.

Nathan was there in the beginning, when we were just a group of a 60 to 100 folks in a park with a crazy idea. This book is a treasure.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Why a subtitled "apocalypse"? It derives from "the lifting of a veil," so when a fresh revelation appears, it transforms the past as well as the present: then, there's no going back, only forward. Fresh from finishing a study of attempts to verify the divine presence, God in Proof, Nathan Schneider, jittery and curious, reports "notes" from the revelations emanating from Occupy Wall Street in the late summer of 2011. He investigates an energy more tangible than most theology: yet sharing the spirited, mass appeal of what may elude those less fervent.

Idealistic enough to cheer on the Occupy protests, realistic enough to catalogue their failures, Schneider brings the same alert witness and affable analysis that his book on belief featured. As with any cabal of devotees, Occupy began with commitment by a spellbound few. Zuccotti Park, rechristened by the encampment with its pre-corporate name as Liberty Square, "was a place especially conducive to those of us with obsessive tendencies, who like to be consumed in a given interest or project to the exclusion of all else. There, the god of ordinary life was dead, resurrected in the business of self-reliance."

Certainly, the lack of "one demand" from Occupy met with media mockery and bipartisan disdain. Yet Schneider insists that the flexibility supported not only the disparate concerns but the diverse membership of protesters. He suggests how an "anarchist utopia" in economic, environmental, educational, and egalitarian terms turns transparent and liberating on a global, "open-source" scale.

While this glimpse remains brief, it sketches what Occupy envisioned beyond borders, fences, or property. A problem persisted.
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