Protest Nation

Words That Inspired a Century of American Radicalism

From Eugene Debs to Paul Robeson, Angela Davis, and Harvey Milk—a compendium of words that spurred American radical thought and action, from the early twentieth century to the present

“This is an extraordinary collection of the voices of American dissidents. Even to browse through it is to be delighted and inspired.” —Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

America has recently reawakened to the idea that real change is possible. Yet this present moment is just a point on a journey that extends over a century of activism and struggle—one that has been kept alive by a powerful American tradition of inspiring radical alternatives to the status quo.

Protest Nation is a guide through the speeches, letters, broadsides, essays, and manifestos that form the backbone of this tradition—a much more accessible trade edition of The Radical Reader, which was published for the academy. Here are the words—from socialists, feminists, union organizers, civil rights workers, gay and lesbian activists, and environmentalists—that have served as beacons for millions. Their radical arguments and ideas are links in a chain reaching from the present back through decades of radical thinking and movement building.

Brief introductory essays by the editors provide a rich biographical and historical context for each selection included. Protest Nation presents the most significant and brilliant examples of radical writing, in a concise volume geared for anyone interested in reconnecting with the deep currents of American radical thinking. These range from a fiery speech by Eugene Debs, the great socialist orator; to the original Black Panther Party Platform; to Peter Singer’s astonishing treatise on animal liberation, among many others.


  • American Indian Movement
  • Black Panther Party
  • Rachel Carson
  • Cesar Chavez
  • Noam Chomsky
  • The Combahee River Collective Statement
  • Angela Davis
  • Eugene Debs
  • Betty Friedan
  • Marcus Garvey
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Emma Goldman
  • Abbie Hoffman
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Huey Long
  • Audre Lorde
  • Herbert Marcuse
  • Harvey Milk
  • Kate Millett
  • Robin Morgan
  • Paul Robeson
  • Jo Ann Robinson
  • Upton Sinclair
  • Students for a Democratic Society
  • Peter Singer
  • Carl Wittman
  • Malcolm X

Books by these authors

American Epidemic
Reporting from the Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis

John McMillian

The Radical Reader
A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition

Timothy Patrick McCarthy, John McMillian

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