Cover Image: If We Burn

If We Burn

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Member Reviews

Mr. Bevins was a journalist for the LA Times in Brazil and his book is a 10-year micro-history of the political turmoil in that nation and throughout the Middle East. Frankly after reading about many demonstrations that led nowhere his book because a most boring read. If you are interested in political demonstrations then this is the book for you, otherwise skip it for something better.

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“If We Burn” is journalist Vincent Bevin’s sophomore title that examines in detail the multiple protest movements that took place across the globe in the aftermath of 2008 and how they weren’t quite as revolutionary as they are portrayed. I particularly enjoyed the close analysis of the Brazilian protests, the Dilma Rousseff and Lula presidencies, and the rise of Brazilian right-wing populist-led extremism. The book also offers fascinating sociological profiles of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and US foreign policy.

What I liked best about the book, however, is that it non-condescendingly outlines both the wins and the losses of people coming together to organize a better standard of life. Bevins is not mocking of their hope about their aims and instead points out what may have been obstacles to the achievement of the protest goals: internal disunities and a lack of structural strength to prevent being dismantled from infiltration.

A fascination economic portrait of a book.

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One of my anticipated Fall 2023 books and it definitely lived up to the hype! If We Burn covers mass protests that happened between 2010 and 2020. It was fascinating to follow the origin and nature of those protests compared to what was reported in traditional media. I definitely recommend this for anyone who enjoyed The Jakarta Method.

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After reading The Jakarta Method, I had high expectations for Bevins. I'm pleased to report that he truly delivers with his second book If We Burn.

If We Burn is a sober analysis of the "Mass Protest Decade" 2010-2020 that relies heavily on research and first-person accounts from key organizers and participants. Just like in The Jakarta Method, Bevins places the stories of real people front and center which really grips the reader.

It was interesting to learn the true origin and nature of the explosive protests from 2010-2020 compared to the narrative that was created and reported by legacy/traditional media outlets. The portions on Ukraine are especially relevant to understanding the ongoing crisis in that country.

Bevin does a good job summarizing the common threadlines throughout the decade and offering a prescription for the future at the end

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It was much more scattershot than I thought it would be. I expected to hear more about crackdowns. I also expected it to be more America-centric.

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