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A vivid history of the largest act of civil disobedience in US history, in Richard Nixon’s Washington They surged into Washington by the tens of thousands in the spring of 1971. Fiery radicals, flower children, and militant vets gathered for the most audacious act in a years-long movement to end America’s war in Vietnam: a blockade of the nation’s capital. And the White Ho A vivid history of the largest act of civil disobedience in US history, in Richard Nixon’s Washington They surged into Washington by the tens of thousands in the spring of 1971. Fiery radicals, flower children, and militant vets gathered for the most audacious act in a years-long movement to end America’s war in Vietnam: a blockade of the nation’s capital. And the White House, headed by an increasingly paranoid Richard Nixon, was determined to stop it.  Longtime Washington journalist Lawrence Roberts, drawing on dozens of interviews, unexplored public and private archives, and newfound White House transcripts, recreates these largely forgotten events through the eyes of dueling characters. Woven into the story too are now-familiar names including John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers. It began with a bombing inside the US Capitol—a still-unsolved case to which Roberts brings substantial new information. To prevent the Mayday Tribe’s guerrilla-style traffic blockade, the government mustered the army and marines. Riot squads swept through the city, arresting more than 12,000 people. As a young female public defender led a thrilling legal battle to free the detainees, Nixon and his men took their first steps down the road to the Watergate scandal and the implosion of the presidency. Mayday 1971 is the ultimately inspiring story of a season when our democracy faced grave danger, and survived. 


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A vivid history of the largest act of civil disobedience in US history, in Richard Nixon’s Washington They surged into Washington by the tens of thousands in the spring of 1971. Fiery radicals, flower children, and militant vets gathered for the most audacious act in a years-long movement to end America’s war in Vietnam: a blockade of the nation’s capital. And the White Ho A vivid history of the largest act of civil disobedience in US history, in Richard Nixon’s Washington They surged into Washington by the tens of thousands in the spring of 1971. Fiery radicals, flower children, and militant vets gathered for the most audacious act in a years-long movement to end America’s war in Vietnam: a blockade of the nation’s capital. And the White House, headed by an increasingly paranoid Richard Nixon, was determined to stop it.  Longtime Washington journalist Lawrence Roberts, drawing on dozens of interviews, unexplored public and private archives, and newfound White House transcripts, recreates these largely forgotten events through the eyes of dueling characters. Woven into the story too are now-familiar names including John Kerry, Jane Fonda, and Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers. It began with a bombing inside the US Capitol—a still-unsolved case to which Roberts brings substantial new information. To prevent the Mayday Tribe’s guerrilla-style traffic blockade, the government mustered the army and marines. Riot squads swept through the city, arresting more than 12,000 people. As a young female public defender led a thrilling legal battle to free the detainees, Nixon and his men took their first steps down the road to the Watergate scandal and the implosion of the presidency. Mayday 1971 is the ultimately inspiring story of a season when our democracy faced grave danger, and survived. 

30 review for Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America's Biggest Mass Arrest

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Saunders

    Lawrence Roberts' Mayday 1971 is a fascinating look at the last major protest against the Vietnam War: the "Spring Offensive" of May 1971, where a conglomerate of left wing groups tried to shut down Washington, DC. Roberts shows the antiwar movement, once relatively cohesive, breaking into factions that argued over tactics, ideology and personalities which inhibited their effectiveness: the New Left, the hippies and Yippies, Weatherman and other radical groups spent more time at each others' thr Lawrence Roberts' Mayday 1971 is a fascinating look at the last major protest against the Vietnam War: the "Spring Offensive" of May 1971, where a conglomerate of left wing groups tried to shut down Washington, DC. Roberts shows the antiwar movement, once relatively cohesive, breaking into factions that argued over tactics, ideology and personalities which inhibited their effectiveness: the New Left, the hippies and Yippies, Weatherman and other radical groups spent more time at each others' throats than fighting the system. Dissensions the government happily encouraged, as Roberts shows; both the police and FBI thoroughly infiltrated the protests which made it easier to disrupt and nullify them. Arrayed against them is Richard Nixon, who'd long since given up hope of winning the Left to his "peace with honor" platform and preferred snarling, repressive defiance; Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, who advocates throwing dissidents into concentration camps; J. Edgar Hoover, nearing the end of his life but as paranoid and repressive as ever; and DC police chief Jerry Wilson, a relatively liberal man nonetheless forced into an act of unparalleled repression. Roberts captures all this from a variety of perspectives: the protests, which ranged from the effective (John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, whose military service and disciplined front inspired respect even from opponents) to the silly (the Yippies, who by 1971 devolved into a band of professional trolls); Barbara Bowman, the progressive lawyer who scooted around Washington on a motorcycle, filing appeals for imprisoned activists; the White House, particularly the futile efforts of aides Egil Krogh (future director of the Plumbers) and John Dean to control and negotiate with the protesters; Hoover and Chief Wilson, whose indiscriminate round ups flood DC jails, makeshift camps and even RFK Stadium with hundreds of thousands of prisoners. The crackdown led to a backlash but also marked the last hurrah of the once-dominant antiwar movement; the war slowly winding down, and Leviathan's willingness to crush descent regardless, chilled the New Left into submission. Roberts captures it all in a lively, riotous collage of protest, repression and a deeply divided country.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Younkin

    In April 1971 when yippies, war veterans, feminists, and civil rights activists converged on Washington, DC, they had a unified goal of stopping the Vietnam War. Key protestor coalitions were involved in promoting the mass demonstrations that lasted over two weeks. Among them were the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, the Mayday Tribe (yippies), and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The agenda was to camp out in the open, stage rallies, and demonstrations. The protestors’ objective w In April 1971 when yippies, war veterans, feminists, and civil rights activists converged on Washington, DC, they had a unified goal of stopping the Vietnam War. Key protestor coalitions were involved in promoting the mass demonstrations that lasted over two weeks. Among them were the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice, the Mayday Tribe (yippies), and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The agenda was to camp out in the open, stage rallies, and demonstrations. The protestors’ objective was to bring the federal government to a grinding halt at the culmination of the weeks’ activities on May 3rd. They would accomplish this by the decentralized actions of mobile crews of people called affinity groups who would block main highways and roads leading into DC during morning rush hour. The plans were to abandon vehicles in traffic. Although they anticipated creating a massive disruption of people going to government jobs, their actions would have reverberations that would impact the legal system forever. The way that Nixon and his White House reacted was an omen of things to come. Lawrence Roberts has captured the mood and spirit of the Peace Movement in the late 60s and early 70s. His stories of many of the principal players in the drama that played out on the streets of Washington and in the White House is stirring and will leave readers incredulous. Roberts has personal insight also as he was one of the people swept up in the mass dragnet of arrests of those who simply looked like they could pose trouble. More than 12,000 people were arrested on that day. In writing this book, Roberts actually listened to Nixon tapes of conversations about the protestors with Henry Kissinger, national security chief and key figures in Watergate, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. He documented the account of Jerry Wilson, chief of Washington police who was in the no-win situation between the White House and the protestors. Wilson would turn out to be an unfortunate scapegoat for wholesale illegal arrests of thousands of demonstrators. On the protestors’ side, Roberts provides details of the activists, many of whom readers will recognize, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and members of the Weather Underground. Some of the names won’t be familiar like John O’Conner, a police informant in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War or Stew Albert and Judy Gumbo, central organizers of the Mayday demonstrations. These people, though, are key to the overall story. The author does an excellent job of helping the reader remember who is affiliated with what group listing the major players at the beginning and then referencing their roles when they are brought up again. I highly recommend this book to students of history or anyone interested in this tumultuous time which foreshadows the Watergate scandal. I have received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Piker7977

    Mayday 1971 is an excellent account of the mass protests and subsequent arrests in Washington D.C. during Nixon's third year in office. Roberts presents the story as a hinge moment in history. From these events would spawn changes in the law and order, judicial and policing processes, the reputation of the Washington D.C. Police Department, and, while not in a vacuum, the beginnings of the downfall of the Nixon Administration. This is enjoyably readable, and exciting at times, which covertly all Mayday 1971 is an excellent account of the mass protests and subsequent arrests in Washington D.C. during Nixon's third year in office. Roberts presents the story as a hinge moment in history. From these events would spawn changes in the law and order, judicial and policing processes, the reputation of the Washington D.C. Police Department, and, while not in a vacuum, the beginnings of the downfall of the Nixon Administration. This is enjoyably readable, and exciting at times, which covertly allows the reader to learn a thing or two about history, civics, law enforcement, and politics. For instance, have you ever been curious as to why a presidential administration would use the Department of Justice to satisfy its own insecurities and ego while abusing the civil liberties of the people who they viewed as adversaries? Are you curious about the tug of war involved in police procedural integrity and pressures from the federal government? Or perhaps you've wondered about what entities exist to serve the interests of innocents arrested for the wrong reasons? Look no further. This is the book to satisfy your curiosity. This is well-written history that reads like a long Rolling Stone article. Well worth the time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    David

    In the spring of 1971 and odd collection of members of the anti-war movement converged on Washington DC made up of political radicals, peaceniks, military veterans, and more to make their feelings known about America's participation in the Vietnam War; their intent was to clog city streets and bring all activity to a stop. Add to this mix a paranoid President Nixon who was determined to keep the streets open and activity normal. There are actually some parallels to the "protests" happening today In the spring of 1971 and odd collection of members of the anti-war movement converged on Washington DC made up of political radicals, peaceniks, military veterans, and more to make their feelings known about America's participation in the Vietnam War; their intent was to clog city streets and bring all activity to a stop. Add to this mix a paranoid President Nixon who was determined to keep the streets open and activity normal. There are actually some parallels to the "protests" happening today except today these have generally devolved into full blown riots with buildings on fire, looting, violence, and attacks on police. With the exception of bombings of government buildings and attacks on police by radicals of the Black Panthers and Weather Underground, things were generally peaceful. This was at least in part because of the massive arrests orchestrated by the White House using the army and marines and protesters who still cared about having a criminal record. In Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest by Lawrence Roberts, the author provides lots of insight into the participants on both sides. He uses information from interviews, archive materials, newly discovered White House transcripts along with details on many of the more familiar names of that time: John Kerry, Jane Fonda, Daniel Elsberg, etc to piece together an accurate account of what happened. And how did I remain mostly oblivious to all of this crisis-level history...Oh, that's right, I was in Japan in the United States Air Force fixing aircraft RADAR systems on planes flying in and out of Vietnam.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Kennedy

    I have wanted to five-star this book from the minute I started reading it! But I also wanted to take the book slowly, so I could follow the author along as he ties together all the iconic names and events of the 1960s and early 1970s, the tumultuous years of the reviled Vietnam war and beyond. Mayday was a massive planned offensive to shut down the government in the spring of 1971 by a colorful coalition of antiwar protestors, disillusioned Vietnam veterans, hippies, Yippies, flower children and I have wanted to five-star this book from the minute I started reading it! But I also wanted to take the book slowly, so I could follow the author along as he ties together all the iconic names and events of the 1960s and early 1970s, the tumultuous years of the reviled Vietnam war and beyond. Mayday was a massive planned offensive to shut down the government in the spring of 1971 by a colorful coalition of antiwar protestors, disillusioned Vietnam veterans, hippies, Yippies, flower children and budding feminists. Abbie Hoffman, Timothy Leary, Bernardine Dohrn, Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda, Muhammad Ali -- they're all in here! We follow the unfolding events through the eyes of not only the protesters, but the DC police and the Nixon administration. You get to know key figures like police chief Jerry Wilson and Nixon lawyer Bud Krogh. All the people you know from the leaking of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate scandal make their appearance -- Daniel Ellsberg, Haldeman and Ehrlichman, Chuck Colson, John Mitchell, the White House Plumbers, and so many more. We live again the chaos of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Kent State killings, the violent deaths of Weather Underground bombers in Greenwich Village. It all sounds achingly familiar, yet at the same time remote in memory. You'd think all of this information would be hard to keep straight, but Mr. Roberts does a fantastic job of introducing and reintroducing characters so that you don't lose the thread of his story. And even after the protest occurs (not until 230 pages into the book!), he doesn't let up. He delves into the Nixon administration's response to the protests and the long legal battles that followed. Mr. Roberts has done an incredible job of research. He spent hours listening to the Nixon tapes, submitted FOIA requests, trolled libraries, interviewed dozens of people and dug up personal accounts of the events. His knowledge of the event is so deep, you begin to wonder how he knows so much. Keep reading! He digs into events like a bombing of the U.S. Capitol building that has remained shrouded in mystery for decades. I've been researching the woman suffrage movement, and because of my own wanderings around DC, I was easily able to visualize so much of what Mr. Roberts describes. The suffragists were the first organized group of protestors to picket the White House. They were arrested on similarly ridiculous charges as the antiwar protesters -- for blocking the sidewalk, or climbing a statue or causing a public disturbance. When they went to jail, their prison conditions mirrored those of the 12,000 antiwar protesters arrested and held in crowded jails, outdoor pens and stadiums. Nixon considered starving his captive protesters to induce submission, but the suffragists willingly hunger struck! The history of American protest movements is an endlessly fascinating subject. Mr. Roberts's concluding thoughts could so easily be applied to the current fractious climate of our country. "In the harsh and hopeful times of the Sixties and early Seventies, when the flaws of American democracy threatened to overcome its promise, when national institutions shook to the breaking point, many people felt tempted to try to smash the state or pervert the Constitution," he writes. Yet, he goes on to say, the republic survived. Let's all hope we can say that again soon, no matter what dramatic changes are necessary to address the concerns of this generation.

  6. 4 out of 5

    James Hallmark

    This is a fascinating book. Published this year, it is a well written story of the largest mass arrest in American history, and the last large protest action leading to the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Very interesting, well researched, and well written. The story tells of how the protest came about, a bit of the societal and political environment of the time, and how it all played out. 12,614 U.S. citizens were arrested in this protest and the overwhelming majority of them (as in This is a fascinating book. Published this year, it is a well written story of the largest mass arrest in American history, and the last large protest action leading to the end of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Very interesting, well researched, and well written. The story tells of how the protest came about, a bit of the societal and political environment of the time, and how it all played out. 12,614 U.S. citizens were arrested in this protest and the overwhelming majority of them (as in, almost all) were arrested without cause and detained in holding pens for 24-36 hours (in most cases there were no charges). The police strategy was to arrest everyone in the vicinity of the protest before the protest occurred to prevent the protest from occurring. This led to a large number of arrests with no actual violation. It was an amazing story. So many court decisions came out of this that have led to prohibitions against arrests for free speech, detaining without cause, etc. Though published this year it was written before the BLM protests. Still, there were a number of parallels both in terms of the approach of the political leadership (Nixon/Trump), tactics of some police, the powerlessness of the protesters. It was very interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Barber

    This book is an excellent account of the largest demonstration against the war in Vietnam. It details the origin of the idea and the planning that resulted in the event. We meet many individuals that had been active in social protest for years, such as David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. We also are introduced to others who are not so well known but we key figures in the anti- war movement. The book details the efforts of the Nixon administration to stop the protest and This book is an excellent account of the largest demonstration against the war in Vietnam. It details the origin of the idea and the planning that resulted in the event. We meet many individuals that had been active in social protest for years, such as David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. We also are introduced to others who are not so well known but we key figures in the anti- war movement. The book details the efforts of the Nixon administration to stop the protest and punish the leaders. We see the early efforts of Nixon and his circle to infiltrate and discredit his opponents. Illegal wire taps and other dirty tricks that were used to stop the protest. The author draws a direct link of these efforts into the culmination of Watergate. The people in the government that helped plan the response to the protest that led to the arrest of over twelve thousand people. Some of those arrested were people who just happened to be in the area and weren’t involved in the protest. The author then relates the judicial trials that eventually exonerated all those arrested and led to monetary damages being awarded in many instances. The book brings to attention an event that is often overlooked and not well known.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim Savarin

    I can’t recommend this book more highly for anyone interested in the anti war movement, the history of civil disobedience in America, and the 60s counterculture. Having been there for the events described, the book brought back a flood of memories - the engrossing account of the Mayday protests and mass arrests is clearly well researched and sourced. All the names brought to life from a largely forgotten moment in our history - from Abbie Hoffman, Rennie Davis, Dave Dillinger, Daniel Ellsberg, t I can’t recommend this book more highly for anyone interested in the anti war movement, the history of civil disobedience in America, and the 60s counterculture. Having been there for the events described, the book brought back a flood of memories - the engrossing account of the Mayday protests and mass arrests is clearly well researched and sourced. All the names brought to life from a largely forgotten moment in our history - from Abbie Hoffman, Rennie Davis, Dave Dillinger, Daniel Ellsberg, to the political heavyweights from the Nixon White House, and many lesser local DC characters unknown to most Americans, woven together into a gripping narrative. I especially recommend this to younger people interested in history and unfamiliar with this strange and turbulent time. The timeliness of the book’s publication and the parallels with events happening right now is uncanny and unmistakable. A must read. I give it an enthusiastic 5 stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Visé

    This is a meticulously researched, expertly written history of the May Day protests of 1971, a spectacle that deserves to be at least as well-known as the Chicago "police riot" of three years earlier. The mass scale and whack-a-mole diffusion of the May Day demonstrations quickly overwhelmed police. But Nixon wanted the Washington streets clear, so officers arrested anything with a pulse and long hair: thousands of demonstrators who had broken no laws, along with busloads of random bystanders. N This is a meticulously researched, expertly written history of the May Day protests of 1971, a spectacle that deserves to be at least as well-known as the Chicago "police riot" of three years earlier. The mass scale and whack-a-mole diffusion of the May Day demonstrations quickly overwhelmed police. But Nixon wanted the Washington streets clear, so officers arrested anything with a pulse and long hair: thousands of demonstrators who had broken no laws, along with busloads of random bystanders. NPR was more or less born that day, and at one point Patrick Buchanan tried to run down some marchers in his car. Highly recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Rabin

    A wonderfully fast paced and well written book that explains one of the seminal events in the history of the protests against the War in Vietnam. The author has done a tremendous amount of research and makes that period come alive. He brings to life the central characters particularly Jerry Wilson (Washington Police Chief), David Dillinger, Stew Albert, Judy Gumbo, and others who set up the protest, and the White House and Justice Dept members including the President who tried to sabotage Mayday A wonderfully fast paced and well written book that explains one of the seminal events in the history of the protests against the War in Vietnam. The author has done a tremendous amount of research and makes that period come alive. He brings to life the central characters particularly Jerry Wilson (Washington Police Chief), David Dillinger, Stew Albert, Judy Gumbo, and others who set up the protest, and the White House and Justice Dept members including the President who tried to sabotage Mayday. . His extensive background writing helps the reader to understand the reason for Mayday and the logic behind it. All in all a great read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    What you weren’t taught. An in depth look at the Mayday protests with views from both sides. In detail step-by-step explanation of events as described by the protesters, the media, law enforcement, lawyers, the Nixon White House, and judges. #GoodreadsGiveaway

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Roberman

    Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America's Biggest Mass Arrest by Lawrence Roberts Many others have thoroughly explained what the book is about. What I will add is that history was always my worst subject in school, those many decades ago, but I know it would have been a different story if the material was written by Lawrence Roberts. This meticulously researched and detailed book nevertheless reads like a novel. I was in 11th grade when this a Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America's Biggest Mass Arrest by Lawrence Roberts Many others have thoroughly explained what the book is about. What I will add is that history was always my worst subject in school, those many decades ago, but I know it would have been a different story if the material was written by Lawrence Roberts. This meticulously researched and detailed book nevertheless reads like a novel. I was in 11th grade when this all took place, and was proud of myself then for joining anti-war rallies on Long Island, but never really new the background and details of what was going on. This book explained it all and was a total pleasure to read. Also, I normally do audio books for novels and hard copy for non-fiction, fearing that the details of non-fiction would go by too quickly for an audio book. But that wasn't the case. The audio reading was clear and I only stopped it once or twice to hear something again. I highly recommend this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elliot Stoller

    Excellent history of the anti-war movement in the spring of 1971 when 12,000 protestors were arrested trying to non-violently shut down the government. Good portraits of activists Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, Judy Gumbo, police chief Jerry Wilson and public defender Barbara Babcock. Shows us the corrupt, lying, criminal that Nixon was.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a must-read page-turner that brings to light a forgotten chapter of the Vietnam antiwar movement. It's loaded with fascinating characters on both the left and the right. Its timeliness as the current BLM protests spread across the U.S. is eerie and profound. The historical narrative reads like a novel. This is a must-read page-turner that brings to light a forgotten chapter of the Vietnam antiwar movement. It's loaded with fascinating characters on both the left and the right. Its timeliness as the current BLM protests spread across the U.S. is eerie and profound. The historical narrative reads like a novel.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt Rose

    A fascinating character study of the back room workings of a government in turmoil and those willing to cause “good trouble” to effect change in our country. Impeccably researched and writtem. I highly recommend Mayday 1971.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bob Weiss

    I first learned of Lawrence Roberts' work in his NY Times op-ed earlier in August 2020. It was in response to another Times op-ed, by John Dean, claiming that Nixon had never even suggested using military forces to quell "civil unrest or disorder". Roberts' response reminds us that Dean is dead wrong - and indeed was keenly aware and involved in what became the largest mass arrest in US history, and the largest use of federal troop against protesters. Mr. Roberts has first-hand knowledge of the e I first learned of Lawrence Roberts' work in his NY Times op-ed earlier in August 2020. It was in response to another Times op-ed, by John Dean, claiming that Nixon had never even suggested using military forces to quell "civil unrest or disorder". Roberts' response reminds us that Dean is dead wrong - and indeed was keenly aware and involved in what became the largest mass arrest in US history, and the largest use of federal troop against protesters. Mr. Roberts has first-hand knowledge of the events of Mayday, being one of those kidnapped (I use that term because no legal arrests were actually made) and detained. I also was one of those maced and thrown into buses while walking on a sidewalk - in my case and that of thousands of others, hauled to the practice field of the NFL team for hours, and teargassed by National Guard troops, before being transferred to the old Washington Coliseum and held for as many as 3 days. I was thus very interested in his account of those events. What I found was so much more. Roberts has written a lively, well-paced account of the events of that period of anti-war demonstrations that culminated in the unconstitutional actions of the Nixon administration. But even better he gives the context and human side of the growth of the movement against the Vietnam war, offering a deeper understanding of those times both to those who were there, and also to those unfamiliar with that key period in US history. Important "forgotten" history - and an important response to the revisionist history (shame on you, John Dean) polluting our understanding of real events.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Roberts was a student demonstrator like me (well, almost, I had graduated in 1970) who was sufficiently haunted (like me) by this epochal moment in the antiwar movement and American history that he wrote the definitive history almost fifty years later. Timing is good for me, as I'm writing about this era myself. Clearly a meticulous reporter, Roberts' tale reveals the inner workings of each of the major combatant groups -- the demonstrators (all factions, including Yippees, anti-war coalitions, Roberts was a student demonstrator like me (well, almost, I had graduated in 1970) who was sufficiently haunted (like me) by this epochal moment in the antiwar movement and American history that he wrote the definitive history almost fifty years later. Timing is good for me, as I'm writing about this era myself. Clearly a meticulous reporter, Roberts' tale reveals the inner workings of each of the major combatant groups -- the demonstrators (all factions, including Yippees, anti-war coalitions, veterans, etc.), the cops (especially DC chief Jerry Wilson), the Nixon Administration in all its evil glory, and various ancillary characters. Roberts does for Mayday what "All the Presidents Men" did for the Watergate affair, which happened just a few years later and which was, in Roberts' view, substantially triggered by Nixon's reaction to the impact of Mayday actions. As a participant with a very particularized experience of those times, I'm grateful for the full 360-degree treatment Roberts provides, though where his sympathies lie is never really in doubt. He is frank and possibly inaccurate that Mayday marked the end of the anti-war movement, but certainly in its ability to inspire large scale civil disobedience.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jody Forrester

    Excellent writing about an exceptional time in the country. Mr. Roberts leads the reader step by step towards the conflagration of May 1 with suspense and anticipation. I highly recommend this book, not only for those in my generation familiar with the times, but also to the current generation of activists interested in their political and cultural history.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Aloysius

    In spring of 1971, the antiwar movement launched it's largest protest yet in the streets of Washington DC in an attempt to shut down the government and stop the Vietnam war. The Nixon administration was prepared to do anything, civil liberties be damned, to stop them, and ordered the largest mass arrest in American history. What follows is detailed in this excellent book. In spring of 1971, the antiwar movement launched it's largest protest yet in the streets of Washington DC in an attempt to shut down the government and stop the Vietnam war. The Nixon administration was prepared to do anything, civil liberties be damned, to stop them, and ordered the largest mass arrest in American history. What follows is detailed in this excellent book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brad West

    This was a VERY special book to me...because I was there! At least for part of it. (more on my part later). In the spring of 1971, peace demonstrators and Vietnam veterans faced off against the Nixon administration and D.C. police. What started with the largest peaceful demonstration with an estimated 350,000 people on April 24th ended 10 days later with the illegal arrest of 12,000 people. The author really did his homework using documented events, interviews and even Nixon's tapes and tells th This was a VERY special book to me...because I was there! At least for part of it. (more on my part later). In the spring of 1971, peace demonstrators and Vietnam veterans faced off against the Nixon administration and D.C. police. What started with the largest peaceful demonstration with an estimated 350,000 people on April 24th ended 10 days later with the illegal arrest of 12,000 people. The author really did his homework using documented events, interviews and even Nixon's tapes and tells the story of all the major parties including the White Hose staff, agencies, police, the Weather Underground, the Chicago Seven and other peace organizations. Through the lenses of history he gives a very complete picture of a brief but critical time of great upheaval and disent in the country. I love history books but never ever did I think I might have such close participation. It made for an amazing read!!! As for my participation....one afternoon in early spring 1971 a friend asked did I want to hitchhike to D.C. to demonstrate. Seemed like a rational thing to do from upstate N.Y. With nothing more than a few bucks, a spring jacket and my Chemistry book (I had an exam the next week) we headed out. We made it rather easily as so many people were going. This was April 22! Three of us got a ride in a V.W. bug most of the way. On the morning of April 24th we joined the largest crowd I could have ever imagined at the Washington monument. The March down Pennsylvania Ave was already underway. We marched in a street filled with people. So many I never saw the front nor the end of the March. This was the peaceful demonstration of 350,00. So large I didn't hear Peter, Paul and Mary playing on the Capitol steps! We somehow managed to get home in time for my exam. The return an entirely different story.... I returned a second time with some friends who had a car. But I now believe that the events of the Mayday mass arrests were the previous week or by some miracle we just missed getting arrested.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I was on the fence about the quality of this well researched book almost all the way through. I realized it was mostly due to my own political biases. The book is well written. Although I was young when these events unfolded, I was aware of what was going on at the time. I regard the New Left and the Weather Underground very much the same as I view Black Lives Matter Movement and Antifa. There are even similarities between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. Indeed some of the "gurus" from the 60s a I was on the fence about the quality of this well researched book almost all the way through. I realized it was mostly due to my own political biases. The book is well written. Although I was young when these events unfolded, I was aware of what was going on at the time. I regard the New Left and the Weather Underground very much the same as I view Black Lives Matter Movement and Antifa. There are even similarities between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. Indeed some of the "gurus" from the 60s and 70s are present in the current movements. It is very interesting to see history repeat itself. The personages involved in suppressing the Mayday Movement are well documented. The ones on the left have are sometimes unnamed. In other cases they have come out telling stories today that put them in a less criminal light than the stories they originally told. Both stories should be exposed in the cold light of day. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the events of the early 1970s or in current events today. It should not be read as a polemic that glorifies the 'old' New Left. Instead it should be looked at from the standpoint of how government responds to grassroots protests and how disparate groups coalesce to push their points.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Mayday 1971 looks at a series of protests around the Vietnam war from a variety of groups. These include Veterans Against the Vietnam war, various peace groups, weather underground and others coming together with the idea to block key bridges and thorough fares to shut down the government. They would ultimately land 12K plus people held by the government in indiscriminate sweeps that led to the largest mass arrest in US history. The roots of the Watergate Scandal are seen here by the actors of t Mayday 1971 looks at a series of protests around the Vietnam war from a variety of groups. These include Veterans Against the Vietnam war, various peace groups, weather underground and others coming together with the idea to block key bridges and thorough fares to shut down the government. They would ultimately land 12K plus people held by the government in indiscriminate sweeps that led to the largest mass arrest in US history. The roots of the Watergate Scandal are seen here by the actors of the Mayday response on the government side and the familiar faces like Jane Fonda, John Kerry and Daniel Ellsberg (pentagon papers) are all present here showing you how they got their start). How these groups came together is a fascinating story and weaves together a diverse fabric of groups that would help convince the country to shift against the war. It also highlights the paranoia of the Nixon administration and what would put them on the path to Watergate. Very well written and an interesting topic for those interested in demonstrations history and protests against the Vietnam War.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steven L

    Well written and very well researched, although through the fog of 50 years, and despite the influence of various substances on Mayday, 1971, I remember some details differently.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sujin Stone

    Audiobook.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael Asen

    Not sure how this book would play with someone who didn't live through and participate in these protests. But if you did this book will be a flood of memories. Very well done. Not sure how this book would play with someone who didn't live through and participate in these protests. But if you did this book will be a flood of memories. Very well done.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    It took me forever to get started, but once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. A well-researched book on an historical event we all forgot.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Really enjoyed this, gave me insight into what was happening at the time, with lessons we could learn from today.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Travis Green

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maynard Handley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dave Price

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