A character-driven narrative history about the 19th-century radicals--from Fanny Wright and Henry David Thoreau to John Brown and William Lloyd Garrison--who demanded that the United States live up to its revolutionary ideals.
Jackson adeptly interweaves all these stories, connecting one radical thinker to another to show the sweep of progressive thought in the nineteenth century that continues to echo today. Abundantly detailing political movements and the characters who led them, this history appeals to a broad spectrum of readers.
... magnificent ... sweeping and briskly told ... This incisive and well-written overview of Americans who protested wrongs in their society deserves a wide readership. Many fine academic studies have covered the subjects here, but this account, written for a general audience, is authoritative and fast-paced and vividly portrays a crucial period.
... impressive and impassioned ... Jackson brings a well-studied understanding to her new book ... an ambitious and invaluable undertaking that makes an original contribution in its appreciation of the roles played by traditionally anonymous individuals in the making of history ... However, like all historical studies, somethings are missing ... Jackson doesn’t bring her compelling analysis up to the current era, especially the tumultuous 1960s.