Book Summary / Review
Death in the Haymarket
When the nation is gripped by fear, the justice system is invaded by prejudice. Anarchists who were bomb-throwers were feared in America during 1880s since their movement was bent on destroying capitalism (Green 23). A strong contingent of protesters paraded Michigan Avenue and led to a series of different responses in the rallies that orchestrated the beginning of different ranks among the workers (Green 23). The nation confirmed its fears in the anarchist’s behavior that eventually led to a bomb explosion and subsequent death to police officers and workers (Green 31). A call for retribution was made, and this is indicated by Green’s swift depiction in the book to signify America’s initial red scare. Eight of the most notorious anarchists were later arrested with four being hanged and a fifth committing suicide (Green 32). It thus set the tone for a historical event that examines labor forces, tensions, mass media’s role in delivering national excitement and making a part of the middle class more radical.
The author’s subject fascination makes the book deliver its strength with a chronological recount to offer an unsuited complication of a story spanning more than twenty years. The book contains a strong narrative supported with a disciplined willingness to deliver relevance for the reader’s comprehension. He compiles a collection of memoirs, publications of newspapers, as well as other secondary sources to help in articulating the story based on a historical series of events.
The author also uses a laidback approach in the development of the story as evidenced from the tone and setting he provides throughout the book. He stays in the background and uses the rare synthesis provision to avail his voice especially when pacing or interpreting through the plot and its intended message (Green 44). The author is also akin to using a neutral tone throughout the book when it comes to the theme being talked about all along. Thus, targeting the anarchists provides for the basis of the whole story, and it is where the focus of Green is placed. On the other hand, he does not portray the same tone when it comes to other parties like the police, the individuals who were responsible for capitalism, the legal and procedural parties, the people seeking amnesty for the intended prisoners, the middle class, the governor as well as the media. Green (45), for instance, mentions that the police used force and killed people who do not adhere to requirements.
The book is also well developed in terms of the chronology of events from the beginning, providing the reader an ample time to follow through the plot development. Green takes time on making sure that the Red scare is well deliberated and even out (Green 48). The author is also circumspect of America’s new fortunes as well as the impoverishment for the individuals who were concerned with labor apart from the setting of Chicago (Green 49). The author is indeed very calculative in the reference point that it deserves to make sure that the reader is aware of all the background effects that led to culmination of the protests as well as the anarchist’s basing of atrocities.
The book is definitely not centralized on a particular target of readers. It is open to all historical enthusiasts who view it as an opportunity to relate the tensions of labor, injustice, middle class effect, terrorism, and the eventual handling made by the police and legal counterparts. It serves as an informative book for deliberating the radicalization process that the country underwent and thereby prepares a mental understanding of ways to deal with dissidents in the society.
Readers may describe the author’s purpose to be enlightening about the need to create equality in the labor force to avoid wrangles that may derail an organization’s output. Green narrates the 1886 series of unrest in Chicago to inform readers about the dangers of failing to address the issues workers face in their respective places of duty. The persons in control of workers’ affairs in the different areas of work should borrow a lesson from this book to know the features that need to be in place to prevent wrangles that may disrupt normal operations.
The book portrays some strong and weak features that serve significant roles in determining the publication’s value. The first element that makes the book more effective is that it addresses the major issues with in-depth explanation which makes it easy for readers to get a clear presentation of the author’s purpose. The second feature that makes the publication more reliable is that Green uses subtitles to inform readers about the transitions that are important in knowing the book’s flow. Readers would have to make their own judgment concerning the shifts the author makes if it were not for the subtitles that issue guidance all through. The book, on the other hand, displays some weak features that readers should take into consideration to come up with the right value of what they read. One of the chief weaknesses in the book is that the author does not employ numerous graphical presentations to summarize some of the major points that would be easier to remember through the use of images, charts, and tables. Otherwise, the book is still of value to learners and investigators who may want to understand capitalism in the U.S. in the 1880s.
The President’s Year of Crisis
When understanding the events in Egypt as well as the rest of the Middle East in the present day, it is critical to know of the 1956 Suez crisis. Then, President Gamal Abdel Nasser governed the country, and the Suez Canal was nationalized during his presidency (Nichols 26). At the time, almost two thirds of oil to Europe passed through it. According to a secret pact by UK, France, and Israel, there was to be an attack on the canal that would eventually lead to its seizure (Nichols 30). The US president of that time, Dwight Eisenhower, had been deceived by his allies that there would be no conflict arising from the proceeds (Nichols 31). After the attack, Eisenhower demanded the withdrawal of French and British control as the Soviets threatened to intervene and help Egypt (Nichols 32). If the Soviet Union had indeed pursued its quest, the standoff between it and the US, especially with helping its allies would have amounted to a great nuclear war. It was also not helped at the time with the president’s ill health while the Soviets had also decided to clear the Hungarian Revolution in the same year. Egypt’s patronizing treatment by the West angered the Arabs.
Using the context of the above events, historian David A. Nichols provides an excellent rendition of all the intricate details that surrounded the handling of the Suez crisis. He takes time to deliberate on the complex matters that surrounded the canal’s importance to all parties that were involved especially with the initial economic significance that it placed to Europe’s oil (Nichols 56). The author is articulate in the manner he represents all issues that led to the president’s role in quelling the would-be all-out nuclear war (Nichols 56). For example, he decides to deliver on the leadership style and character that Eisenhower was renowned and reappraised of all the time. He also checks the facts on the influence that his image presented, the gold obsession, and correspondence that he brought to his tenure as well as nature (Nichols 57). It characterizes the typical complexities that would feature in his approach to the issue especially when dealing with allied nations in the form of Britain and France. The in-depth knowledge follows the author’s investigation into the diary and wealth of information that he used to develop the book.
The author uses a neutral tone in describing and attributing all the parties involved, more specifically to President Eisenhower who was central to averting the crisis and eventualities of war. He is critical of the administration’s powers and position to the effect, and the author makes sure that the reader is aware of it from the beginning. He is thorough and journalistic in the plot development so as to equip the reader with all necessary details when understanding the seriousness of the crisis. He also presents a less argumentative kind of historical relevance to the issue and instead prefers to make the reader have an informed aspect of the developments that took place. He also uses a revisionist form of historical presentation to deliver an unbiased and relevant side to the issue that threatened to create a nuclear war that would have dire consequences to all countries involved and humanity at large (Nichols 59). The book then gives a refreshing and enlightening delivery to the whole issue, which is critical in making sure that the reader appreciates the author’s efforts throughout.
The readers of the book would realize some strong and weak elements that serve a critical purpose in describing the book’s value. One of the strong features in the publication is that the author uses a simple language that is easy for readers to understand. The author understand that using a complex diction would bar some readers from understanding the major points in the publication and puts effort to avoid terminologies or descriptions that may make it difficult for readers at a lower stage to see the value of using the book for their academic purposes. The second strong feature in the book is that the author utilizes the support of other scholars’ findings to back up the major points. The use of other writers’ works minimizes the doubt readers would have when reading some information that is new to them. The book, however, is disadvantageous in the fact that the author employs long paragraphs to bring out his ideas. The use of long paragraphs makes it difficult for some readers to get a clear presentation of what the author tries to inform readers even though he uses simple diction.
Finally, it is important to mention that the book would be of significance to a wide range of users. First, the publication would be of importance to learners who desire to understand how the Suez Canal came into being and the factors that influenced its existence. The learners would understand the influence the Europeans and the Americans had on the establishment of the critical infrastructure, and would also understand the complications that developed during the construction. The book would also benefit historical researchers who have the desire to understand or enlighten about the influence Eisenhower and the U.S. had on the canal in the northern part of Africa.
Green, James R. Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America. Anchor Books, 2007.
Nichols, David A. Eisenhower 1956: The President’s Year of Crisis: Suez and the Brink of War. Simon & Schuster, 2012.
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