GOOD Books: Recounting Riots

In the year of rioting, here are five books about 20th-century riots that brought about social change.

GOOD Books is a weekly round-up of what we're reading and what we wish we were reading.

This has been the year of riots, from the earliest days of the Arab Spring in mid-January to the events in London over the past week. But riots are hardly a 21st-century invention: people across the world have rioted throughout history when they conclude they can't get the government's attention any other way.

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Retweet to Rebuild: Social Media Helps Clean Up London Post-Riots

Don't blame social media for the London riots. Facebook and Twitter helped rioters organize, but they're helping support the cleanup effort as well.


"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media," said British Prime Minister David Cameron, referring to the riots in London that caused more than 200 million pounds in damages. Cameron said he's considering a selective ban on "using social media for violence," a suggestion some have called censorship, akin to cracking down on the telephone when people use it to discuss violent crimes.

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We're Next: Why American Riots May Not Be Far Behind London's

Almost 20 years after the Rodney King riots, America has yet to address the serious issues that led to them.

After the burning comes the thinking. In the wake of London's recent riots, which ultimately left five people dead and cost the British economy an estimated $650 million, politicians, sociologists, and average citizens are poring over charts and graphs and data sets in an effort to understand what went wrong. What could they have done to head off the carnage before it began? Even those of us living outside the U.K.—in America, perhaps—are wondering not how the Tottenham riots could have been prevented, but how to make sure similar outbreaks don't happen in our hometowns.

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People Are Awesome: Watch This Badass London Lady Stand Up to the Rioters

A wise woman in Hackney makes an impassioned plea for rationality in London. Let's hope people listen.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNmQBx2WyN0

While rioters continued burning buildings and looting in London tonight, one anonymous West Indian woman stood up the destructive masses and gave them a piece of her mind. This video, shot by Hackney resident Matthew Moore, is a bit NSFW, but we suggest putting in your earphones and giving a listen. The lady's wise righteousness is a thing of beauty, and a small glimmer of hope in the madness.

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