Further Reading: Martial Law

further reading martial law

Further Reading is a new feature on The Booklist Reader, designed to provide readers’ advisory for today’s headlines.



Yesterday, President Trump announced that he’ll “send in the Feds” if Chicago’s crime rate doesn’t drop. Luckily, we here in Chicago have plenty of historical precedent to guide us if this comes to pass. The following history books, linked to their Booklist reviews when possible, take a look at American cities under martial law.


crack in the edge of the world simon winchesterA Crack in the Edge of the World, by Simon Winchester

After the Great Earthquake of 1906, San Francisco was put under martial law due, in part, to the geological and spiritual horrors spurred by that catastrophic event.




encyclopedia war of 1812'The Encyclopedia of the War of 1812: A Political, Social, and Military History, edited by Spencer C. Tucker

During the Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson put the city and its environs under martial law and did not lift it even after his troops’ decisive victory.




freedom riders raymond arsenaultFreedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement, by Ann Bausum

In 1961, Governor John Patterson reluctantly sent in the Alabama National Guard to disperse an angry mob of white supremacists attacking the civil rights activists set on desegregation.




killing for coal thomas andrewsKilling for Coal, by Thomas G. Andrews

In 1914, in what became known as the Ludlow Massacre, the Colorado National Guard attacked over a thousand striking coal miners, killing two dozen.




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About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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