If you care about social change but hate feel-good platitudes, Do It Anyway is the book for you. Courtney Martin’s rich profiles of the new generation of activists dig deep, to ask the questions that really matter: How do you create a meaningful life? Can one person even begin to make a difference in our hugely complex, globalized world?
Martin (Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters) attempts to galvanize a new generation of activists, exhorting them to abandon puffy "save the world" rhetoric in favor of action. A passionate champion for social justice work of all stripes, she profiles eight activists who have managed to "soothe the critics and pessimists in their own heads and act," among them Rachel Corrie, the young American crushed to death under an Israeli bulldozer while protesting the demolition of Palestinian homes. While Martin's intentions are good and the individuals she writes about are compelling and complex, there's a lingering na vet and puzzling ahistoricism. She writes about the need for a new generation of activists without addressing what battles have been fought and how. Without an attention to the past, she cannot speak to the efficacy of certain tactics above others or how to tailor social justice work to be of maximum benefit to specific campaigns and communities. Nonetheless, Martin is successful in cheering on would-be activists to struggle and fail and struggle again. And while the book may raise more questions than it answers, it initiates a vital conversation at a time when the world and its challenges seem more intractable than ever. \n