Survive & Resist by Amy L. Atchison & Shauna L. Shames

Survive and Resist - Shauna L. Shames, Michael Atchison

TITLE: Survive and Resist:  A Definitive Guide to Dustopian Politics


AUTHOR:  Amy L. Atchison & Shauna L. Shames






ISBN-13:  9780231188913


NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.




"Authoritarianism is on the march―and so is dystopian fiction. In the brave new twenty-first century, young-adult series like The Hunger Games and Divergent have become blockbusters; after Donald Trump’s election, two dystopian classics, 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, skyrocketed to the New York Times best-seller list. This should come as no surprise: dystopian fiction has a lot to say about the perils of terrible government in real life.

In Survive and Resist, Amy L. Atchison and Shauna L. Shames explore the ways in which dystopian narratives help explain how real-world politics work. They draw on classic and contemporary fiction, films, and TV shows―as well as their real-life counterparts―to offer funny and accessible explanations of key political concepts. Atchison and Shames demonstrate that dystopias both real and imagined help bring theories of governance, citizenship, and the state down to earth. They emphasize nonviolent resistance and change, exploring ways to challenge and overcome a dystopian-style government. Fictional examples, they argue, help give us the tools we need for individual survival and collective resistance. A clever look at the world through the lenses of pop culture, classic literature, and real-life events, Survive and Resist provides a timely and innovative approach to the fundamentals of politics for an era of creeping tyranny."




Survive & Resist is an interesting, easy-to-understand book that uses a selection of more popular dystopian fiction (film & novels) to explain and make sense of key political science concepts, such as the study of government, governance, state power, public policy, people's political behaviour, the role of economics, and social movements.  The author's use dystopian fiction to explain what good governance is supposed to look like and how to resist bad governance.  The book also includes a chapter on the strategies and tactics used by dictators to achieve and maintain their power; and chapters on how to survive or resist a dystopian state, as an individual and as a collective resistance group/movement, with an enphasis on non-violent resistance.  The author's also cover how to rebuild society after the collapse of a dystopian government.  The book provides food for thought, though I would not call this a definitive guide, and I found the historical case studies oversimplified the issues involved.  An informative book.