MAYDAY 1971 now available in paperback

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––A GUEST ESSAY by the author, in the New York Times: “Who Was Behind the Largest Mass Arrest in U.S. History?

––A PODCAST by Mother Jones: “Unhinged President Declares War on Protesters. (No, Not Trump)

––A TV CLIP from CSPAN’s Q&A show:


May 3, 2024: Roberts speaks to students and faculty at Kent State University, discussing the events in his book as part of the annual campus commemoration of the May 1970 killings of four students by National Guardsmen.

August 28, 2023: In the scholarly journal Peace & Change, reviewer Ian Christophe Fletcher calls Mayday 1971 “a page-turning narrative and a convincing argument about Mayday’s historical significance.” He deems it “a contribution to the critical understanding of the history of the present as well as the past… Studying and discussing this history, and continuing to research and teach it, is vital for democracy.”

December 2, 2021: In the UK’s Peace News, reviewer Ian Sinclair writes that Mayday 1971 is “a real tour de force… an absolutely riveting account of all the action… there is plenty to interest peace activists working today.”

July 4, 2021: The New York Times Book Review, discussing recent books on Richard Nixon, deems Mayday 1971 “a deeply researched narrative of Nixon’s mass arrest of the thousands of protesters who flooded the capital in the darkest days of the Vietnam War.”

May-June 2021: The window gallery of the downtown D.C. public library exhibited 22 images of the events of Mayday 1971 to mark the 50th anniversary. Details here.

May 3, 2021: Jacobin magazine marks the anniversary of the events in the book: “The Nixon administration’s response, Roberts writes in Mayday 1971, led to ‘consequential changes to American law and politics, including the rules governing protests in the nation’s capital, which remain in force today.’ ”

May 3, 2021: “Mayday 1971: A Conversation with Lawrence Roberts” through the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington.

May 3, 2021: The Georgetowner newspaper writes that Mayday 1971 is “rich in details about the largest act of civil disobedience in U.S. history.”

May 2, 2021: The author appeared on C-SPAN’s American History TV and Washington Journal to answer viewer questions on the 50th anniversary of the Mayday protests.

April 29, 2021: Panelist for “Mayday 1971: What it meant, then and now,” a project of the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee.

April 27, 2021: Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch writes about “The Protest That Changed America,” recommending Roberts’ “deeply researched” book.

April 10, 2021: Roberts joins a panel on “1970-1971: Nixon, Discord, and the U.S. Withdrawal from Vietnam,” at a virtual conference by the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University.

February 28, 2021: “When the Left Attacked the Capitol,” published in Politico Magazine. Fifty years after the Weather Underground bombed the U.S. Capitol, how does “Stop the Steal” compare with “Stop the War”?

February 3, 2021: Roberts’s opinion piece in the Washington Post: We can’t let one anarchic mob lead us to forever fence-off the U.S. Capitol from dissenters.

January 31, 2021: Susan Swain of C-SPAN’s Q&A show interviews the author. (Please support C-SPAN by purchasing Mayday 1971 at this link.)

December 9, 2020: In Athens, Georgia, Flagpole magazine recommends Mayday 1971 as a holiday gift for history lovers: “This compelling volume shows that the political clashes during the early 1970s are still relevant today in the waning weeks of the Trump administration as another unscrupulous president exhibits Nixonian contempt for the ‘law and order’ that he claims to support.”

October 28, 2020: In their Book Bytes series on YouTube, the folks at the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers, Wisconsin (birthplace of the ice cream sundae!) review Mayday 1971: “An excellent nonfiction read. Beginning with the bombing of the U.S. Senate, journalist Roberts brings to life Nixon’s Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1971… A vivid history of a passionate protest, told by someone who was actually there.”

October 19, 2020: In the special fall issue of Washington History, the journal of the D.C. historical society, Roberts writes on President Nixon’s use of military force against the Vietnam antiwar movement, an action echoed by President Trump against Black Lives Matter.

October 1, 2020: In the Washington Post, John Kelly writes that Mayday 1971 is “fascinating.. a sweeping account of the protests, told from multiple points of view, from the counterculture figures who planned the protests to the law enforcement and Justice Department leaders who tried to deal with them, from the hippies who took part to the public defenders who had to deal with the legal aftermath. It’s impossible to read Mayday 1971 without thinking of our own recent summer of unrest — and the autumn of discontent we face.”

September 24, 2020: Powell’s City of Books in Portland hosts Roberts in conversation about Mayday 1971, with Barry Johnson of Oregon ArtsWatch: “There were heroes, but not everything they did was heroic. There were villains, but not everything they did was wrong. And of course there was some sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.”

September 17, 2020: “Every so often, when the republic seems to be racing headlong down the wrong track, a simmering social movement flares into a phenomenon.” Essay by Roberts about David Dellinger and civil disobedience in Wesleyan magazine.

September 10, 2020: In the New York Journal of Books, reviewer Mark I. Pinsky writes, “Roberts shows that Nixon and others in the White House were even more cynical in handling the arrests and the aftermath than the demonstrators imagined.”

August 31, 2020: An interview with Roberts on “Get Up,” with Michael Causey, WOWD-FM in Maryland: “This was all happening when Nixon was hoping to use ‘law and order’ again as a wedge in his re-election campaign.”

August 30, 2020: Roberts discusses Mayday 1971 with Riley Callahan of the History Does You podcast in Denver: “Nixon was very good at stirring up fears. What we don’t know yet is whether voters today are going to be as easily swayed.”

August 26, 2020: Roberts is interviewed about Mayday 1971 by David Stewart of the Boston magazine, The Arts Fuse: “One lesson is that when a country feels like it’s really gone off on the wrong track, a social movement that finds a way to express that dissent in the streets can really make a difference.”

August 13, 2020: “In Mayday 1971, author Lawrence Roberts…relates the shameful story of what happened that year like a mystery writer,” Paul D. Pearlstein writes in the Washington Independent Review of Books.

August 6, 2020: In the New York Times: “Who Was Behind the Largest Mass Arrest in U.S. History?”

August 6, 2020: On History News Network: “Nixon Did Call the Military on Protesters. He Just Covered it Up.”

August 5, 2020: New Mother Jones podcast on Mayday 1971, “An Unhinged President Declares War on Protesters. No, not Trump.”

July 31, 2020: Roberts joined the conversation on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio in Albany with Joe Donahue: “The people who wrote the Constitution made it quite clear that dissent would be a major feature of American politics.”

July 30, 2020: An excerpt from Mayday 1971 is published by Literary Hub: “Endless War, Social Upheaval and a White House Unleashing Violence on Protestors.”

July 30, 2020: Reviewing Mayday 1971 in the Christian Science Monitor, Terry W. Hartle calls the book “a coherent, fast moving, and fascinating story.”

July 30, 2020: The author appeared on “The Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC radio: “The movement against the Vietnam War was one of the great social movements in American history, but has faded in memory… its history deserves to be told.”

July 29, 2020: An excerpt from Mayday 1971 is published by Mother Jones: “An embattled president. A mass movement. A military used against citizens. We’ve been here before.”

July 22, 2020: In the Wall Street Journal, reviewer Frank Gannon writes, “Award-winning investigative reporter Lawrence Roberts tells the story superbly from start to finish… With a talent for research and an eye for colorful detail, Mr. Roberts presents a lot of new and overlooked material… Mayday has been paid less attention than other protests of the period, and its significance overlooked. Mr. Roberts’ first-rate book redresses that imbalance.”

June 29, 2020: Mayday 1971 is a “deeply researched” and a “sterling…well-written” account of what may well be the Vietnam era’s most significant season of protest, says reviewer Marc Leepson, writing in the VVA Veteran, magazine of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

May 18, 2020: Roberts’ op-ed in the New York Times: “Forty Years Later, Lessons for the Pandemic From Mount St. Helens.”

April 29, 2020: Historian Ron Jacobs reviews Mayday 1971 in CounterPunch magazine, calling it “stirring” and “a masterful chronicle of this particular historical moment… Such a book has been a long time coming.”

April 7, 2020: Library Journal names Mayday 1971 one of 2020’s “most anticipated debut books.”

February 11, 2020: Booklist calls Mayday 1971 “compelling” and “dramatic.”

January 29, 2020: Library Journal says Mayday 1971 “conveys the personal and political impact of a pivotal event in American history in a narrative that will engage readers of the time period and resonate with today’s social justice activists.”

January 10, 2020: Publishers Weekly reviews Mayday 1971, calling it a “vivid and deeply sourced” story that “convincingly argues that the White House’s authoritarian attitudes and actions foreshadowed the Watergate scandal.”

December 26, 2019: Kirkus Reviews calls Mayday 1971 “a tense, brisk narrative… sharply drawn portraits… a vivid history of passionate protest.”


Please check back for updates and additions

May 3, 2021: 7 p.m. ET
Anniversary virtual event: “Mayday 1971: A Conversation with Lawrence Roberts”
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
Washington, D.C.
Watch the video

May 2, 2021: 9 a.m. ET
“Mayday 1971” Call-In Show
C-SPAN American History TV and Washington Journal
Watch the show

April 29, 2021: 7 p.m. ET
Panelist: “Mayday 1971: What it meant, then and now”
Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee
Watch the video

April 10, 2021: 8:30 a.m. CT
Conference panelist: “1970-1971: Nixon, Discord, and the US Withdrawal from Vietnam”
Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas
Watch the video

January 31, 2021: 8 p.m. ET
Susan Swain interviews the author on C-SPAN‘s Q&A.
Watch the video or listen to the podcast


September 24:  5 p.m. PT
Author Virtual Event
In conversation with Barry Johnson, executive editor, Oregon ArtsWatch
Powell’s City of Books
Portland, Oregon
Watch the Video

August 31: 9 a.m.
Radio interview, “Get Up!” with Michael Causey
WOWD 94.3 FM
Takoma Park, MD
Listen to the Recording

August 11:  7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Online Author Talk
Alexandria Library, Virginia
Watch the Video

August 4: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Online Author Salon
Howard County Library, Maryland
Watch the Video

July 31: 11:30 a.m.
Radio interview, “The Roundtable” with Joe Donahue
WAMC/Northeast Public Radio
Albany, N.Y.
Listen to the Recording

July 30: 11 a.m.
Radio interview, The Brian Lehrer Show
WNYC/New York Public Radio
New York City
Listen to the Recording

Originally scheduled events postponed or canceled due to the pandemic

May 3, 2020: 3 p.m.
Politics & Prose,
5015 Connecticut Avenue NW,
Washington, D.C.

May 16, 2020:
Gaithersburg Book Festival,
Gaithersburg, Maryland

June 6-7, 2020:
Opening weekend of new Barnes & Noble at Congressional Plaza
Rockville, Maryland

July 9, 2020: 7 p.m.
Tattered Cover Book Store,
1628 16th Street Mall,
Denver, Colorado