“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’s first-rate book redresses that imbalance.”
–Wall Street Journal
"A coherent, fast moving, and fascinating story."
–Christian Science Monitor
"Perceptive, thoroughly researched . . . Roberts creates a tense, brisk narrative . . . [and] offers sharply drawn portraits of key White House personnel and of many protestors . . . A vivid history of passionate protest."
“A brilliant investigation of the tense days when war, democracy and law collided on the streets of Washington, Mayday 1971 brings it all back in vivid detail and riveting story-telling. Here is a real-life thriller that shows the strength of our society and our system, important lessons for today’s turmoil.”
—David E. Hoffman, author of The Billion Dollar Spy
Roberts "relates the shameful story of what happened that year like a mystery writer.... He pinpoints the origins of this extraordinary drama."
—Washington Independent Review of Books
One of 2020's "most anticipated debut books."
“A riveting history crafted from first hand-testimonies of a pivotal time in our democracy. Roberts has unearthed compelling new dimensions of this important story.”
—Lynn Novick, director with Ken Burns of The Vietnam War
“This unraveling of the Mayday saga is not just history at its most illuminating, and top-drawer storytelling, but a narrative that resonates today, when our democracy is again being challenged.”
—Larry Tye, author of Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy
"Illuminating, ambitious and rigorously researched, Mayday 1971 recovers the remarkable story of the largest number of mass arrests in U.S. history. Every chapter resounds with scenes that could be pulled from today's headlines. Lawrence Roberts calls his history ‘largely forgotten.' It will certainly be new and revelatory for anyone, young or old, who wants to truly understand the depths of the divide that fractured the country during the Vietnam War."
—Steve Luxenberg, author of Separate: The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation
“At a time when American democracy is under threat from an unscrupulous president, this fine account of an earlier such time is highly relevant. As a participant in the movement against the Vietnam War, I was moved by the way Lawrence Roberts so eloquently brings to life a crucial episode in that struggle. And to be reminded that, in the long run, we won.”
—Adam Hochschild, author of Rebel Cinderella
"Vivid and deeply sourced . . . Roberts convincingly argues that the White House’s authoritarian attitudes and actions foreshadowed the Watergate scandal."
"Well-written, deeply researched . . . [Roberts] does a sterling job."
—The VVA Veteran
"The events culminating with the mass arrests of 12,000 people in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 1971 have been curiously underreported in most histories of the Vietnam era. Roberts changes that with this compelling history of Mayday 1971. "
"Roberts 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."