Revolutionary Reads

Posted by David Winnick

The fifth of November is remembered in Britain for an attempted assassination of King James I of England. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords with the King inside. A small group of revolutionaries formulated a plot which was to be carried out by Guy Fawkes, a former military serviceman. After an anonymous letter was left for the authorities, Fawkes was found guarding enough gunpowder under the House of Lords to have destroyed everything. We at Quirk would like to remember the failed Gunpowder Treason by providing a list of the best books about revolution.


V for Vendetta

It is nearly impossible not to mention V for Vendetta on Guy Fawkes Day. Enraged by what can be described as Draconian policies, Alan Moore wrote his opus as a commentary on the political rule of Margaret Thatcher. In his story, the protagonist, V, covers his disfigured face with a mask of Guy Fawkes. This comic became a favorite of the Occupy Wall Street movement with many people wearing V masks. Even now the tale of revolution endures as the mask has become the public face of notorious internet hacker group Anonymous.


Fight Club

A treatise on male anger and aggression, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk follows Tyler Durden, a man who has almost nothing to lose. When at last Durden has had enough of being the willing participant in a world which cares little for him, he forms a group of men to destroy the financial institutions which have kept him living in squalor. Durden’s idea to set the financial counter to zero doesn’t go exactly as planned. Although his most memorable moments are revolutionary poetry. Few people will ever forget him selling soap made from liposuction fat back to the same people it was removed from in the first place.


The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas’s story of three men fighting against a government which had abandoned them is one of the most famous tales of revolution. After the King’s personal guard is forced into retirement by the actions of Comte de Rochfort and Cardinal Richelieu, three of the soldiers join up with a young man and fight back. Eventually The Musketeers defeat Richelieu and his men and restore to King Louis XIII his power. This novel takes of revolt shows that sometimes rules are unjust.



The comic book series by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples is an intergalactic adventure of great import. After two soldiers from differing sides of a centuries long war fall in love, they run away together and have a baby. The genetic markers of the child indicate that the two warring sides can indeed get along. The leads are forced to go on the run from their respective governments in order to keep their nuclear family alive. The comic book even contains a meta-fictive story element in which a romance novel read by one of the couple functions as a call to revolution, spurring her to action.


The Running Man 

In a dystopian future, Ben Richards volunteers for a terrifying reality show in which he is hunted by people attempting to kill him. The longer he survives, the more money he earns to send back to his wife and ailing child. If Richards survives for 30 days, he will earn one billion dollars and his freedom. When he realizes that the game is rigged and he will never be allowed to survive, he turns on the government which has allowed the world to become such a horrible place. Written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, this is by far one of Steven King’s most prophetic novels.