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Book Reviews by Marc Becker

eddie jenkins hernandez, The expertly grapples with the themes of Discovery of Kuzco (2016). 245 pages. identity politics and coalition building. Many of these issues come together eddie jenkins hernandez, Coyote when the students organize a rally on Underground (2017). 94 pages. Kuzco’s town square to protest a cop beating of Black Studies professor Dr. Truman dropout and Monitor alum Johnson’s brother Malik. The novel is Ed Jenkins has written a pair of at once very prescient of contemporary compelling novels about the issues such as Black Lives Matter, challenges and thrills facing the activist while at the same time also highlighting community. problems that activists have long The Discovery of Kuzco is broadly faced. based on Jenkins’ time at the Truman Jenkins’ second work, Coyote of the Midwest in the early 2000s. Underground, is a short novella about Truman is recast as Kuzco State a high school student from Raytown University, a place that literally means who surreptitiously travels to the “navel of the universe” even as it is University of Missouri for a regional located in the middle of nowhere. anarchist meeting. Unbeknownst to the The novel tracks a variety of people assembled activists, the FBI has who converge at Kuzco. Rudi Jones is infiltrated the meeting. Fearing arrest, a dour history adjunct professor who is the protagonist (Coyote) crosses the foremost expert on Kuzco’s Missouri incognito to meet up with an founder, the Haitian-born Francois anarchist leader in St. Louis. Noir. ColePat loves jazz, and has a Almost all recent cases of pattern of tangling with authority “domestic terrorism” have resulted figures. Kristeva is a free spirit whose from the constitutionally questionable interests do not coexist well with the tactic of entrapment in which FBI university’s structured academic agents press people toward violent programs. Sofia has a young daughter actions that they otherwise would not and follows her partner to Kuzco where have taken. Not only does Jenkins she realizes a long delayed dream of engage questions of violent versus earning a college degree. nonviolent tactics, he also highlights The novel features complex the problem of police infiltration into character development, but what really activist groups with the purpose of makes it stand out is its sophisticated disrupting their legitimate activities. engagement with social and political Monitor readers will enjoy these concerns. Students debate ideological books both for their familiar references issues of anarchism and marxism as and thoughtful discussion of pressing they confront social injustices. The social and political issues. I look novel unwraps problems with forward to Jenkins’ future publications. vanguardism as Justin attempts to He is a strong writer with compelling organize a Green Party on campus ideas and a keen eye for plot and and take over a Black student character development. organization. Arthur can’t seem to see For copies of the books, see beyond the single issue of the eddiejenkinshernandez.com or contact legalization of industrial hemp. Marc Becker in the History Department Throughout the novel, Jenkins at marc@truman.edu. 7

the monitor March 2017  
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