It’s nearly become old hat by now to note that 2011 was a year of apparently spontaneous global uprising. Often forgotten in the awe and feeling of unity, though, is that many of the most visible successes of the past year – from Cairo to Wall Street and everywhere in between – were the result of decades of trial and error on the part of activists and communities experimenting in creative direct action. It’s fitting that the terrifically encyclopedic new book (and interactive ‘web toolbox’) Beautiful Trouble began gestating well before the occupation of Tahrir Square. And yet what better moment for this fantastic collection of ideas?

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