When dissidents and activists toppled powerful regimes across the globe in the 1980s and 1990s?from the Soviet Union to South Africa, from Nicaragua to the Philippines?how did Americans respond to challenges in their own country? The conventional wisdom is that Americans sullenly withdrew from all manner of political action. But in fact, activists of all backgrounds took to the streets to challenge ordinary structures of politics.These movements?their history; their cyclical development; their organization, strategies, and tactics?constitute what the author calls ?extraordinary politics.? Activists have set the pace on every conceivable issue, including the environment, gay rights, feminism, abortion, states' rights, religion, and multiculturalism. The president and Congress can barely keep up, but extraordinary politics keeps evolving.With style and grace, Charles Euchner weaves together hundreds of examples drawn from movements spanning the ideological spectrum to offer both a practical and intellectual guidebook to political activism in a reputedly apathetic age, embracing with abandon the art of making a difference.