On October 2nd, a few weeks after Occupy Wall Street began, Colin Robinson, a British man with a head of loose gray curls, fished a Natural Light beer case out of a trash can in Chelsea. He tore off a rectangle of brown cardboard, folded it into the shape of a book’s cover and spine, and wrote, in Sharpie, “Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action That Changed America.” Where the author’s name would normally go, he scribbled, “Writers for the 99%.” He did not yet know who the writers would be, but he set out to find volunteers. Robinson, an erstwhile Trotskyist and a current “unapologetic leftist,” is the co-publisher of a boutique press called OR Books. He has published Christopher Hitchens and Noam Chomsky, but this is his first book by a leaderless movement. “I wanted to audition writers, but it became very clear that would not fly. So I thought, Let’s just try it and see what happens.” Eventually, a group took shape, with a rotating membership of about sixty—“some more involved than others,” Robinson admitted—who interviewed key figures in the movement and wrote collaboratively in Google Docs. In 1948, the editors of the Washington Post promised their readers “a first rough-draft of history.” Now, thanks to digital print-on-demand technology, historians can work like journalists.

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