Set on a US college campus in 1964, In the Defense of Liberty is a powerful, fast-paced novel exploring gender nonconformity and the reach of history.
It’s 1964, and the students at Merida University in Ohio can sense that something is brewing — the campus is rippling with undercurrents of anger and alienation. As they work to make sense of the rapidly shifting cultural and ideological climate, the four main characters of In the Defense of Liberty are also consumed by their own personal dramas.
There’s Mason, a history student growing his hair long and struggling to find anywhere he belongs. There’s Lorianne, a young wife who left a promising career in academia when she got pregnant. There’s Henry, Lorianne’s husband, who is working year after year on his thesis, with no end in sight. And there’s Jessie, a TA who has always been a bit of an enigma. Over one turbulent summer, the intense connections between these four characters take a number of thrilling twists and turns, with each relationship taken to its breaking point.
In this fascinating and fast-paced novel, Keith Maillard expertly captures the ethos of the mid-1960s and explores threads of gender and sexuality, while holding up a mirror to the roots of modern-day American polarization.