Shibani Mahtani, Timothy McLaughlin

Among the Braves: Hope, Struggle, and Exile in the Battle for Hong Kong and the Future of Global Democracy

Among the Braves: Hope, Struggle, and Exile in the Battle for Hong Kong and the Future of Global Democracy

Regular price $29.00 USD
Regular price $30.00 USD Sale price $29.00 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Listen to the audiobook version provided by

Among the Braves Hope, Struggle, and Exile in the Battle for Hong Kong and the Future of Global Democracy by Shibani Mahtani & Timothy McLaughlin 


Through the eyes of two frontline journalists comes a gripping narrative history of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement centered around a cast of four core activists, culminating in the 2019 mass protests and Beijing's brutal crackdown. 

Among the Braves- Hope, Struggle, and Exile in the Battle for Hong Kong and the Future of Global Democracy.jpg
Hong Kong was an experiment in governance. Handed back to China in 1997 after 156 years of British rule, it was meant to be a carve-out between hostile systems: a bridge between communism and capitalism, authoritarianism and liberal democracy. “One country, two systems” kept its media free, its courts independent and its protests boisterous, designed also to convince Taiwan of a peaceful solution to Beijing’s desire for reunification.

Yet this formulation excluded Hong Kong’s own people, their future negotiated by political titans in faraway capitals. In 2019, an ill-conceived law spear-headed by a sycophantic leader pushed millions to take to the streets in one of the most enduring protest movements the world has ever seen. Xi Jinping responded with a draconian national security law that sought not only to end the demonstrations but quash the “problem” of Hong Kongers’ identity and desire for freedom.

Reverend Chu, who believed Hong Kong had to carry the spirit of students at Tiananmen Square, saw his silver-haired comrades who birthed the city’s modern pro-democracy movement handcuffed and taken from their homes. Tommy, an art student radicalized into throwing Molotov cocktails, watched “braves” like him brutalized by police before his own arrest prompted him to flee. Finn epitomized the decentralized nature of the movement and its internet-fueled victories, but online anonymity couldn’t stop his life from unravelling. Gwyneth could predict her eventual fate when she chose to give up her career as a journalist to stand for election as an opposition candidate, and did it anyway.

Among the Braves, Shibani Mahtani and Timothy McLaughlin tell the story of Hong Kong’s past, and what the sacrifices of its people mean for global democracy’s shaky foundation.

View full details

Editorial Reviews

"Shibani Mahtani and Timothy McLaughlin's "Among the Braves: Hope, Struggle, and Exile in the Battle for Hong Kong and the Future of Global Democracy" offers a riveting narrative history of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Through the lens of four central activists, the authors guide us through the tumultuous journey of this movement, culminating in the 2019 mass protests and Beijing's brutal suppression.

Hong Kong, as an experiment in governance, bridged the gap between communism and capitalism, promising a unique blend of authoritarianism and liberal democracy under the "One country, two systems" framework. However, the people of Hong Kong found their future decided by distant political figures, leading to a 2019 law that triggered enduring protests. In response, China imposed a draconian national security law, quashing both the demonstrations and Hong Kongers' aspirations for freedom.

The book portrays the stories of individuals like Reverend Chu, inspired by the spirit of Tiananmen Square, and Tommy, a radicalized art student. It also delves into the decentralized nature of the movement and the online victories of figures like Finn. Gwyneth's decision to give up her journalism career to stand for election as an opposition candidate encapsulates the sacrifices made by these brave activists.

"Among the Braves" not only unravels Hong Kong's past but also reflects on the implications of these sacrifices for the fragile foundations of global democracy. It masterfully connects the fault lines of our world, from democracy and authoritarianism to capitalism and technology, providing a gripping, empathetic, and context-rich account of the Hong Kong protest movement's rise and fall.

Written by seasoned journalists Shibani Mahtani and Timothy McLaughlin, this book weaves history with personal stories, making it an essential read for anyone concerned about the evolving landscape of global democracy and the struggles of those who seek to preserve it. Their narrative is a testament to the spirit of resistance and resilience in the face of oppression and a beacon of hope for those who cherish liberty." -- Starry Ferry Books

"All of the fault lines shaping our world converged in the inspiring rise and tragic demise of Hong Kong’s protest movement--democracy and authoritarianism, capitalism and technology, nationalism and the individual yearning for liberty and community. InAmong the Braves, Shibani Mahtani and Timothy McLaughlin tell a gripping, propulsive story that puts us inside the harrowing experience of people on the front lines of history, while also showing us the broader context of an increasingly assertive China determined to stamp out dissent. This is the very best kind of journalism--smart, painstaking, empathetic, and beautifully rendered.”―Ben Rhodes, author of After The Fall and The World As It Is

“Seamlessly weaving history with the personal stories of brave Hong Kongers fighting to preserve the spirit of their city, Mahtani and McLaughlin deliver a poignant must-read, as they dissect exactly how democracy and freedom are lost.”―Kim Ghattas, author of Black Wave and The Secretary

Among the Bravesis a piercing revelation….Mahtani and McLaughlin paint a vivid portrait of Hong Kong’s vibrant streets, once pulsating with hope and promise, now shrouded by the shadows of oppression. They bring us into the lives of remarkable individuals, unsung heroes—whose defiance against insurmountable odds transformed them into symbols of resistance and resilience….This is a must-read for anyone who cherishes liberty.”―Maria Ressa, co-founder, Rappler and co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

"Among the Bravesentwines the activists' stories with a chronicle of Hong Kong's decades-old protest movement, stretching from the Tianenmen Square massacre in 1989, through the Umbrella protests of 2014, to the unrest in 2019. It lays bare the incompetence of politicians in dealing with each unfolding crisis...The result is a book that is both a page-turner and a succinct history."―The Economist

"Mahtani and McLaughlin have written a heartfelt chronicle of Hong Kong’s 2019-2020 democracy movement, centered on the courage, creativity, and sacrifice of its ‘braves’–the movement’s leading foot soldiers. This important book not only bears witness to those who put everything on the line to keep the flame of freedom and justice alive in Hong Kong, but implicitly pays tribute to the millions doing similarly around the world to defend their democratic rights and dignity in the face of autocratic assault. A timely and important read."―Amb. Derek Mitchell, president, National Democratic Institute

"Among the Bravescharts the struggles of a younger generation of Hong Kongers in the glare of media spotlights as well as in the trenches of their daily lives. They exhibit both virtues and flaws; they rise and they fall. Continually, though, they walk off the page, grab you by the lapels, and make you look." ―Perry Link, coauthor of I Have No Enemies: The Life and Legacy of Liu Xiaobo

“[A] powerful and moving debut…. Mahtani and McLaughlin weave an exhilarating narrative, full of fear and hope, frenetic improvisation, and terrifying street violence. The result is a gripping account of one of the great political tragedies of our time.”―Publishers Weekly (starred)

"In this captivating and illuminating examination of activism in Hong Kong, journalists Mahtani and McLaughlin balance historical context with up-to-the-minute reporting to convey the current climate in Hong Kong and its global implications....Written with urgency,Among the Braves chronicles the courage and dedication of activists in the face of harsh responses from the pro-Beijing government. As many of the main subjects of the book are currently imprisoned or in exile, Mahtani and McLaughlin’s report is an essential look at threats to modern democracy."―Booklist (starred)

"Compelling and poignant insider tales of China’s devastatingly complete anti-democracy actions."

Kirkus ReviewsOne ofInsideHook's 10 Books You Should Be Reading

About the Author

Shibani Mahtani is an international investigative correspondent for the Washington Post. She was previously the Post's Hong Kong and Southeast Asia bureau chief and a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal based in Singapore, Yangon, and Chicago. Her Hong Kong coverage was honored with prizes including a Human Rights Press Award for an investigation into police misconduct. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Timothy McLaughlin is a prize-winning contributing writer for The Atlantic. Previously he worked for Reuters news agency. His work has also appeared in publications including WIRED,The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and Prospect. He has won multiple awards for his Hong Kong coverage, including two Best in Business Awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing, and is a two-time finalist for The Livingston Award for International Reporting. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. Mahtani and McLaughlin live in Singapore with their adopted Hong Kong village dog, Bean.

1 of 6