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This is the story of Bill Ayers, a survivor of the American New Left who, years later, was pilloried by the Tea Party, who claimed Chicago Bill was Obama's BFF-- a "secret socialist plot!"
All that was nonsense, but here's the real deal: Bill Ayer's life and comradeship is far more interesting than banal White House name-dropping.
Ayers came from a suburban upper-middle-class family, a prep school grad. Nothing in his family predicted: "Will Seize State Power Upon Maturity."
The story of how the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement changed Bill's consciousness forever is one that many of us will identify with. Bill became one of the founders of the Weather Underground and spent seven years in its disciplined cadre-- the details are excrutiating.
When it all fell apart, after WU bombings went belly-up tragic, Ayers spent ten years as a fugitive, living underground, nameless. Finally, in the third chapter of his life, he became a indefatiguable public education activist.
How did he survive, what does he revere— and what does he regret?
Ayers is an engaging storyteller who doesn't beg for our sympathy but earns your respect. I first read Bill's book when I was preparing to write my own memoir, which also covers violent and passionate years in the trenches of a minuscule-yet-influential American socialist left.
I wanted to read someone who wasn't going to "skip on the embarrassing parts" -- nor someone who lost their mind and became a bliss-ninny. Ayers did not disappoint me. Just reading about how his comrades negotiated their love lives, or the communal housework— in the middle of plotting the overthrow of the United States— had me laughing and crying simultaneously. Been there and survived that!
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Purchased this very controversial man's book because I wanted to hear about his experience. One minute you are in a poor neighborhood in Cleveland, then you are in the middle of a protest at the pentagon, and then all of a sudden you are somewhere else.
I like matter of fact writing with dates and places. If his style doesn't bother you then you may like the book. I definitely did not.