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Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies Paperback – April 30, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0520241190 ISBN-10: 0520241193 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 407 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (April 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520241193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520241190
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A rich, well-written and remarkably thorough account of a movement gone wrong." -- San Francisco Chronicle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Jeremy Varon in Bringing the War Home achieves something very difficult, and very important: he conveys the intense heat of moral purpose and political conviction that drove some radicals to violence, while at the same time he maintains a cool analytic distance that enables him to provide a brilliant and compelling interpretation of the logic and limits of dissent in democratic societies. And his conclusions illuminate pressing issues about the role of militancy in contemporary protest movements."—Jon Wiener, author of Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files

"By looking seriously at the rise of revolutionary violence and the international dimensions of that phenomenon, Jeremy Varon makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of 'The Sixties.' His book paints a nuanced picture of a period in recent history that in many ways remains an open wound. In so doing, Varon helps us to see the world today more clearly. This is extremely important history-especially for young people."—Sam Green, Director/Producer of "The Weather Underground"

"Jeremy Varon's important and courageous book marks a turning point in the scholarship about the 1960s and their aftermath. With an admirable mixture of distance and engagement, Varon brings to bear the classic questions which European and American historians have applied to questions of politics and violence. Bringing the War Home makes significant contributions to understanding terrible events. It deserves close attention both from scholars and a broad reading public."—Jeffrey Herf, author of Divided Memory: The Nazi Past in the Two Germanys


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
The book starts out well but, unfortunately the author's right-wing bias is soon apparent.
claireflexo
Socialism, even communism, still seemed a better venue for achieving true equality over what they perceived as the failed promises of Western Democracy.
MJS
This is one of the best books you'll ever read on the Sixties or the movements that defined it.
K. Dale

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A scholar/activist on September 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
In this well-researched, beautifully written book, Jeremy Varon explores the whole range of factors that gave rise to revolutionary rhetoric and practice in the 1960s and early 1970s, as well as the moral and existential dilemmas that lurk behind any question of political violence. I'm especially impressed by his multi-faceted approach to the material. To cite just a few examples: With his close reading of images and texts from the underground press, he does the work of a cultural historian; where he draws from pyschological models of trauma to help explain RAF's turn toward violence, his work is squarely within the realm of intellectual history; by unearthing a range of neglected sources and examining these groups "from the bottom up," his work takes on the flavor of a social historian; and I especially enjoyed his rich, narrative descriptions, which make the book such a pleasure to read. Finally, this difficult topic is everywhere explored with a keen moral integrity - and I certainly do not share one reviewer's suggestion that the author reveals any kind of right-wing bias! To the contrary, Varon remarks that this book was inspired by the same passion for justice that animated the new left itself. He seems sympathetic to the aims (if not the tactics) of many Sixties activists, and in his conclusion, he underscores the implications that this study has to to some of the most pressing exigencies of our time - terrorism and globalization. Of course, both Weatherman and the RAF come in for some strong criticisms, but ironically, the most damning testimony frequently comes from their former members. (This is especially true of RAF). All in all, this is a tremendous achievement -- an intelligent, rigorous, and elegantly written book that deserves a wide audience from scholars and activists alike.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Gerhardt F. Getzin on June 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book thinking it was a companion to the very good
documentary recently on PBS. Instead I found great detail and
incredible analysis of not just the Weathermen but driving forces
behind the anti-war movemnet. It is really an intelectual history of
the peak of the movement in the late sixties and early seventies.
Most will likely be suprised at the sophistication and
care to avoid physical harm, especially after the Townhouse
explosion. I susect that most of those againt the war at the time saw
the group as drug crazed idiots. The book proves this idea wrong.
But it objectively inspects all aspects of the Weathermen. There is an
interesting comparison to the German radicals, the RAF, who were
much more violent. It is so well researched and written that the roots
of 60's ideology may become apparent to some. I relived much of
my development as a student at that time. The mystique, emotion,
and strong intellectual base is well described. And its foolishness
is put in perspective rather than ridiculed. This is one of the best
books I have ever read.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By K. Dale on September 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books you'll ever read on the Sixties or the movements that defined it. In examining one of the most controversial subjects to arise in that era - New Left revolutionary violence - Jeremy Varon not only gives us the first really serious examination of the Weather Underground (most often trashed by sixties activists-turned-scholars), but reveals so much more about the zeitgeist of the era - with all its promise and horror - by coupling it with an analysis of the Red Army Faction in Germany. I don't know how that other reviewer can say there's right-wing bias at work in the book when, in my reading, I see a difficult balancing act that seems to appreciate the utopian ideals of the New Left, takes seriously these radicals' intellectual journeys that led them to violence, but certainly doesn't defend the terrible things done to "bring the war home." It's really a thorough, nuanced book that, fortunately, is written so well, even non-experts will understand the complexities of the time.

I only bought this book after hearing the author speak about it at a book event in New York. Instead of a right-wing or left-wing slant, I heard someone straining to get it right; the reward is that the book does the same.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Curt Kammeraad on January 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jeremy Varon's "Bringing The War Home" is simply a "must read" for anyone who wishes to "understand" the '60's and '70's--the very concept of "revolution"--from the perspectives of the Weatherman/Weather Underground, the Red Army Fraction, AND the very governments and societies these groups sought to radically change. Both probing and honest, Varon's narrative and analysis is an important and eclectic cotribution to this critical and defining era. The relevance of this work to contemporary "war on terror" response is impossible to overstate. While a bit "pedantic" in parts--Varon's work is a long overdue illumination of that which defined not only a generation but an entire world. A real "keeper".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MJS on October 20, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Symbionese Liberation Army fascinated me as a child. For one thing, the Patty Hearst kidnapping story was wall-to-wall for weeks. Then Patty showed up at a bank robbery and in those days before the Stockholm Syndrome it was assumed that the heiress had had her consciousness raised by her kidnappers. There were many things about the SLA that intrigued. What, for example, is a Symbion and why did it need liberating? Is it any wonder that I had the vague idea this was all connected to the Lebanese civil war? In news reports the SLA was talked about in the same breath as the Baader-Meinhof gang. If the SLA was vague, the Baader-Meinhof gang was practically a ghost. By the time I became aware of them there wasn't a Baader or a Meinhof on the scene which only added to the confusion. Sometimes they were referred to as the Red Army Faction making it easy to confuse them with the Red Brigade. A few years later members of the Weather Underground starting turning themselves into the police after years, well, underground. It seemed like the Seventies were crawling with middle class white kids sashaying around throwing bombs. Why they were throwing bombs had something to do, vaguely again, with the Vietnam war.

I couldn't make sense of it then and for years later I couldn't find any books (in those pre Web days) to explain even the basics let alone attempt to answer any of the larger questions. Finally some thoughtful research is being applied to this era, starting with the incredible documentary Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. Then there was Susan Braudy's slightly less scholarly but oh-so-much fun Family Circle about Kathy Boudin of Weather Underground Fame. Both are entertaining and illuminating of the individuals involved.
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