From Publishers Weekly
"Memory is a motherfucker," begins 1960s-era political activist and Weather Underground member Ayers, who went underground with several comrades after their co-conspirators' bomb accidentally exploded in 1970, destroying a Greenwich Village townhouse and killing some of the activists involved. Ayers (A Kind and Just Parent), now a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, grew up well-to-do, attended private schools and became politicized at the University of Michigan. He describes his spiraling New Left involvement as he became aware of what he casts as the injustice of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, inner-city race relations, and police brutality and battle tactics, especially in Chicago during demonstrations at the 1969 Democratic convention. The terrific first half of the memoir details 1950s and '60s U.S. culture his own childhood, shaped by images of the atomic bomb and TV war movies; the influence of Bob Dylan, Mao and Che Guevara on American youth but the book really takes off once he goes underground. He and his colleagues invent identities (often using names such as Nat Turner or Emma Goldman), travel continuously and avoid the police and FBI as Nixon bombs Cambodia and My Lai is ravaged. Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn raised two children underground before turning themselves in in 1981, when most charges were dropped because of "extreme governmental misconduct" during the long search for the fugitives. Written without self-righteousness or apology, this memoir rings of hard-learned truth and integrity and is an important contribution to literature on 1960s culture and American radicalism. (Sept.)Forecast: With advance praise from Hunter S. Thompson, Scott Turow, Studs Terkel and Rosellen Brown, plus a 20-city author tour, this ringing account should attract considerable review attention and solid sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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From Library Journal
"Memory is a motherfucker," writes Ayers (A Kind and Just Parent). In the 1970s, he was a head of the radical Weathermen and one of America's Ten Most Wanted, along with his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, but he is now a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois in Chicago. His memoir is a breath of fresh air in this self-absorbed age. Ayers discusses his reservations about the use of violence to achieve an end to violence (reservations he held then as well), but he is unrepentant in believing that America was the aggressor against North Vietnam and that right-minded people have an obligation to resist unjust wars. The book is uneven in tone, alternating fluffy passages about the passage of time with straightforward narration of Ayers's more than ten years on the lam. The sentiments expressed in the book still seem noble, however, regardless of one's opinions of the means used by Ayers's comrades. There are many lessons still to be learned from such narratives. Recommended. David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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