From Publishers Weekly
Former New York Newsday
reporter Jones was only four years old when the FBI burst into his family's Bronx apartment to arrest his parents: members of the violent, left-wing Weather Underground, they had spent the 1970s hiding from federal authorities. In fact, Jones recounts in his debut book, they had fallen in love while staying at the same safe house in the Catskills. Eleanor had become radicalized in 1968 while a law student at Columbia University; Jeff helped Dr. Timothy Leary, the LSD guru, escape from prison. Their radical roots went deep, as this engaging family history reveals. Both of Jones's maternal grandparents were Communist Party members; his grandfather pled the Fifth Amendment when House Committee on Un-American Activities grilled him in the 1950s. Jones's paternal grandfather had spent WWII in an army work camp as a conscientious objector. Jones effectively elucidates the personal dramas, often drawing on FBI files for background info. In giving his parents' story such completeness, however, he offers little hint of how fully their values were passed on to his own generation, giving the book's ending a somewhat abrupt feel. Strictly speaking, Jones's parents were in league with terrorists, but he infuses their politics with a crucial humanity that makes their path a little more understandable, perhaps even sympathetic.
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Jones, a journalist, spent the early years of his life living under an alias while his parents were fugitives from the FBI, sought for their involvement in the Weather Underground. In this absorbing memoir of his radical family heritage, Jones offers a look at nearly a century of progressive political movements in the U.S. He traces grandparents on both sides who participated in May Day demonstrations, joined early labor unions and the Communist Party, and lived lives of constant government surveillance, truncated personal aspirations, and eventual disillusionment. Continuing the radical tradition, his parents progressed from antiwar demonstrations and campus protests to the Days of Rage and the Weather Underground. Tracing his family's political idealism--and a family life filled with the usual joys and tragedies--Jones provides a thoughtful and compelling portrait of radical politics as lived by one family and as experienced by the nation as a whole. This is part family memoir and part historical record of the metamorphosis of radical movements in America. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved