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The Red Squad: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Esther Broner
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $4.01 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Hardcover $21.18  
Paperback $13.16  
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Book Description

A wonderfully comic novel about the interwoven lives of a group of 1960s grad students who, forty years later, learn that they were under FBI surveillance during their activist days.
There’s Anka, who enraged the right-thinking newspaper with her outspoken politics; Kevin, a priest in the process of formally leaving the church; “The Farmer,” an unhappy father and husband; Noble, the gay poet; Ron, the black professor of Victorian studies; and the irrepressible Bernstein, who yearned to start again in the promised land of Israel. One became a spy, one became a fugitive. And when their long lost comrade resurfaces, his plight reunites them in a glorious, unexpected finale that collides past and present.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Broner (A Weave of Women) succeeds in capturing the political spirit of the 1960s and '70s in this character-driven tale of English graduate students and teachers struggling to come to grips with who they are. In the approximate present-day, academic Anka Pappas finds tossed on her front stoop a file documenting her activities as an opinionated, rebellious, and assertive English instructor in the 1960s, but the most shocking thing is that it appears one of her confidantes from that era was a government informer. As she sifts through her recollections and the file contents, Anka reflects on a lifetime's worth of activism, teaching and friendships. There was Mr. Berger, who provided frequent humorous fodder for Anka and her peers; O'Dwyer, who disappeared from campus life after being arrested; Bernstein, who obsessed over moving to Israel; and Kevin, the priest-turned-student object of Anka's crush. Broner captures the mannerisms, witticisms and transparent insecurities of her young idealists, and the who-was-the-rat mystery will keep readers involved through the too-tidy conclusion. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The arrival of an envelope, mailed anonymously, forces Professor Anka Pappas to recall the “thrilling and terrible time” when she and five mismatched colleagues taught English composition in a Detroit university and occupied a shared office known as the Bullpen. The envelope’s contents show that she and other Bullpenners were under surveillance for antiwar activities during the late 1960s. The Red Squad is an insightful, affecting, and often funny tale of higher education, as seen by “academic Okies”—adjunct faculty—struggling to finish their PhDs while America was engaged in another war disapproved of by many and enduring ham-handed repression of dissent. It’s also an engaging tale of a small group of lonely young people whose shared experiences bind them for a lifetime. Broner’s writing is concise yet pithy, as she limns Anka’s interest in fellow Bullpenner Kevin, a Jesuit seeking release from his priestly vows, and charts the decline of Detroit. This is one of those books that will grow in readers’ estimation long after they’ve finished reading it. --Thomas Gaughan

Product Details

  • File Size: 360 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 030745584X
  • Publisher: Anchor (May 5, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0027MJTZG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,232,685 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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3.0 out of 5 stars Jumpy August 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like the topic, and the language flows well. But the author jumps around from place to place, time to time, and it's hard for me to keep track.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaged by Life May 14, 2009
This is a wonderfully textural account of how our past clings to us and gives us inspiration for understanding stories and their retelling. The sixties are still relevant not only because we haven't understood them, but because they are the writing and living instructions for our children as well.
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