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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dylan was right after all, July 7, 2000
This review is from: The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground (Haymarket Series) (Paperback)
The young activists of the Weather Underground were inspired by the National Liberation Front in Vietnam and the Black Panthers at home. And more than anything else they were fueled by a righteous rage against imperialist, racist `Amerika'. When the dust settled on 20th century history they wanted to be counted on the side of the revolution, not with the oppressors.
The book begins at the end of the 60s with the protests at Columbia University and Weatherman's emergence from the splintering New Left group, Students for a Democratic Society. It follows the group's progress from public protest and pitched battles with police, to its decision to wage war on Amerika as an underground revolutionary movement. Jacobs covers the landmark events in the group's history: the jail break of counter-culture guru Timothy Leary, the bombings of the Pentagon and the Capitol and the eventual death, apprehension and surrender of many of Weather's key members.
It's a sad and disturbing story. It is hard to credit Weather with any lasting positive achievements. They unleased mayhem and destruction in the name of justice but retired from the struggle defeated. One of most harrowing episodes in the book is the Greewich Village townhouse explosion. The result of an accident, it killed three of Weather's members (Diana Oughton, Ted Gold and Terry Robins). The group were building bombs out of dynamite and nails when one exploded, destroying the building and sending the two survivors, Cathy Wilkerson and Kathy Boudin, running half naked into the street. The book's photographs are a reminder of how young the three activists must have been at the time they died.
Jacobs states his sympathies up front. He writes that he "admired [Weather's] style and its ability to hit targets which in my view deserved to be hit." But even as an inspired observer he admits that even he doesn't understand the group's politics. Jacobs is objective enough to cover some of the less flattering moments in Weather's history. For example, although she's depicted like movie star on the front cover, between the pages Weather spokeswoman Bernadine Dohrn is caught gloating over the Manson murders in a 1969 speech.
The major shortcoming of the book is a lack of fresh first-hand material. Jacobs' sources seem to have been mostly archival. I finshed the book wanting to know what Weather's survivors thought now about the riots, the bombings and their years underground. I wanted a glimpse inside their heads, to understand a little of what they thought they were going to achieve.
If you want to know what the Weather Underground was, what it did, and what happened to its members, this book gives a history from begining to end. No other book does that. But if you want to know what it all means, you're going to have to figure that out for yourself.
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Initial post: Mar 3, 2016 9:19:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 12, 2016 5:21:07 PM PST
Publicus says:
Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky discovered documentary evidence in the Soviet archives proving the Blank Panthers were funded & incited by undercover KGB operatives, posing as civil rights sympathizers. The Soviets fomented every discontent in America from 1965-75 as fifth column activities in the Vietnam War. The Soviets were perfectly willing to waste a few empty black lives & a few black neighborhoods in the effort.

The Soviets picked every scab in America & made our country polarize, burn, & bleed as part of their fifth column strategy to win the Vietnam War.

What the Soviets did to America during the Vietnam era was reminiscent of what the Germans did during WW1 when they sneaked Lenin into Russia to foment chaos & discord in that country. And everyone recognizes how successful that strategy was. After Lenin incited chaos, discord, & civil disobedience in Russia, Russia ended hostilities against Germany & surrendered some of its territories.

And guess what? The Soviet strategy of fomenting chaos, discord, & civil disobedience in America during the Vietnam War era worked, as well!

Flower children (useful idiots) bought into the Soviet stratagems hook, line, & sinker, even crediting themselves for the carefully orchestrated, Soviet planned chaos (calling it the "counterculture revolution").

As the flower children & other useful idiots were causing America to burn & bleed, they were singing John Lennon's song, "Give Peace a Chance." Little did they understand that were being played & helping the Communists to conquer & subjugate America's ally that it had promised to defend against such aggression.

When terrorists exploded a nail bomb in Park Station in SF during shift change (Feb. 1970) & when Jonathan Jackson launched a murderous assault on the Marin County Court House (August 1970), Bill Ayers & Bernadine Dohrn were living on a houseboat in Sausalito just 8 miles from Park Station & 12 miles from the Court House.

Ever wonder who struck the match in all those riots in black communities? Notice how close in time to each other they occurred. Mere coincidence?

And at the same time the Black Panthers came into being, fomenting discord & unrest every place it took root. Those same organized, financed, coordinated, & inflamed feelings led to the Soledad Brothers & the Jonathan Jackson's Marin Courthouse massacre.

A lot of black brothers got used & abused in the process. Many of them ended up dead or sentenced to long prison terms. Prominent cities & black neighbors got destroyed, & many of them never got rebuilt and/or restored to what they previously were.

Some of the women that got recruited into the Panther movement did some good. But the KGB likely let the black women do their thing, while it exploited their men.

Shouldn't someone try to trace the Soviet money into the hands of their American collaborators & useful idiots? Some of it may have found its way to Capitol Hill.

Members of the Weather Underground got played big time, & they got a lot of people killed, maimed, and/or locked up in prison. Nice legacy for so-called intellectuals that became useful idiots for the Soviet cause!

Notice the Herbert Marcuse connection in both of the hyperlinks above.

In my mind, I can envision KGB agents talking to their Frankfurt School contacts at the Universities: "Give us the names of the most impressionable students with the weakest critical thinking skills on campus." And history provides us with the names of the persons those contacts pointed to. The members of the Weather Underground were prominent among them.
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