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Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen Paperback – March 23, 2010
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"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
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With the war in Iraq provoking memories of Vietnam, Rudd gave up a 25-year silence on his role in the radical student movement of the 1960s when he lead the Weathermen. The group grew out of the Student for Democratic Society behind massive anti-war and social-justice protests at Columbia University. Rudd recalls his personal journey from idealistic freshman to student radical and the escalating violence that led to the riot during the 1969 Democratic party convention in Chicago and the bombing of a townhouse in Greenwich Village. Rudd spent seven years, from 1970 until 1977, living underground as a federal fugitive before turning himself in. Rudd writes from the perspective of a middle-aged teacher living in New Mexico, still concerned about social justice and heartened by the new administration and growing involvement of young people in politics and civic engagement. He admits shame and guilt about some of the excesses and violence of the radical 1960s, but maintains an enduring pride in the passion and idealism of the time. An engrossing look back at a turbulent time by an iconic figure. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“An important contribution to a growing collection of narratives from former participants in the revolutionary 1960s’ underground....deeply disturbing, though illuminating, in its unemotional matter-of-factness.” (truthdig)
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Top Customer Reviews
It is not a scholarly book; but, a life's story. I was happy that at the end he matured to understand that violent revolution will not succeed in a country like the US. However, he also did not repudiate his actions; but, neither has the US Government. To think that a violent revolution by a group of young, naïve students could take over the US is just that, naïve, even ludicrous. Youth is youth one could say.. But, the US Government at the time was also naïve and immature. Killing students for protesting ? A bit authoritarian at the time.
I have lived in Israel where one cannot avoid terrorism from either the PLO nor the Israeli government. I also lived in Germany during the end of the Baader Meinhof RAF era. Been to Ireland too. There are many parallels to the Underground and the RAF. One point that is disturbing is that many of these people never seem to fully understand the human condition. Communism can be seen as just as an enforced form of capitalism. It certainly does not solve the major issues of being human, food, shelter, protection. I am not a fan of capitalism and democracy; but it sure beats living under the Russian police. Few of the "freedom fighers" of the 60s ever come out and say, "boy, was I dumb" and the author doesn't either. Though, his last chapter shows some wisdom and maturity.
One point he does not make totally clear is how the SDS got it's finances. There are very few successful revolutions; and, those that are, are usually financed by those not taking the risk of incarceration. It is hard to believe the students of the day buying newspapers and donating were able to finance such people as the author to travel all over the country for the "Cause". I suspect there was more money involved that he indicates. Some of the safe houses he mentions are just "friends" of the revolution, willing to be imprisoned as accomplices ? That doesn't happen every day and I don't think as often as the author implies. Of course, there really could have been many willing to take the risk out of their own naivety. They were young after all.
All I am saying here is that the whole truth is still buried in the minds of those who participated. Being a leader the author has probably participated in much more that he can safely say or at least knows much more. The book is worth reading without a doubt. But, I would suggest the author secretly write the rest of the truth and have it published in his will. As a survivor of the 60s, I would love to read the rest of the story. If there isn't more, then one has to say, "boy, were you dumb."
history of the Columbia Univerisity rebellion of 1968, as well as a convincing analysis of the ultra-leftism of
the Weathermen/WUO, with considerable self-criticism. Yet the book is optomistic and hopeful, written with the
conviction that to organize and struggle against US imperial foriegn policy was then, and remains now, critically important and just.
The book begs a comparison with Bill Ayer's FUGITIVE DAYS, by another Weatherman leader. Rudd's book wins hands down
as the far more honest journal. Where Ayer's makes only vague statements about the ultra-left errors of his politics and
their very negative impact on the Vietnam anti-war movement in the United States, Rudd wields a far sharper blade, recognizing
and apologizing for his ultra-leftism, while conceding not an inch on the basic righteousness of anti-war, anti-imperialist, anti-racist political work.
This reader waits with anticipation for a follow-up book about Rudd's activism after the 1970's.