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Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aa terrific memoir!, May 31, 2009
This review is from: Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Anti-War Movement (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book, an exciting, very moving, fact-filled inside look at the anti-war movement of the 1960's, Oglesby's very important part of that movement, and its tragic demise. Oglesby doesn't say much about his actual emotional response to his meteoric rise as one of the main spokespersons of SDS--which must have been exhilarating--and the heartache he must have felt at seeing SDS being destroyed by government infiltration and attacks, the seizing of power by the violence-advocating Weathermen, the death of three close friends who were killed by their own bomb, and hearing his own South Carolinian family mouthing racist, right-wing nonsense. But one can read between the lines and he comes across as a rather humble, fair-minded, eloquent person who was able to tolerate complex ideas. He describes meeting and working with people like Sartre and de Beauvoir; debating US senators ; and giving anti-war talks all over the world. What Oglesby attempted to do, which comes across very clearly, and which is similar to what Obama attempts to do today, is to steer a path between the extremes of left and right, and avoid their narrow, anti-democratic positions while, at the same time, attempting to understand their concerns. It is understandable why he wrote a play called "The Peacemaker," where the hero is a man who attempted to intervene and bring an end to the tragic Hatfield-McCoy conflict.

I was moved almost to tears by his poetic description, on the last page, of the ravens who are flying, seemingly with great relish, at the windy aftermath of a hurricane in Martha's Vineyard, where he had rented a house in 1975. He started the book by describing the raven in the Bible as a better bird then the dove at dealing with the hawks. And, at the end of the book, he says:

"Ours was a movement of ravens. . .a great flocking and soaring to and fro in the big storm of the American sixties. Sometimes we could really fly. When we crashed, it was from an enormous height."
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Review Details

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S. Tobin
(REAL NAME)   

Location: West Linn, Oregon USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,890,469