The Weathermen. The Symbionese Liberation Army. The FALN. The Black Liberation Army. The names seem quaint now, but there was a stretch of time in America when there was on average more than one significant terrorist act in the U.S. every week. The FBI combated these groups and others as nodes in a single revolutionary underground, dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American government. Thus began a decade-long battle between the FBI and these homegrown terrorists, compellingly and thrillingly documented in Days of Rage.
From the bestselling author of Public Enemies and The Big Rich, an explosive account of the decade-long battle between the FBI and the homegrown revolutionary movements of the 1970s The Weathermen. The Symbionese Liberation Army. The FALN. The Black Liberation Army. The names seem quaint now, when not forgotten altogether. But there was a stretch of time in America, during the 1970s, when bombings by domestic underground groups were a daily occurrence. The FBI combated these groups and others as nodes in a single revolutionary underground, dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American government. The FBI’s response to the leftist revolutionary counterculture has not been treated kindly by history, and in hindsight many of its efforts seem almost comically ineffectual, if not criminal in themselves. But part of the extraordinary accomplishment of Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage is to temper those easy judgments with an understanding of just how deranged these times were, how charged with menace. Burrough re-creates an atmosphere that seems almost unbelievable just forty years later, conjuring a time of native-born radicals, most of them “nice middle-class kids,” smuggling bombs into skyscrapers and detonating them inside the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, at a Boston courthouse and a Wall Street restaurant packed with lunchtime diners—radicals robbing dozens of banks and assassinating policemen in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta. The FBI, encouraged to do everything possible to undermine the radical underground, itself broke many laws in its attempts to bring the revolutionaries to justice—often with disastrous consequences. Benefiting from the extraordinary number of people from the underground and the FBI who speak about their experiences for the first time, Days of Rage is filled with revelations and fresh details about the major revolutionaries and their connections and about the FBI and its desperate efforts to make the bombings stop. The result is a mesmerizing book that takes us into the hearts and minds of homegrown terrorists and federal agents alike and weaves their stories into a spellbinding secret history of the 1970s. From the Hardcover edition.
Days of rage provides an account of the volatile period of 1968-1975, in which home-grown terrorist groups wreaked havoc in major US cities. The FBIs response to the leftist revolutionary counterculture seems almost criminal in itself to many, but as this ground-breaking book shows, this was a period of menace where radicals were smuggling bombs into public spaces and assassinating policemen. This book takes us into the hearts and minds of home-grown terrorists and federal agents alike and weaves their stories into a spellbinding secret history of the 1970s.
Author: Jeremy Peter Varon
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2004-04-30
In this first comprehensive comparison of left-wing violence in the United States and West Germany, Jeremy Varon focuses on America's Weather Underground and Germany's Red Army Faction to consider how and why young, middle-class radicals in prosperous democratic societies turned to armed struggle in efforts to overthrow their states. Based on a wealth of primary material, ranging from interviews to FBI reports, this book reconstructs the motivation and ideology of violent organizations active during the 1960s and 1970s. Varon conveys the intense passions of the era--the heat of moral purpose, the depth of Utopian longing, the sense of danger and despair, and the exhilaration over temporary triumphs. Varon's compelling interpretation of the logic and limits of dissent in democratic societies provides striking insights into the role of militancy in contemporary protest movements and has wide implications for the United States' current "war on terrorism." Varon explores Weatherman and RAF's strong similarities and the reasons why radicals in different settings developed a shared set of values, languages, and strategies. Addressing the relationship of historical memory to political action, Varon demonstrates how Germany's fascist past influenced the brutal and escalating nature of the West German conflict in the 60s and 70s, as well as the reasons why left-wing violence dropped sharply in the United States during the 1970s. Bringing the War Home is a fascinating account of why violence develops within social movements, how states can respond to radical dissent and forms of terror, how the rational and irrational can combine in political movements, and finally how moral outrage and militancy can play both constructive and destructive roles in efforts at social change.
In the country’s changing threat environment, homegrown violent extremism (HVE) represents the next challenge in counterterrorism. Security and public policy expert Erroll Southers examines post-9/11 HVE – what it is, the conditions enabling its existence, and the community-based approaches that can reduce the risk of homegrown terrorism. Drawing on scholarly insight and more than three decades on the front lines of America’s security efforts, Southers challenges the misplaced counterterrorism focus on foreign individuals and communities. As Southers shows, there is no true profile of a terrorist. The book challenges how Americans think about terrorism, recruitment, and the homegrown threat. It contains essential information for communities, security practitioners, and policymakers on how violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in their communities and offers approaches to put security theory into practice.
Recounts how Texas oil transformed wealth and power in America through the stories of the state's four most influential oil families, tracing how they rose from modest backgrounds, shaped the government, and bankrolled the rise of modern conservatism.
Time Magazine called him "the only FBI informant known to have successfully penetrated the Weather Underground". In 1969, Larry Grathwohl stepped out of his life and into the role of an informant for the FBI. For a year, Grathwohl ran with America's most dangerous radicals. He watched them plan bombings, murders, and political assassinations. 2013 edition published with an introduction by Tina Trent.
In Public Enemies, bestselling author Bryan Burrough strips away the thick layer of myths put out by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI to tell the full story—for the first time—of the most spectacular crime wave in American history, the two-year battle between the young Hoover and the assortment of criminals who became national icons: John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Barkers. In an epic feat of storytelling and drawing on a remarkable amount of newly available material on all the major figures involved, Burrough reveals a web of interconnections within the vast American underworld and demonstrates how Hoover’s G-men overcame their early fumbles to secure the FBI’s rise to power.
Flying Close to the Sun is the stunning memoir of a white middle-class girl from Connecticut who became a member of the Weather Underground, one of the most notorious groups of the 1960s. Cathy Wilkerson, who famously escaped the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, here wrestles with the legacy of the movement, at times finding contradictions that many others have avoided: the absence of women’s voices then, and in the retelling; the incompetence and the egos; the hundreds of bombs detonated in protest which caused little loss of life but which were also ineffective in fomenting revolution. In searching for new paradigms for change, Wilkerson asserts with brave humanity and confessional honesty an assessment of her past—of those heady, iconic times—and somehow finds hope and faith in a world that at times seems to offer neither.
Author: Clara Bingham
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2016-05-31
The electrifying story of the turbulent year when the sixties ended and America teetered on the edge of revolution NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH As the 1960s drew to a close, the United States was coming apart at the seams. From August 1969 to August 1970, the nation witnessed nine thousand protests and eighty-four acts of arson or bombings at schools across the country. It was the year of the My Lai massacre investigation, the Cambodia invasion, Woodstock, and the Moratorium to End the War. The American death toll in Vietnam was approaching fifty thousand, and the ascendant counterculture was challenging nearly every aspect of American society. Witness to the Revolution, Clara Bingham’s unique oral history of that tumultuous time, unveils anew that moment when America careened to the brink of a civil war at home, as it fought a long, futile war abroad. Woven together from one hundred original interviews, Witness to the Revolution provides a firsthand narrative of that period of upheaval in the words of those closest to the action—the activists, organizers, radicals, and resisters who manned the barricades of what Students for a Democratic Society leader Tom Hayden called “the Great Refusal.” We meet Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground; Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department employee who released the Pentagon Papers; feminist theorist Robin Morgan; actor and activist Jane Fonda; and many others whose powerful personal stories capture the essence of an era. We witness how the killing of four students at Kent State turned a straitlaced social worker into a hippie, how the civil rights movement gave birth to the women’s movement, and how opposition to the war in Vietnam turned college students into prisoners, veterans into peace marchers, and intellectuals into bombers. With lessons that can be applied to our time, Witness to the Revolution is more than just a record of the death throes of the Age of Aquarius. Today, when America is once again enmeshed in racial turmoil, extended wars overseas, and distrust of the government, the insights contained in this book are more relevant than ever. Praise for Witness to the Revolution “Especially for younger generations who didn’t live through it, Witness to the Revolution is a valuable and entertaining primer on a moment in American history the likes of which we may never see again.”—Bryan Burrough, The Wall Street Journal “A gripping oral history of the centrifugal social forces tearing America apart at the end of the ’60s . . . This is rousing reportage from the front lines of US history.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “The familiar voices and the unfamiliar ones are woven together with documents to make this a surprisingly powerful and moving book.”—New York Times Book Review “[An] Enthralling and brilliant chronology of the period between August 1969 and September 1970.”—Buffalo News “[Bingham] captures the essence of these fourteen months through the words of movement organizers, vets, students, draft resisters, journalists, musicians, government agents, writers, and others. . . . This oral history will enable readers to see that era in a new light and with fresh sympathy for the motivations of those involved. While Bingham’s is one of many retrospective looks at that period, it is one of the most immediate and personal.”—Booklist
Author: Arthur M. Eckstein
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2016-10-25
Genre: Political Science
A startling history of the forlorn war between the Weather Underground and the FBI, based on interviews and 30,000 pages of previously unreleased FBI documents In the summer of 1970 and for years after, photos of Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Jeff Jones, and other members of the Weather Underground were emblazoned on FBI wanted posters. In Bad Moon Rising, Arthur Eckstein details how Weather began to engage in serious, ideologically driven, nationally coordinated political violence and how the FBI attempted to monitor, block, and capture its members—and failed. Eckstein further shows that the FBI ordered its informants inside Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to support the faction that became Weather during the tumultuous June 1969 SDS convention, helping to destroy the organization; and that the FBI first underestimated Weather’s seriousness, then overestimated its effectiveness, and how Weather outwitted them. Eckstein reveals how an obsessed and panicked President Nixon and his inner circle sought to bypass a cautious J. Edgar Hoover, contributing to the creation of the rogue Plumbers Unit that eventually led to Watergate.
Author: Jim Downs
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2016-03-01
Despite the tremendous gains of the LGBT movement in recent years, the history of gay life in this country remains poorly understood. According to conventional wisdom, gay liberation started with the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in 1969. The 1970s represented a moment of triumph—both political and sexual—before the AIDS crisis in the subsequent decade, which, in the view of many, exposed the problems inherent in the so-called “gay lifestyle”. In Stand by Me, the acclaimed historian Jim Downs rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centers in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together—as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues—to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life. As Downs shows, gay people found one another in the Metropolitan Community Church, a nationwide gay religious group; in the pages of the Body Politic, a newspaper that encouraged its readers to think of their sexuality as a political identity; at the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, the hub of gay literary life in New York City; and at theaters putting on “Gay American History,” a play that brought to the surface the enduring problem of gay oppression. These and many other achievements would be largely forgotten after the arrival in the early 1980s of HIV/AIDS, which allowed critics to claim that sex was the defining feature of gay liberation. This reductive narrative set back the cause of gay rights and has shaped the identities of gay people for decades. An essential act of historical recovery, Stand by Me shines a bright light on a triumphant moment, and will transform how we think about gay life in America from the 1970s into the present day.