From the best-selling 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 40 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 US 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.
©2015 Bryan Burrough (P)2015 Penguin Audio
This book was very eye opening. It's a very different historical perspective to what I knew from pop cultural histories of the 60s and 70s and helped me to understand how the right wing hysteria over all and any progressive liberal ideas was founded. It's also fascinating to see how the extreme left wing and extreme progressives talked themselves into an ideological trap where they justified their terroristic tactics to themselves. The narrative is very clearly laid out and explains how political and ideological developments led groups into insurgency.
"Amazing treatment of tough history"
No other book has the fine detail of every single group and radical action of the period. The author treats the victims of the violence of the era with great respect and empathy and exposes the fraud and duplicity of many of the groups at hand. He also gives chilling details of those groups that were not just playing. A must for anyone interested in the 1970s. Ray Porter is an outstanding reader.
"Great book on a little-discussed chapter of American culture"
Great book on the after effects of the 60s movements with which we are so familiar.
"Great book about a much forgotten time"
This book is sort of a non-political look into a truly unique time in American history that is all but forgotten to anyone who didn't actually live through it. And, even then, most have forgotten. Really well written and read.
"Fantastic can't believe this all happened and they get a slap on the hands!!!!"
Great read/listen and these are the professors in the colleges/universities now teaching our kids go figure
"some rumors goin 'round, someone's underground..."
"And there's some rumors going 'round, someone's underground" The Eagles, "Witchy Woman," 1972
This is THE new treatise on the radical left of the 1970s, including the Weatherman from early 1970 to 1972, the Black Liberation Army from the Spring of 1971 to 1973, the Weather Underground in 1973, the Symbionese Liberation Army from November 1973 to 1974 and the FALN of the late 1970s , the last being the communist organization fighting for Puerto Rican "independence." This book is a thorough review of these organizations and the people behind them, some of whom were imprisoned and some who have escaped the authorities until this day. The explosives used in the bombings were mostly ineffective, but killed innocent people. I don't know that many of those responsible are truly remorseful. As the book captures, a lot of these "radicals" had a savior complex.
I think the author did as best he could with the materials he had. Mr. Burrough certainly illuminated the reasons underlying the formation of these terrorist groups - it was more due to racism than the war in Vietnam and most of the members of the primarily white factions were liberal rich kids. Yet, I found the book lacking as a compelling read in the nature of the best historical literature of late.
If you came of age during the 1970s though, and have memories of the evening news reports of a new bombing every few weeks and surreal names like Symbionese and the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, I recommend this in-depth history of a turbulent time in our nation's past.
"Incredible forgotten history of the terrorist left!"
First and most important, the reader is fantastic make the book an easy listen. Second, the author goes out of his way to give the point of view of the radicals that were doing the bombing, making this a history not a political rant. Third, the scope of the terror unleashed, the deranged and unrepentant views of the participants will leave you wondering what they've been up to while at "peace" and what would happen if a new generation were so inclined. Scary but fascinating-I highly recommend!
"Get up and change it yourself !!"
What a terrific insider view of the days of rage. I lived those times and knew not why all this was happening. In hindsight, they were ahead of the times...and so it remains. Life has no remote, get up and change it yourself!!
"Ray Porter is tha bomb!"
the Coen brother should make a movie about the SLA chapters alone as a farce leading into a horrific tragedy.
"Amazing how so many bombings got so little attention"
Well narrated! A good, full history of pre-9/11 terrorism in the US. The public reaction to the endless bombings is quite interesting. Begs the question what would citizens and the 24hr news stations do if it happened today?
"Glory at times and very detailed."
Maybe 3 and a half stars would better. This minutely researched tome tells you everything you want to know about these criminals who polite society has infuratingly embraced. Won't give the details but it is ironic who came through it smelling like a rose and who had to pay the price. As Mick Jagger once asked "did we really want to have peace and love or was it just what was in fashion at the time"? You could say the same thing about supposed radicals who became successful in the system they had professed hatred for
Packed with details and low on judgements this is a a fascinating account of a different age of strife. Well worth listening to twice.
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