by Bommi Baumann
Arsenal Pulp Press
1975, 1977, 1981, 2000, 2006
How It All Began is the personal testimony of Michael "Bommi" Baumann, a man who, in the late 1960s and early '70s, was a member of the June 2nd Movement, one of the most spectacular urban guerrilla organizations in West Berlin. Of this book, Baumann said: "Others should understand why people take the road of armed struggle, how they come to it, how the seeds are planted, and what the emotions behind it are, what kind of considerations and psychic preconditions are needed to overcome the fear involved."
But Baumann, ultimately, had to make a choice: between violence and resistance. He renounced violence when he left the June 2nd Movement in 1972.
The original German edition, Wie Alles Anfing, was seized by security police when it appeared in 1975. The resulting trial and publicity raised an international outcry and the book ended up being republished in German and translated into six languages.
In an age of public protests-against corporate greed, against free trade agreements, and for social justice-How It All Began provides a fascinating glimpse into the thinking behind urban struggle, and the consequences of action.
As Baumann himself said, "Violence is a perfectly adequate means, I never had any hangups about it."
The first English version of How It All Began was published by Arsenal in 1977 and updated in 1981. Long out of print, it has been re-issued with a new cover, making it available to readers once again.