Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weathermen

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by Mark Rudd Harper 2009 SKU: 9780061472763 In 1968, Mark Rudd led the legendary occupation of five buildings at Columbia University, a dramatic act of protest against the university's support for the Vietnam War and its institutional racism. The charismatic chairman of the Columbia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society?the largest radical student organization in the United States?Rudd went on to become a national symbol of student revolt, and co-founded the Weathermen faction of SDS, which helped organize the notorious Days of Rage in Chicago in 1969. But Mark Rudd wanted revolution, seeking to end war, racism, and injustice by any means necessary?even violence. By the end of 1970, he was one of the FBI's Most Wanted?and after a string of nonlethal bombings, he went into hiding for more than seven years before turning himself in to great media fanfare. In this gripping narrative, Rudd speaks out about this tumultuous period, the role he played in its crucial events, and its aftermath.   ?Honest and funny, passionate and contrite, meticulously researched and deeply philosophical: an essential document on the ?60s.? ?Washington Post   Mark Rudd, former ?60s radical student leader and onetime fugitive member of the notorious Weather Underground, tells his compelling and engrossing story for the first time in Underground. The chairman of the SDS and leader of the 1968 student uprising at Columbia University, Rudd offers a gripping narrative of his political awakening and fugitive life during one of the most influential periods in modern U.S. history.   Praise: ?Underground is honest and funny, passionate and contrite, meticulously researched and deeply philosophical: an essential document on the ?60s. While the author hasn?t resolved all the contradictions inherent in his old urban-guerrilla guise, he confronts them admirably, ready to acknowledge the worst in himself. . . . A gem . . . Even those who condemn Rudd?s work in history can be grateful for Rudd?s work of history. ?
? Washington Post
?Rudd conveys well the festival-like joy of the springtime campus uprisings of the late 1960s . . . Rudd?s historical judgments are, to use a phrase from the era, right on.?
? Los Angeles Times
?Rudd is reflective and truthful . . . he shatters the romantic myth of the Weather Underground?
? New York Post
?A trailblazer . . . Rudd?s essential contribution is his self-portrait as a youth who persuaded others to wreck rather than create?and his snapshots of like-minded contemporaries.?
? Wall Street Journal
?In this account Rudd carefully sorts ?what was right from what was wrong? with honesty, regret and hard-won wisdom.?
? Publishers Weekly
?[A] provocative memoir . . . If you thought the right wing was in a lather over Bill Ayres, wait until its talking heads get hold of this unapologetic book, which deserves to be read and discussed.?
? Kirkus Reviews
?An anti-war lightning rod in the ?60s, Rudd still has the power in name alone to stir passion in the hearts of those who lived through the Vietnam years. This important memoir gives an eyewitness account into some of the most divisive years in American history. Rudd provides valuable insight into those years?
? Albuquerque Journal
?Moral[ly] serious . . . the value of Underground is not to be measured by the depth of its self-criticism. Rather, it is worth reading as a travel guide into hell, a story-lesson and a warning about the risks of ideology inherent in all militant activism.?
? Clay Risen, New York Observer
?Rudd?s book captures the anger and despair his generation felt regarding the war, paternalistic universities, and a system that exempted white students from the draft while feeding the poor and minorities into the meat grinder of war. . . . SDS?s descent from student rebellion to make-believe guerrilla war has been chronicled before. But Rudd?s account stands with the best of these works, deftly describing the banality of life inside the movement. Now teaching in New Mexico, Rudd retains his idealism and rebellious spirit but sees positive action and community building as the true path forward. This one?s a good read.?
? Library Journal
?[An] absorbing narrative . . . Rudd?s book has value.?
? New York Times Book Review
?Rudd is not on some flashback trip through Strawberry Fields Forever. Nor is his often-riveting new memoir an exercise in nostalgia, apologia, or retread rhetoric. It is a stark look back in candor. Rudd is searingly frank and self-critical, especially about the Weathermen?s disastrous ventures into violent Days of Rage in Chicago and bombings galore later. Those included the accidental blast in a Manhattan townhouse that killed three Weather comrades in 1970.?
? The Daily Beast
?Rudd is not on some flashback trip through Strawberry Fields Forever. Nor is his often-riveting new memoir an exercise in nostalgia, apologia, or retread rhetoric. It is a stark look back in candor. Rudd is searingly frank and self-critical, especially about the Weathermen?s disastrous ventures into violent Days of Rage in Chicago and bombings galore later.?
? The Daily Beast
?Refreshingly honest, Rudd writes about his road to radical . . . Rudd, unlike Bill Ayers, is clear about what he regrets, and what he would have done differently.?
? Annette John-Hall, Philadelphia Inquirer
?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