What I’ve Been Reading: Days of Rage, by Bryan Burrough

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days of rage, by bryan burroughWhat a revelation this was. This non-fiction book details leftist revolutionary terrorism in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s (1980s, you may be asking. There was leftist revolutionary activity that long after the 60s? Exactly. That’s what makes this book so fascinating).

It focuses on names that are well-known like Weatherman and the Black Panthers, veers into lesser groups like the Symbionese Liberation Army, and covers some that apparently were never discussed before like the Black Liberation Army and The Family. Within that scope, it depicts a fascinating splinter of 70s history, with these groups increasingly estranged from mainstream American politics and a mainstream conception of reality.

Burrough, I think, is a good deal more conservative than the people he’s writing about, so I’m not completely sure how to interpret his take on them. Weatherman, for instance, comes off looking terrible, like a bunch of spoiled, naive, doctrinaire college bullies eager for a chance to kill someone, and then later spoiled, delusional adults. Certainly makes you consider their legacy differently.

No matter his politics, Burrough has done tremendously deep research here and tells a compelling story. If you have any interest in hidden pockets of history, the history of the American left, or domestic terrorism, you’ll love this book.

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