In Fugitive Days, Ayers tells the real story of the defining events of the radical ’60s. The book is an eyewitness account of a young pacifist who helped found one of the most radical political organizations in U.S. history, and who consequently lived for ten years as a fugitive. In a new era of antiwar activism and suppression of protest, Fugitive Days is more poignant and relevant than ever.
“[Ayers’s] memoir is a breath of fresh air in this self-absorbed age. Ayers discusses his reservations about the use of violence to achieve an end to violence (reservations he held then as well), but he is unrepentant in believing that . . . right-minded people have an obligation to resist unjust wars. . . . There are many lessons still to be learned from such narratives. Recommended.”
—David Keymer, Library Journal
“[A] gripping and provocative story . . . What is most remarkable about this dramatic and revelatory personal and social history are the always urgent questions it raises about compassion and freedom, responsibility and community, and the conundrum of how to bring about much-needed change.”
—Booklist, starred review
“A challenging, moving, and troubling account . . . Ayers writes well, lyrically, passionately.”
—Andrea Behr, San Francisco Chronicle
“A memoir that is, in effect, a deeply moving elegy to all those young dreamers who tried to live decently in an indecent world. Ayers provides a tribute to those better angels of ourselves.”
—Studs Terkel, author of Working and The Good War
“With considerable wit, no small amount of remorse, and an anger that smolders still across the decades, Bill Ayers tells the story of his quintessentially American trip through the 1960s. That it is written in a consistently absorbing style with many passages of undiluted brilliance only adds to its appeal.
—Thomas Frank, author of One Market Under God and What’s the Matter with Kansas?
“A gripping account . . . Ayers describes well the deep emotions that inflamed the ’60s.”
—John Patrick Diggins, Los Angeles Times
“This is a precious book, not simply because it offers a gripping personal account of the primal American suspense story of life on the run, but, more important, because it recreates a critical point of view and way of thinking that we seem, even a few decades later, barely able to recall.”
—Scott Turow, author of Ordinary Heroes and Ultimate Punishment
“It’s been a long time since American political culture last leftward . . . Extremists of the left have all but disappeared, while extremists of the right are as common as mushrooms after rain . . . Ayers has a knack for capturing the spirit of his times . . . It’s a fascinating story.”
—Jean Dubail, Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Finally, here is an irresistibly readable book that answers the question, How did a nice suburban boy go from the ordinary pleasures of his class to the Days of Rage and beyond? Bill Ayers not only makes this exalting and painful journey comprehensible, he peoples it with sympathetic family, friends, and lovers, and moves us with his candor.”
—Rosellen Brown, author of Before and After and Half a Heart
“Terrific . . . This memoir rings of hard-learned truth and integrity and is an important contribution to literature on 1960s culture and American radicalism.”
“What makes Fugitive Days unique is its unsparing detail and its marvelous human coherence and integrity. Bill Ayers’s America and his family background, his education, his political awakening, his anger and involvement, his anguished re-emergence from the shadows: all these are rendered in their truth without a trace of nostalgia or ‘second thinking.’ For anyone who cares about the sorry mess we are in, this book is essential, indeed necessary, reading.”
—Edward W. Said, author of Reflections on Exile and Out of Place
“This remarkable memoir gives us the visceral experience of being on the run. Ayers writes with eloquence and irony. This is one man’s amazingly honest, authentic, and gripping testament—and a helluva story it makes.”
—Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait of My Body
“A wild and painful ride in the savage years of the late sixties. A very good book about a terrifying time in America.”
—Hunter S. Thompson, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hell’s Angels
“For anyone who wants to think hard about the social conflagration the Vietnam War produced in the U.S., and more generally about a citizen’s obligations in troubled times, Ayers’s powerful, morally charged account of a life and a society in the political balance is provocative reading.”
—David Farber, Chicago Tribune
Links to purchase:
Find it at a local independent bookstore: http://www.indiebound.org/hybrid?filter0=fugitive+days+activist
That pretty well sums up a central function of every government on earth: conservative and liberal, reactionary and progressive, authoritarian, democratic, fascist and socialist and royal. The only question is, who should be taxed, how much, and where should the collective wealth then be spent? “Cutting taxes” is the battle cry of every politician, a knee-jerk reaction to convention and a dishonest bow to some imagined base. The truth is every government will tax and every government will spend, and they must. We all want the water to run when we turn the faucet on; we all want the bridge to stand as we cross it; we all want the sewers to do their job.
In a democracy, we should not only openly discuss the truth of taxing and spending, but we should insist on transparency on the big question of who is being taxed and where those taxes get spent. Let the people decide whether to fund war or education, incarceration or social security, militarization or health care. Straight up.
Studs Terkel, rabble-rouser, activist, chronicler of the uncommonly common, artist-in-residence, peacenik, gad-fly, listener, died at 96 at his home here on Halloween. Studs was a singular Chicago character in this wildly diverse world, someone who lived fully through his own American century– remember, he was red-baited before he was celebrated. Studs embodied the democratic spirit: wide-awake, generous, critical and hopeful, skeptical and engaged. Lover of life, gentle champion of the outcast, friend to thousands and ally to all, we were blessed to have him. We need to try to love one another as hard as we can for as long as we can, for it’s all we’ve got. So long, Studs.