Some weird praise and crazy threats!

September 14, 2013

Here are some comments earned by my last memoir, Fugitive Days. I’m girding myself for the coming barrage when Public Enemy hits the streets in October, sharing these with you now:

Bill Ayers is a total genius; he writes like Ernest Hemingway…Brilliant.  Donald Trump, newsmaker

I’m just a curious American…I’m curious to know how Bill Ayers wrote this book. Sarah Palin, curious American and serious troublemaker

A serious student of literature, Ayers has written thoughtfully on the role of the first person narrator in the construction of a memoir…To be sure, there are other postmodernists in Chicago, but few who write as stylishly and as intelligibly as Ayers. Jack Cashill, author, Deconstructing Obama

[W]allows in familiar Marxist incitement. David Horowitz, poster boy for New Left apostasy

[Ayers committed] absolutely, I mean literally, incoherent and reckless acts in the name of nonsensical beliefs. Todd Gitlin, self-appointed CEO of the Sixties, Inc.

An unrepentant New Leftist. Alan Wolfe, scholar

[Ayers was] play-acting with violence. New York Times, newspaper of record.

And more of what people are saying about me:


He’s that unrepentant domestic terrorist…Bill O’Reilly,

You are a despicable, sordid sack of elitist shit. Anon. Houston, Texas

I’m coming to get you and when I do, I’ll water-board you.

The poster boy for un-Americanism…Sean Hannity

Resign all and leave the country or you will be whacked. Joe Americo, Boca Raton, Florida

May you die a long slow and painful death. I’d kill you with my bare hands given the opportunity. Anon. Fresno, California

Please come to South Mississippi and speak…Keep staying public.  I would love to give you what you deserve. AND I WOULD NOT BE STOPPED.  (

My friends and I will pay a visit shortly. We’ve got the address. (


Advance Notices on Public Enemy

September 13, 2013

Angela Davis:

With incisive humor, Bill Ayers’ captivating memoir reveals that behind the fearsome “public enemy” lies a deeply dedicated parent, compassionate teacher, and principled revolutionary activist, representing this country’s best hopes for a democratic future. 


Publishers Weekly:  

[A] witty and spirited follow-up to Fugitive Days. . . . Among the book’s many edifying elements, including insight into the inner life and deep humanity of a man portrayed as a “cartoon character,” are the author’s conversational style and whimsical sense of humor. . . Through humor and self-reflection, the book offers a complex portrait of Ayers, including his experiences as an early education specialist, professor, husband (to former Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn), father of three, author, and activist. . .Often times riotously funny, yet also plainspoken and serious, this is a memoir of impressive range.


Amy Goodman host/executive producer Democracy Now! :

In Public Enemy Bill Ayers writes eloquently of the profound challenges, the joys, and the toll of embracing a deep, lifelong commitment to social change.  He has confronted power for more than half a century, in the civil rights movement, against the Vietnam War, living underground for over a decade, and during his long career as a respected educator. This deeply personal memoir spans the gap from the ’60s to the present day, framing the current, so-called ‘war on terror’ in a critical, urgent light.

Junot Diaz:

The legendary Ayers is at his spellbinding best in Public Enemy—a brilliant, spirited document of a revolutionary life in our not-so-revolutionary age.  One of the most compelling insightful memoirs of the year.  


Aleksander Hemon:

Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident is an inspiring, ripping read. Apart from being a committed activist, engaging thinker, brilliant parent, Bill Ayers is a great storyteller. If only our true enemies were anything like that!


Adam Mansbach:

Bill Ayers is a master teacher, a master storyteller, and a clarion-clear voice of conscience and commitment. Here he is, standing calmly at the center of the never-ending maelstrom, a Public Enemy trying to make meaning and change and sense of it all.


BOOKLIST (June Sawyers):

This compelling sequel to Ayers’ Fugitive Days—published on September 11, 2001—describes the author’s chaotic life after he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, became the topic and target of conversation during Barack Obama’s first run for the presidency. Accused of being a domestic terrorist, Ayers, a popular professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, learned to navigate his new role as the nation’s “public enemy.”

He begins his story in April 2008, when he was watching the presidential primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Obama with a dozen of his graduate students, and one of the debate moderators, George Stephanopoulos, asked Obama to explain his “friendship” with Ayers, a member of the radical 1960s Weather Underground. Ayers describes the nightmares that ensued: hate mail, death threats, cancelled lectures, being denied entry into Canada. He owns up to his activities as an “unrepentant terrorist” with the Underground but points out no one was killed or harmed: “Our notoriety, then and now, outstripped our activity.” Demonized and blacklisted, Ayers maintains not only his sanity but also his humor. When a reporter notes that he doesn’t look like a real Weatherman, Ayers laughs and asks her what a real Weatherman looks like.

A wonderful homage to free speech.Image

Tour Schedule…Come on Out, Please and Thank You!

September 12, 2013

Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident

Tour Schedule, October/November 2013



Tuesday, October 8th 

7:00pm – B&N at the University of Michigan

530 S. State Street

Ann Arbor, MI


Wednesday, October 9th

6:00pm – 57th Street Books, event at the International House/ University of Chicago

1414 E 59th Street

Chicago, IL


Thursday, October 10th

7:30pm – Skylight Books

1818 N. Vermont Avenue (between Hollywood Blvd & Franklin)

Los Angeles, CA


Wednesday, October 16th

7:00 pm – People’s Book Cooperative

804 E. Center Street

Milwaukee, WI


Thursday, October 17th

5:30pm – 6:30pm: Pre-event Reception

7:00pm – Wisconsin Book Festival

Capitol Theater

Overture Center for the Arts

201 State Street

Madison, WI


Friday, October 18th

7:30pm – Women and Children First

5233 N Clark Street

Chicago, IL


Tuesday, October 22nd

7:00pm – Common Good Books

38 S. Snelling Avenue

St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN


Wednesday, October 23rd

7:00pm – Left Bank Books

399 N. Euclid Avenue

St. Louis, MO


Friday, October 25th

6:00pm – Octavia Books

513 Octavia Street

New Orleans, LA

Wednesday, October 30th

7:00pm – Elliot Bay Book Company

1521 10th Avenue

Seattle, WA


Thursday, October 31st

7:30pm – Powell’s City of Books

1005 W. Burnside Street

Portland, OR


Friday, November 1st

7:00 pm Tsunami Books

2585 Willamette Street

Eugene, Oregon  


Wednesday, November 6th

7:30 pm – KPFA Radio Event

The Hillside Club

2286 Cedar Street

Berkeley, CA


Thursday, November 7th

7:30 pm – The Booksmith

1644 Haight Street

San Francisco, CA


Tuesday, November 19th

7:30 pm – Book Thug Nation,100 North 3rd Street, Brooklyn

Event venue: indieScreen

289 Kent Avenue

Brooklyn, NY


Wednesday, November 20th

7:00pm – Barnes & Noble, Upper West Side

2289 Broadway at 82nd Street

New York, NY


Thursday, November 21st

7:00pm – Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse

30 W. North Avenue

Baltimore, MD


Friday, November 22nd

7:00pm – Politics & Prose Bookstore

5015 Connecticut Ave NW  

Washington, D.C.


Saturday, November 23rd

6:00 – 7:30pm – Busboys & Poets

5th & K location (1025 5th Street NW)

Cullen Room

Washington, D.C.


Sunday, November 24th

Time TBA – Miami Book Fair

300 N.E. Second Ave. #4102-1

Miami, FL


Monday, November 25th

7:00 pm – Harvard Book Store

1256 Massachusetts Ave.

Cambridge, MA


Tuesday, November 26th

7:00pm – Broadside Bookshop

247 Main Street

Northampton, MA

Letter to a Liberal Hawk

September 11, 2013

The good news is that the choice is not between dithering and unleashing US military power. There are ALWAYS alternatives.
If you support US military action, what exactly are you for? Taking out gas supplies? It’s super-dangerous and not even on the table. Degrading Assad’s air force? It will matter little. Arming Al Qaeda or the other fundamentalist fighters? I doubt it. Invasion? Occupation? How will you know when we’re done?
Why not go to the UN? Putin will block anything, you say. So what? Make the world forum a bully pulpit. Organize! This also makes sense in the long run since the next humanitarian atrocity is as predictable as rain. Why aren’t you thinking ahead to the building blocks of global order and sanity? For example, get your fucking government to join the International Criminal Court, submit to its authority, and refer violators there.
There are a thousand steps to take now—and if you fail to take them, or even try, the next set of videos will have you once more hauling out the heavy stuff.
Last week you were urgent for US violence to begin. I urged you to think of 100 action alternatives that would not be US bombs. Here’s one you or I might have thought of last week, but didn’t: Syria could put all its chemical weapons under international control. You didn’t think of it even though it was there to be thought of. It might prove useless, but OK: now think of 99 more.
The point is you imagination is being eclipsed by the war mongers and the liberal-hawks. Resist!
Your historical references actually prove my point, not yours. Take Rwanda—the UN generals on the ground begged France or GB or the US to jam Radio Rwanda. It was a non-violent partial solution to a genocide—estimates are that hundreds of thousands of lives might have been spared. I guess “we don’t do pinpricks;” the masters of war need to break bigger things.
Now, please get busy with 99 non-violent steps the US could take, and 98 steps (I already gave you 2) that will make the next crisis more actionable, the response more effective.

Beware of our Liberal Hawks

September 10, 2013

The Masters of War are an easy crowd to understand because they play a single note: Invade, Strike, Bomb, Break Things Up! There’s no problem too large or too small for a laser-guided missile.

The Liberal Hawks and the Chicken Hawks are for more interesting, and even fun to watch if the consequences of their dishonest self-delusions were not so deadly–they trumpet their good intentions and their high moral standards everywhere as they tie themselves into knots pushing for war. Against all evidence they tell us they are certain that this proposed strike will stop the use of chemical weapons, send a message to Iran and Korea, and make Americans safer.

See if you can follow the twisty logic of this one—promoted by Jonathan Alter, Charles Blow, and several of the MSNBC crowd: The president was right to go to Congress for authorization to strike Syria; the Constitution requires it since only Congress can declare war; Congress must now vote yes on authorization or no future president will ever again ask permission; voting “no” on this war guarantees that the executive will brush Congress and the Constitution aside. So why exactly do we have Congress and the Constitution, Jonathan?

Coming October 8, 2013

September 9, 2013

Coming October 8, 2013

PUBLIC ENEMY: Confessions of an American Dissident

Syria to Strike the US!

September 8, 2013

President Assad of Syria announced yesterday that he had authorized limited missile strikes against the United States of America. “The United States has consistently violated international law and civilized standards of behavior,” he said. “It has gathered the greatest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction ever assembled, and it is in fact the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons. It has unleashed drone strikes against at least seven other nations, murdering thousands—it has even used drones to kill its own people. And the US has routinely employed torture, a practice that has been condemned and outlawed for decades—it has even tortured its own citizens.”

He explained that Syria had no territorial ambitions, that there would be no Syrian boots on the ground, and that his goals did not include regime change.

“There comes a time when the international community must stand up and send a message that some things will not be tolerated. If we fail to send that message today we can be sure the US will be emboldened to use drones and torture in the future. We encourage our allies—anyone there? Anyone at all?—to join us, but if Syria is the only country with the moral clarity to act, we will act alone.”

When reminded that the UN Charter and international law forbade any nation from attacking any other sovereign nation without UN approval or “an imminent attack on its territory” he offered a one word response in English: “Duh!”