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Rather academic for my prol tastes (after all the author is a university prof) but readable and understandable account of the USA's Weathermen ( and women) and Germany's Red Army Faction, both groups committed to revolutionary violence and overhrow of the capitalist state. Would like to have read more in depth about the leading characters, their operations and day to day life 'underground' but the book does give an overall picture and tries to fill in the background (Nixon, Vietnam, Cold war) that set these mostly middle class and well educated youngters on their radical and violent path. A serious study, nothing tabloid or sensational.
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on 27 July 2010
The book's first half deals with the Weather Underground in the USA, the second is the RAF in West Germany. I agree with the first reviewer is that it is a tad academic,perhaps because so many of the Weathermen and women (not so many in the RAF)were students themselves.
He draws a clear line in that the Weather Underground had some moral scruples-they never set out to kill people,and the only fatalities of their campaign were three of their own comrades in New York in 1970-and recognised the need to develop links with other groups in US society.The RAF ended up as a support group for their comrades in prison,totally alienated itself from West German society,and had few scruples about threatening or taking civilian life.
Horst Mahler,one of the founders of the RAF (now a leading light of the German far right) observed in his prison cell in the late 1970s that a group that emerged out of horror at US attacks on civilians in Vietnam ended up in 1977 by hijacking a planeload of civilians and threatening to kill them.This book does note such sentiments,but doesn't really explore them.
If you can get a cheap copy,it's worthwhile,but there are better books on both the RAF and the Weathermen.
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