Troublemaker: A Memoir From the Front Lines of the Sixties
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 26, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
The political memoir as rousing adventure story—a sizzling account of a life lived in the thick of every important struggle of the era.
April 1973: snow falls thick and fast on the Badlands of South Dakota. It has been more than five weeks since protesting Sioux Indians seized their historic village of Wounded Knee, and the FBI shows no signs of abandoning its siege. When Bill Zimmerman is asked to coordinate an airlift of desperately needed food and medical supplies, he cannot refuse; flying through gunfire and a mechanical malfunction, he carries out a daring dawn raid and successfully parachutes 1,500 pounds of food into the village. The drop breaks the FBI siege, and assures an Indian victory.
This was not the first—or last—time Bill Zimmerman put his life at risk for the greater social good. In this extraordinary memoir, Zimmerman takes us into the hearts and minds of those making the social revolution of the sixties. He writes about registering black voters in deepest, most racist Mississippi; marching with Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago; helping to organize the 1967 march on the Pentagon; fighting the police at the 1968 Democratic convention; mobilizing scientists against the Vietnam War and the military’s misuse of their discoveries; smuggling medicines to the front lines in North Vietnam; spending time in Hanoi under U.S. bombardment; and founding an international charity, Medical Aid for Indochina, to deliver humanitarian assistance. Zimmerman—who crossed paths with political organizers and activists like Abbie Hoffman, Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, Jane Fonda, and Tom Hayden—captures a groundbreaking zeitgeist that irrevocably changed the world as we knew it.
What people are saying - Write a review
As I write in my review at Left Eye on Books, Zimmerman's book has blemishes. Ex: Bill unfairly attacks the hippies. He denigrates them as only focused on "sex, drugs, and rock and roll"- like activists were responsible adults and hippies socially irresponsible hedonists.
But, the hippies, as I knew them, were an extension of the beatnik's anti-war, anti-materialism sentiment, and rejected our society's obsession with commercialism.
The beatniks felt the loss of human value and meaning. But the hippies went beyond mere critique, and actually dropped out of society in the hope of building one more in tune with the deeper needs of the human spirit.
He also turns on hero-activist Rennie Davis, who, like me, learned to meditate from the Guru, Maharaj Ji. He taught the techniques of meditation made by the wisdom of millennia. These can fill a person, who is just sitting, with a sense of joy, excitement, and completeness that even the ecstasy of victory can never match. Somebody should tell Bill.
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.