Troublemaker: A Memoir From the Front Lines of the Sixties

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 26, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
2 Reviews
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.
 

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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.
Twitter: wjkno1
YouTube: WJKPhD
 

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
8
Section 3
20
Section 4
30
Section 5
47
Section 6
62
Section 7
76
Section 8
91
Section 20
260
Section 21
263
Section 22
276
Section 23
294
Section 24
301
Section 25
312
Section 26
326
Section 27
331

Section 9
107
Section 10
108
Section 11
124
Section 12
140
Section 13
155
Section 14
171
Section 15
182
Section 16
197
Section 17
215
Section 18
230
Section 19
244
Section 28
338
Section 29
355
Section 30
371
Section 31
380
Section 32
390
Section 33
403
Section 34
417
Section 35
423
Section 36
435
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About the author (2011)

BILL ZIMMERMAN, who holds a doctorate in psy­chology from the University of Chicago, is one of the nation’s most experienced political consul­tants. As cofounder of the leading consulting firm Zimmerman & Markman, whose work for ballot initiatives and for organizations such as the ACLU, NRDC, and MoveOn.org has won multiple awards, he continues to advocate for social justice. He lives in Topanga, California.


From the Hardcover edition.

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