David Dellinger: The Life and Times of a Nonviolent Revolutionary

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NYU Press, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 346 pages
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The year was 1969. In a Chicago courthouse, David Dellinger, one of the Chicago Eight, stood trial for conspiring to disrupt the National Democratic Convention. Dellinger, a long-time but relatively unknown activist, was suddenly, at fifty-three, catapulted into the limelight for his part in this intense courtroom drama.

From obscurity to leader of the antiwar movement, David Dellinger is the first full biography of a man who bridged the gap between the Old Left and the New Left. Born in 1915 in the upscale Boston suburb of Wakefield to privilege, Dellinger attended Yale during the Depression, where he became an ardent pacifist and antiwar activist. Rejecting his parents’ affluent lifestyle, he endured lengthy prison sentences as a conscientious objector to World War II and created a commune in northern New Jersey in the 1940s, a prototype for those to follow twenty years later.

His instrumental role in the creation of Liberation magazine in 1956 launched him onto the national stage. Writing regular essays for the influential radical monthly on the arms race and the Civil Rights movement, he earned an audience among the New Left radicals. As anti-Vietnam sentiment grew, he became, in Abbie Hoffman’s words, the father of the antiwar movement and the architect of the 1968 demonstrations in Chicago. He remained active in anti-war causes until his death on May 25, 2004 at age 88.

Vilified by critics and glorified by supporters, Dellinger was a man of contradictions: a rigid Ghandian who nonetheless supported violent revolutionary movements; a radical thinker and gifted writer forced to work as a baker to feed his large family; and a charismatic leader who taught his followers to distrust all leaders. Along the way, he encountered Eleanor Roosevelt, Ho Chi Minh, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panthers and all the other major figures of the American Left.

The remarkable story of a stubborn visionary torn between revolution and compromise, David Dellinger reveals the perils of dissent in America through the struggles of one of our most important dissenters.


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User Review  - pjsullivan - LibraryThing

This book is well done, but I prefer Dellinger’s own account of his life. Hunt fills in the gaps and provides overview, but does not supplant Dellinger’s book. Both books are worth reading. They don’t ... Read full review


The Education of a Pacifist
The Hole
A Rebel in ColdWar America
Winds of Change
The Birth of a Movement
Gandhi and Guerrilla
Disrupting the Holy Mysteries
Staying the Course
Making Peace in Vermont
Farewell Tough Guy
About the Author

The Road to Chicago

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Page 20 - ... trickling through from the teachings of the old Brahmins. Siddhartha had begun to feel the seeds of discontent within him. He had begun to feel that the love of his father and mother, and also the love of his friend Govinda, would not always make him happy, give him peace, satisfy and suffice him. He had begun to suspect that his worthy father and his other teachers, the wise Brahmins, had already passed on to him the bulk and best of their wisdom, that they had already poured the sum total of...

About the author (2006)

Andrew E. Hunt is an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of "The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War" (NYU Press, 1999).

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