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Posted January 4, 2014
Public Enemy is a book for political true believers of all strip
Public Enemy is a book for political true believers of all stripes across the national and global stage. Building on a literary foundation that represents some of best crafted prose of the year, Ayers offers much to savor. He takes us to venues near and far, introducing us to friends and political celebrities, new acquaintances and a few birds of a very different feather while imbedding homilies on the ideals, principles of justice, democracy and work for peace we all seek to sustain.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
But Bill Ayers' memoir is more than politics writ large. I really appreciated the day to day details of Bill and Bernadine Dohrn raising their young family in the 80's while reminding us of what's is most important in nurturing healthy, self-actualizing and socially responsible children.
Through numerous encounters Ayers tells the lessons of men and women, students and children across the generations who inspired as well as challenged him to stick to his better instincts. Among the many lessons, I loved the section on Mike Klonsky, a long time Ayers' friend and Chicago education activist who reminds Bill that resistance to those seeking to silence all of our voices is the real issue each of us is confronting. When Bill thanks Mike for defending him by refusing to participate in an education conference which has barred Bill, Mike sternly replies, "Defending you? I wasn't defending you, I was defending myself. . . I am as radical as you are . . . . "
Then, there is principled commitment of the people at Millersville University who welcome and provide space for Bill when so many liberals ran for cover in face of the national discourse condemning our so-called 'unrepentant terrorist'. As a historian and aging activist I also loved the importance Ayers finds for honoring and learning from our elder activists like 90 year old , legendary Greek dissident Manolis Glezos.
For all of us who have stood up to the threats and actions of those in power who have tried to intimidate and silence our principled voices in the daily political grind of living in and challenging the existing order, Pubic Enemy offers welcomed sustenance, often even good humor, and for certain needed energy to keep us moving forward. Thanks Bill.