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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
From an early age, Bill Ayers's desire to belong had gotten him into hot water. In the first few pages of his riveting memoir, he describes finding himself, literally, on fire, the target of a poorly built pipe bomb lobbed by a teenage friend. "A blond in a crowd of brunettes, chubby in a family of beanpoles," Bill had always felt the odd man out. But coming of age in the revolutionary '60s, he quickly learned that people fighting for a cause band together regardless of their perceived differences, and Bill's attention to such causes -- whether the focus was civil rights or his work as a peace activist -- would shape his life for years to come.
Beginning with his childhood in a well-to-do suburb of Chicago, Ayers's vivid narrative traces the fuse of his life. From his years as an underachiever and a college dropout, he lived "in the thick and sticky shadow" of the Bomb. Whether it was the atomic bombs dropped over Japan, those dropped on hamlets in Vietnam, or those he would assemble to bring attention to the issues of his day, Ayers "was born into an orgy of explosions." We learn how, from his first arrest as a protester to his debut on the FBI's Most Wanted List, Ayers somehow remained one step ahead of the explosion, his experiences providing ample fuel for his next project. What Ayers hadn't counted on, though, was the cost of such heroics. Fortunately for him, and for us, he lived to tell this very important story. (Fall 2001 Selection)