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Born in 1939, journalist and biographer Horowitz (The Fondas, 1992; with Peter Collier, The Roosevelts, 1994; etc.) here turns in a study of intellectual development in a troubled time. He writes lovingly, but with some exasperation, of having been brought up by two Communist Party minor operatives; of a father physically and emotionally scarred by his own impoverished childhood, blacklisted and forced to leave teaching in the 1950s; of a mother who was trained as a lawyer but worked as a typing instructor, fearful of competing for work during the Great Depression. Horowitz continued their revolutionary tradition through the '60s and '70s, finally rejecting the left during the beleaguered Carter presidency. Along the way he recounts his years as an antiwar-movement leader and journalist (he was an editor at Ramparts magazine) and as an active sympathizer of the Black Panthers, with whom he later broke. Horowitz traces his disaffection to multiple causes, including the lunatic acts of violent groups like the Weather Underground and the lunatic rhetoric of the late-era Huey Newton, who called for the extermination of the "fascist insects" who stood in his way. He protests, however, that he did not, as one writer has charged, "escape into conservatism," and that, like Norman Podhoretz, he had to accept the label "neoconservative" because his preferred term, "liberal," had been coopted by the left. Horowitz is usually generous in his description of peers in the movement, although he clearly dislikes Tom Hayden and Todd Gitlin, and he is more likely to engage in self-criticism than to deride those who, in his view, have not yet seen the light.
Regardless of one's opinion on his present politics, Horowitz's searching reminiscences are a valuable contribution to the literature of dissent.
Posted March 28, 2012
This is an extremely good book that illustrates how leftist views are more of a misguided faith than a viable alternative to a free representative republic.
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Posted December 10, 2011
I read this book about 10 years ago on a whim because, at a glance, his story seemed compelling. From growing up in a communist commune in the '50s, working for the Black Panthers in the '60s, to becoming a conservative in the 80s is quite the change. I couldn't put this book down and lent it to several friends and family members and they loved it as well. I very highly recommend it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2007
'radical son' is the amazing autiobiogrphy of david horowitz. he was a former communist who involved very deeply in the radical elements of the party and went so far as to organize protests and I was very fasinated to learn about how mr horowitz was able to do a 180 from the communist party and how this arthur was able to learn to be a conservative republican and vote for reagan. it was very intresting to stop from the communist party.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 22, 2002
David Horowitz entered this world as a 'red diaper baby,' the son of two American Communists. He was an intellectual leader of the New Left in the 1950s and 1960s and became heavily involved with the Black Panthers.<p> Horowitz's parents were betrayed by Khruschev's 'Secret Speech' in which he admitted the excesses of Stalin, and Horowitz was determined to avoid placing himself in a similar position in which he could be betrayed.<p> He details the tactics of the New Left, showing how it was more important to advance the Movement than it was to use honest arguments. Horowitz's own disillusionment came when he knew of a murder committed by the Black Panthers which was not properly investigated or prosecuted. He moved to Right, voting for Reagan in 1984.<p> I find this book's portrayal of the New Left to be disturbing. The success of the American political system ultimately depends on the parties (in the broad sense, including, but not limited to, the two major political Parties) acting in good faith. Horowitz documents that the New Left, the Communists, and their Fellow Travelers have not done so.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 30, 2010
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