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Troublemaker: A Memoir from the Front Lines of the Sixtiesby Bill Zimmerman
Synopses & 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.
From the Hardcover edition.
In this spellbinding memoir, Bill Zimmerman relates his many adventures in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the sixties and offers invaluable lessons on the art of effective protest for today’s activists.
In Troublemaker, Zimmerman vividly describes registering black voters in Mississippi, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr., organizing for the March on the Pentagon, protesting at the Chicago Democratic convention, and flying food to protesting Indians at Wounded Knee. He relates how he abandoned his career as a scientist to prevent military misuse of his research, then smuggled medicines to North Vietnam, established an international charity that rebuilt a Vietnamese hospital bombed by Nixon, and helped lead the grassroots lobbying campaign that finally ended the war. Breaking down the complex strategies and tactics of the antiwar movement, Zimmerman provides an invaluable look at the sixties and its continuing relevance today.
About the Author
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.
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