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Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissidentby Bill Ayers
Synopses & Reviews
In this sequel to Fugitive Days, Ayers charts his life after the Weather Underground, when he becomes the GOP’s flaunted “domestic terrorist,” a “public enemy.”
Labeled a "domestic terrorist" by the McCain campaign in 2008 and used by the radical right in an attempt to castigate Obama for "pallin' around with terrorists," Bill Ayers is in fact a dedicated teacher, father, and social justice advocate with a sharp memory and even sharper wit. Public Enemy tells his story from the moment he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, emerged from years on the run and rebuilt their lives as public figures, often celebrated for their community work and much hated by the radical right. In the face of defamation by conservative media, including a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed solely at demonizing Ayers, and in spite of frequent death threats, Bill and Bernardine stay true to their core beliefs in the power of protest, demonstration, and deep commitment. Ayers reveals how he has navigated the challenges and triumphs of this public life with steadfastness and a dash of good humor — from the red carpet at the Oscars, to prison vigils and airports (where he is often detained and where he finally "confesses" that he did write Dreams from My Father), and ultimately on the ground at Grant Park in 2008 and again in 2012.
"In this witty and spirited follow-up to Fugitive Days, Weather Underground cofounder Ayers chronicles his return to society after years on the lam as well as life after being branded a 'terrorist' by Sarah Palin during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, an accusation that led to rampant death threats. Among the book's many edifying elements, including insight into the inner life and deep humanity of a man portrayed as a 'cartoon character,' is the author's conversational style and whimsical sense of humor. After the election, Ayers sent Palin a note 'suggesting that we launch a talk show together called 'Palling Around with Sarah and Bill.' He also hilariously chronicles his conversation with right-wing blogger Ann Leary as to whether he was the real author of Obama's memoir Dreams from My Father. Through humor and self-reflection, the book offers a complex portrait of Ayers, including his experiences as an early education specialist, professor, husband (to former Weather Underground leader Bernardine Dohrn), father of three, author, and activist. Readers will likely agree with television host Stephen Colbert that Ayers is 'a sixties radical who planted a bomb in the Capitol Building and then went on to even more heinous crimes by becoming a college professor.' Oftentimes riotously funny, yet also plainspoken and serious, this is a memoir of impressive range." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“The legendary Bill Ayers is at his spellbinding best in Public Enemy — a brilliant, spirited document of a revolutionary life in our not-so-revolutionary age. One of the most compelling insightful memoirs of the year.” Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author
"An inspiring, ripping read. Apart from being a committed activist, engaging thinker, brilliant parent, Bill Ayers is a great storyteller." Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Lazarus Project
About the Author
Bill Ayers is the author of the acclaimed and controversial memoir Fugitive Days and many books on education, including To Teach and A Kind and Just Parent. He is the founder of the Small Schools Workshop and was Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He lives in Hyde Park, IL.
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