Let It Burn!: The Philadelphia Tragedy

Michael Boyette, Author McGraw-Hill/Contemporary $0 (314p) ISBN 978-0-8092-4543-7
On May 13, 1985 the Philadelphia headquarters of MOVE, a radical black organization, was destroyed by a bomb dropped from a police helicopter; in the explosion and subsequent fire, 11 members of MOVE, including five children, died and 61 homes were destroyed. Michael Boyette served on the grand jury that heard testimony against Mayor Wilson Goode and police commissioner Gregore Sambor, but did not indict them, and in this compelling account the authors, husband and wife, present a history and analysis of the movement. Founded by the virtually illiterate John Africa, MOVE preached a philosophy of uncontaminated nature--pure air and water and uncooked food, for instance--and a reverence for life, including the rats and cockroaches that infested their headquarters. Founded in the 1970s, the group had its first confrontation with authority in 1978, when a police officer was killed in a siege and several MOVE members were charged with murder. MOVE then became militant, disrupting the neighborhood to the point that the city was forced to take action, argue the authors, who convincingly conclude that the 1985 tragedy was caused more by official bungling than by malevolence. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 364 pages - 978-1-937868-32-1
Open Ebook - 491 pages - 978-1-937868-33-8
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