By the Light of Burning Dreams: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution

David Talbot and Margaret Talbot. Harper, $28.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-282039-6
Charismatic but flawed figures dominate this vibrant portrait of 1960s radical movements. Salon founder David Talbot (The Devil’s Chessboard) and his sister, New Yorker scribe Margaret Talbot (The Entertainer), profile well-known leaders of Vietnam-era liberation groups, including Black Panthers Bobby Seale and Huey Newton, whose strategy of armed confrontation with police devolved into criminality; Heather Booth, founder of the underground abortion services collective Jane; United Farm Workers chief Cesar Chavez, whose tactics of nonviolence, fasting, and boycotts curdled into an authoritarian spiritual cult; Craig Rodwell, who raised the cry of “Gay Power!” at the Stonewall riot; and American Indian Movement activists Dennis Banks and Russell Means, who held off federal agents at the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee. The authors duly delve into the period’s excesses and indulge in a few of their own, speculating, for example, that Beatle John Lennon was assassinated as part of a government conspiracy. Still, their vivid depictions of the era’s mix of revolutionary organizing and heady breakthroughs—at New York’s first Gay Pride Parade, “marchers strode up Sixth Avenue arm in arm, three or four across; some practically danced, spinning around, half delirious, half determined”—make for an exhilarating, inspiring outing. Agent: Sloan Harris, ICM Partners. (June)
Reviewed on : 04/09/2021
Release date: 05/11/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-282041-9
Paperback - 978-0-06-309043-9
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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