Troublemaker: A Memoir From the Front Lines of the Sixties

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9780385533485: Troublemaker: A Memoir From the Front Lines of the Sixties

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.

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Troublemaker: the political memoir as rousing adventure story--a sizzling account of a life lived in the thick of the battles that defined America's revolutionary epoch.
 
 
April 1973: snow falls thick and fast on the Badlands of South Dakota five weeks after protesting Sioux Indians seized the historic village of Wounded Knee. With the FBI laying siege, Bill Zimmerman, flying a crippled airplane, leads a three-plane formation through gunfire. His daring dawn raid defies the government and successfully parachutes 1,500 pounds of food to the Indians, breaking the siege and assuring an Indian victory.
 
At the dawn of the sixties, angered by the vicious treatment of blacks in the South and the savage war in Viet Nam, Zimmerman, like so many others, struggled to find the appropriate moral response to a government acting immorally. He abandoned a successful scientific career to prevent military misuse of his research, then worked his way to the vanguard of the movements of the sixties.  In this extraordinary memoir, he reveals the complex strategies that drove the antiwar movement, explains its offensive and defensive tactics, and argues convincingly that the struggles of the sixties were both moral and patriotic and may yet have important lessons for us today.

Zimmerman writes vividly of registering black voters in deepest most dangerous 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 and at Washington's Mayday demonstrations in 1971; mobilizing the scientific community against the war; smuggling medicines to North Viet Nam; filming the bombing of civilians in Hanoi; founding an international charity, Medical Aid for Indochina, that rebuilt a large hospital bombed by Nixon; and helping to organize the grassroots lobbying that finally ended the war.  Crossing paths with the famous political organizers of the era, Zimmerman captures the zeitgeist that irrevocably changed American society and politics as we knew them.

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. He lives in Topanga, California.

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