The Company You Keep
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The Company You Keep

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Set against the rise and fall of the radical antiwar group the Weather Underground, The Company You Keep is a sweeping American saga about sacrifice, the ecstatic righteousness of youth, and the tension between political ideals and family loyalties. When Jason Sinai, one of the last Vietnam-era fugitives still wanted on murder charges for a robbery gone wrong in 1974, enco...more
Published April 17th 2012 by Dreamscape Media (first published June 30th 2003)
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Second read-through. Liked it just as much. Lots of good historical background about Vietnam War and SDS and corrupt national government. Set the scene well to explain motivations of "radical leftist" groups in USA.

Like the message about your actions being result not necessarily of your political or religious viewpoints, but of the people that you live among: the company you keep.

Makes me want to read much more about the 60s & 70s student protests. Reading this now after seeing Taymor's "Ac...more
The Company You Keep (2012), directed by Robert Redford, with

Robert Redford ... Jim Grant / Nick Sloan
Shia LaBeouf ... Ben Shepard
Julie Christie ... Mimi Lurie
Susan Sarandon ... Sharon Solarz
Nick Nolte ... Donal Fitzgerald
Chris Cooper ... Daniel Sloan
Terrence Howard ... FBI Agent Cornelius
Stanley Tucci ... Ray Fuller
Richard Jenkins ... Jed Lewis
Anna Kendrick ... Diana
Brendan Gleeson ... Henry Osborne
Brit Marling ... Rebecca Osborne
Sam Elliott ... Mac McLeod
In fairness, I got about two-thirds of the way through this one and skipped to the end to see how it wound up. For a book that seemed like it should be so narrative-driven, it was written in an awfully turgid style. There were some interesting plot twists at the beginning, and for a while, the hope of more kept me going for a little while, but it seems that a book that's supposed to be sort of a political thriller shouldn't be quite this ponderous to slog through.
In the end, this book is a magnificent read into life in modern America. Fighting wars we don't understand and frustrated with government, we face the same issues today as the nation faced then during Vietnam. It is told in the epistolary model, however, unlike in old days when these types of novels unfolded through a series of letters exchanged between two or more people, this one is told through a series of e-mails from a group called "The Committee". I don't want to ruin anyone's experience,...more
Set against the rise and fall of the Weather Underground, the antiwar group of the Vietnam War era, THE COMPANY YOU KEEP is a sweeping American saga about sacrifice, the ecstatic righteousness of youth, and the tension between political ideals and family loyalties. Here's what's going on...

Jason Sinai...age having a bad day or two in the early summer of 1996. He likes his life as Jim Grant, a civil rights attorney in Albany, New York. He loves his 7 year old daughter Izzy...and is a cari...more
Michael O'toole
Set in the 90s, this dramatic thriller follows civil rights attorney Jim Grant who's in the midst of a custody battle for his seven year old daughter with his recovering drug addict ex-wife. After the arrest of Weather Underground activist fugitive, Sharon Solartz, young, ambitious reporter Ben Schulberg who's assigned to write the story interviews Grant, who refused to represent Solarz after she contacted him. Later, after finding out that Grant left town with his daughter, Isabel, Schulberg so...more
Two story devices work well in this that often fail: multiple narrators and modified epistolary novel format; the narrative is built by a very long email chain (in detail that could not possible exist in that format, but it’s so engagingly written that you can suspend your disbelief).

It’s a message to the millennial generation and a reminder to all of American 20th century social and political history; It also wants to echo current events. It’s a mystery, love stories, and both a novel of ideas...more
Dull, dull, dull. Admittedly, I didn't finish this. (also, I'm not pals with or related to the author.) Up through chapter 22, nothing had happened, not one single thing, no plot, no narrative drive, no profound human insights. Nada. When I'd read for the umpteenth time a father nattering on cloyingly about his daughter's sweet little toes and sweet little clothes and sweet little blahblahblah, I threw it across the room with great force. Life is too short to finish badly-written books.
Linda L
I loved it and want to see the movie. A complex narrative told though multiple voices in an email format. It's a Vietnam, sixties protest story which got confusing if I didn't chart out the characters who had multiple names as many were Weatherground fugitives. Sadly parallels so much of what's still happening though.
Dec 29, 2008 Ciara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of political thrillers, underground fugitives from justice, weather underground devotees
oooh, i am really into this book. you kind of have to get past the gimmicky fact that it is comprised entirely of e-mails, & that no one really writes that eloquently when they are writing e-mail, but whatever. i'll let it slide this one time. okay, so the story is pretty complex: the guy who instigates all of this e-mail writing is a fellow named daniel. the e-mails are being written to his daughter, who is around 18. she lives in england with her mother, a formerly well-known actress, the...more
Sim Carter
I am so looking forward to the film based on this book! Gordon wrote the novel as a modern-day epistolary; a series of (incredibly long and well-written) emails to 17 year old Isabel, mostly from her father, Jim Grant, an ex-Weatherman living as a civil rights lawyer, as he desperately tries to clear his name from a murder charge stemming from his past acts. Ironic as he has gone through several names throughout his life. Others - friends, former lovers, a young newspaperman and various key figu...more
Steve Wilson
While the pace of the book is often slow, it was nonetheless interesting from start to finish and I especially enjoyed the glimpses of information about the Vietnam protest era.

The book is written in the form of e-mails from various individuals to the daughter of the main character of the book. The reasons behind the e-mails remains unknown until the final pages of the book whne the author pulls all the pieces together. Trying to figure out the purpose of the e-mails kept me intrigued throughou...more
I picked this up because I had originally wanted to see the movie, and didn't realize it had been a book first. I was intrigued by the format - the entire book is told in emails, so you hear the story laid out by different people and their viewpoints. Although it starts out captivating, the book ends up becoming sort of long and drawn out, and I found myself just wanting it to get to the point. When the "big reveal" happens, its a little bit of a let down. It feels like so much of this book is m...more
This book was very, very good. I desperately wanted to finish it so I could know what happened! Neil Gordon did a great job of concealing what happened while strategically sprinkling in little details that help you narrow down the possibilities throughout the story. Yet somehow, despite all this, The Company You Keep took me FOREVER to get into. It just didn't suck me in for some reason. Possibly it was the way it was written-- by multiple characters all telling bits of the big story to Isabel....more
the movie was extremely accurate to the book, but the book provides so much more depth and back story it was interesting even though I knew what was going to happen. This was so well written that it was a joy to read!
This is a flawed book--the writer does not have the skill to carry off all the different voices of the characters who take turns telling the story. But DAMN does he Get It when it comes to the movement and what matters.
Was hoping it would be better than it was for me. I think the movie in this case may be better even though I'm sure it will make changes. The book could have done with some editing. I've seen reviews that say it is a well written book; it is in that he knows how to give overlong commentaries with lots and lots of words-he them very well but there are too many. It made the book longer than it needed to be for the story it was trying to tell. It would have been a very interesting story if he could...more
I enjoyed this book tremendously, despite the multiple shifts in perspectives through the novel. I liked the plot twists, the characters, and mainly, the context the story is set in. It also made me so much more interested to find out about the anti-war movement in US during the Vietnam war.

It was a worthy read and I think the novel achieves a very fine balance between the main thriller-based plotline and the elaboration of the context.

a book written as a series of emails, even impossibly long ones, somehow works. It's a good tight thriller, and he gets it right on what young people in the late 60s looked like (I was there and I can remember). At least one implausibility in the plot doesn't really matter. Those things anyway have a habit of being true. I liked this book quite a lot. I got it because I saw the film with Robert Redford, which was dull by comparison - it left the interesting parts out, and the plot twist is obvio...more
Compelling reading - I'm always fascinated by stories of those living underground, especially about the time of my youth when I saw them as on the right path and so glamorous. This book is compassionate and realistic at putting the 60s and 70s radicals in a useful historical perspective - in a it-all-turns-out-ok-in-the-end thriller kind of way. Started the book after seeing the Redford movie scripted from the book.

The book is well researched and helps to make some sense of the turbulent times -...more
I picked this one up for $3 off the clearance rack and enjoyed it very much. A quick read, it's the story of a 1960s radical who has changed his identity and lives a normal life until he's discovered through a series of events. He goes back on the run but it's evident he's also trying to clear his name so he can one day return to his daughter. I liked how the book wove in real characters from history with fictional ones. I also liked the device for telling the story, which has a number of charac...more
This is my favorite of the 1960s/1970s fugitive-rebel genre. Though less well reviewed than a number of others, all of whose titles escape me, this felt to me the most right; or, at least, the most compelling. Told entirely in emails to the daughter the fugitive hasn't seen since her infancy, to me it gives a real sense of what happened during the Vietnam War era, and what has happened since. It points up how hard it would be for the child of radicals to really understand, or have empathy. It al...more
Dominique Jacques
Le roman des illusions perdues. La maturité des activistes des années anti Vietnam. Sous forme d'échanges de lettres, chacun raconte à son tour les événements de sa jeunesse militante, la clandestinité, la peur de perdre l'amour des siens, l'abandon. Ce n'étaient que des gamins, amoureux, manipulés. Le roman est construit comme un roman policier, à chacun de deviner avant la fin, un peu mièvre. Tous les ingrédients pour faire un film magnifique, personnages, amour, forêts du No...more
I'm very excited to see the movie, but I am not sure I would recommend the book. I think this is a rare occasion where the movie will be better than the book. I was very intrigued by the mystery of the book, and really enjoyed the unique element of it being told through a series of emails from several different characters. I feel like some of the characters, and James/Jim in particular, would go on and on about things that really didn't progress the story at all. Overall, it was an interesting s...more
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book so much. I checked out the audio version from the library and loved that it was read by numerous readers, each assuming the role of the character he/she portrayed. The book is told in emails to the main character's daughter, requesting her presence at at parole hearing. Each version tells how the events in their lives led up to this hearing. This is the first book I've read in this format and really worked in this story. There are a couple of unexpect...more
Mark Hundley
Competent but not spectacular epistolary novel that uses the backdrop of the Weather Underground as a frame for mystery and examination of the motives of revolutionaries. Despite the research that went into the effort, it comes off superficially in its presentation of the time and motivations. New insights into the era are absent and characterizations of the individuals lack distinction but all this seems consistent with a page-turner effort.
This book offers great insight into the spirit of the sixties. Many students of the day participated in the counter-cultural movement, although not to the extent of the main characters in this book. I found the plot compelling, and the writing good. While the format of such long emails was not always convincing, the rhetoric was powerful. It is interesting to reflect on the impact that the sixties had on the values we take for granted today.
A really enjoyable book, although 5 stars might be a bit much. What I enjoyed was how the author developed numerous perspectives on the events of the 1960s/70s related to the Vietnam War and protests stateside, while also propelling a very enjoyable intrigue related to several key fictional players in said events. Also, I enjoyed the sense of humor that pervaded, by and large, the entire book.
It was a bit slow and moving back and forth between narrators wasn't always easy to follow but it eventually picked up and told a decent story.
Susanne Lingemann
As almost always, the book is do much better and more complex than the movie. Gibes a glimpse into the Weatherman movement (which I knew nothing about) from the perspective of 40some years later. Written in emails to a daughter of one of them by various ex-members they stitch together an interesting quilt of idealism and ideas, honesty and compromise but always a sense of loyalty.
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