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Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies
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Bringing the War Home: The Weather Underground, the Red Army Faction, and Revolutionary Violence in the Sixties and Seventies

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  132 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In this first comprehensive comparison of left-wing violence in the United States and West Germany, Jeremy Varon focuses on America's Weather Underground and Germany's Red Army Faction to consider how and why young, middle-class radicals in prosperous democratic societies turned to armed struggle in efforts to overthrow their states. Based on a wealth of primary material, ...more
Paperback, 407 pages
Published April 30th 2004 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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Justin Evans
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-etc
Three good pamphlets on the Weather, the RAF, and revolutionary violence, but Varon doesn't really pull them together. That didn't bother me, since I'm independently interested in each of those three pamphlets; it might bother someone who was actually looking for comparative history.

But, unusually, he does a great job bringing out the emotional and intellectual roots of both groups' turn to violence. He argues that the Weather Underground ended up where they did because they wanted to oppose th
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Varon compares the Weather Underground in the United States and the Red Army Faction in West Germany, as some who had come up in the New Left turned to revolutionary armed struggle through guerilla tactics, at a point of the New Left’s height but shortly before its decline. Groups like SDS and student unions in West Germany split over questions of mass organizing versus violence. Dozens to hundreds of small groups engaged in nearly 2800 attacks from January 1969-April 1970 alone. Both groups too ...more
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people interested in the ethics of violence.
The author is obviously sympathetic, and when it comes to the u.s.a. (from what i can see) his research seems good. When it comes to the Red Army Faction, he just doesn't seem to have done enough research.

Perhaps this is not fair, though, as really this book is an appraisal of the question of revolutionary morality, and when violence is useful, and when it is moral, holding New Left armed groups up to the ideals of the New Left. The problem with this approach is that it

(1) assumes a kind of 20-2
Chelsea Szendi
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: global-1960s
Varon gives the pretty straight story of two extreme radical groups - one from the US, the other from Germany - and their journey from protest to violence. His conclusions are not wrong, if not mind-blowing. I hungered for even more analysis, however. There are some intimations of how the different societies in the two countries both effected and were effected by the groups, and (as he points out) the US case is so often held apart from comparative works, but perhaps adding a third site to his w ...more
Martin Gutmann
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Well argued--poorly researched on the German half.
Dec 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
This makes fascinating reading. I was suprised to find out that the Nixon administration was genuinely worried by the protestors and demonstrations, esp. the Weathermen (even though Tricky Dicky pretended to be watching football while they were going on outside). So at least the threat of violence helped to stoke that worry. I was very dispirited after the 2004 protests against Bush in New York after marching all day. But I was delighted to see that we may have equalled the numbers of the Nov 19 ...more
Dan Sharber
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
really good! i've read other books on the weatherman and wanted to read this one to get more familiar with the raf. but i recommend this even if you know nothing about either. this book is important because, while not glorifying the violence of these groups, it explains very thoroughly why a turn to violence was attractive to activists based on their views of the nature of the state and the state of the movement. very thorough and very entertaining.
C.B. Daring
Aug 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Current members of Students for a Democratic Society
This book examines the pitfalls that await many nationalized organizations, especially those based on students. The book takes a mostly non-morality based look at revolutionary violence and instead puts it in the context of long term-effectiveness.
Aug 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting and well-written, but ultimately didn't finish it I think because it was a little more academic than I was hoping. Once I had the story pretty much down I didn't need as detailed an analysis as this offered. I'd recommend it though.
Tom Mackie
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: u-s-history
Very unpleasent read.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
This one sucks all of the mystique out of sixties radical clog dancing without eschewing the groups' basic, non-fanatical ideals underneath the surface.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A comparative work detailing the similarities and differences of German and American society in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as between the two terrorist organizations.*
Reads like a dissertation, but covers an interesting topic.
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