By Jeffrey Toobin
The events surrounding the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patricia Hearst by a small band of revolutionaries who called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army were front-page news for most of the rest of the decade. In “American Heiress,” legal journalist Jeffrey Toobin methodically delves into the details of the kidnapping and its bizarre aftermath.
What distinguishes Toobin’s book from the many that were written in the years immediately following the kidnapping and ensuing events is its placement squarely in the context of the times. The country was deeply shaken by the continuing Watergate scandal, and revelations about J. Edgar Hoover had shattered faith in the FBI. The Jonestown mass suicides made brain washing seem plausible, helping to turn the public from skeptical to sympathetic toward Hearst following her conviction.
Exhaustively researched, the book wraps up with satisfying details about the subsequent years in the lives of the extensive cast of characters.
Review by Sally Wisdom
Like Patricia Hearst, Sally Wisdom was a college student in 1974 and followed news coverage about the case closely.
By Paul Beatty
“This may be hard to believe, coming from a black man, but I’ve never stolen anything.” So starts Paul Beatty’s Man Booker-winning novel “The Sellout.” The novel opens in front of the Supreme Court where the narrator is on trial for segregation. “The Sellout” centers on the town of Dickens, and one day the residents wake up and find that their town has been whipped off the map. The main character sets out to re-establish Dickens, only this time with the reinstating of slavery and segregation of the local high school. “The Sellout” is a work of comedic genius and the best political satire of late. It is a laugh-out-loud indictment of our times, questioning the perceived notions of American Society. This book was an absolute joy to read and could not come at a better time.
Review by Hunter Gillum ♦