by Jack & Daniel Simon Hoffman ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 21, 1994
A touching portrait of a complex and tortured soul, written by his brother. Abbie Hoffman, one of the best-known radicals of the 1960s, kept in almost daily contact with his kid brother, Jack, even during his days of hiding as a fugitive. With the help of Four Walls Eight Windows copublisher Simon, Jack now chronicles their relationship and his brother's life. From humble Russian-Jewish origins, they were the sons of a long-suffering father, whom they compared to Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, and a mother best described as eccentric. Experimenting with drugs and gradually becoming politicized, Abbie joined SNCC in 1964 and helped raise funds for their Freedom Summer efforts. Later he founded the Youth International Party (the Yippies) with Jerry Rubin and organized the protests against the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He established himself as the clown prince of the counterculture, writing Revolution for the Hell of It and Steal This Book. The humor with which he approached the Chicago 7 conspiracy trial and his appearance before HUAC is vividly depicted. His continuing drug use and experimentation led to his arrest in 1973 on cocaine charges. Abbie went underground for almost seven years. Hiding first in Mexico, he later returned to the US, living in upstate New York under the alias Barry Freed. Unable to stay out of politics, he became a noted environmental activist. He also battled manic-depression. In 1980, he reemerged and surrendered to authorities; after about a year in prison, he was paroled. He became increasingly depressed, however, and drugs and alcohol only compounded the problem. He took his own life in 1989. These events are well known, and Jack Hoffman is curiously removed from the story he tells. He elaborates little, if at all, on how it felt to be the younger brother of such a notorious figure, as if he were still content to remain in Abbie's lingering shadow. Nevertheless, this is the forceful story of an American original.
Pub Date: Sept. 21, 1994
Page Count: 336
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1994
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