©1997 David Horowitz; (P)1998 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"David Horowitz's powerful autobiography details a long journey from a boyhood in the ambit of American Stalinism, through young adulthood at the vanguard of the New Left, to a mid-life recognition that his various gods had failed. Horowitz's gift for irony and eye for detail haven't deserted him." (Eric Breindel, editorial page editor, New York Post)
This is one of the best explanations of the 60's and the radical mindset. You will find yourself constantly saying, "Ahaa! Now I understand!"
This book is like a Rosh Hashana Challa, sweet, complete, and satisfying. Perhaps a bit like Passover with some bitter herbs as well. But no life is complete without that. You feel the wholeness of life, living, and dying, betrayal and disbelief, hope and perseverance.
Radical Son is the story of David Horowitz's intellectual journey from "Red Diaper Baby" to bonafide 60's radical, and finally to the well known conservative thinker and activist he is today. I initially expected Radical Son to be more of an opinion-based work - though I'm not exactly sure why, as the name and description do not describe it as such. Indeed, I originally purchased it to use up some credits and put off listening to it for some time. But as I finally began listening, I quickly realized that the purpose of this book was to chart Mr. Horowitz's life beginning as the child of American Communist co-conspirators. This book touches on topics ranging from the philosophy of thought, family, relationships, and politics. It is at times, shocking, and at others, highly emotional. Radical Son is a very difficult book to describe.
Horowitz describes the "differentness" of his upbringing and his thorough indoctrination by devoted Marxist parents, friends, and fellow travelers. Yet Horowitz's keen intellect and principled and sincere humanity continually left him struggling to justify his political goals - a struggle that would only intensify as he grew older.
His inside descriptions of events I recall only from a distance in the 1960's and 1970's, are truly breathtaking. The most pivotal of these were undoubtedly his dealings with Huey Newton and his "family" - events which would ultimately shatter his world and send him in a direction far different than his upbringing would portend. Horowitz chronicles the full court betrayal by longstanding friends in the political left, leaving him ultimately, a man alone.
This is a dynamic and sensitive look at an intelligent and sensitive man, that shows us how the power of critical thinking and the quest for the truth, knows nor follows any particular agenda.
David Horowitz was raised in a radical Marxist home. In this memoir, Radical Son: A Generational Odyseesy, he reveals his journey from childhood in that environment, through a career as a radical, and his philosophical rebirth as a conservative. His transition from Jewish Communist to political conservative proved to be far more interesting than I anticipated. I came to his memoir with no preconceived notions and an interest in the era he represents. I gained insight into that era, many of the players active during the period, and the issues that were raised. For me, the sections where Horowitz reflects on his childhood and philosophical/political issues is the most interesting. Lesser are the sections detailing his professional career as a writer and author. However, those sections are critical to understanding his conversion to conservatism and support the greater narrative. Ultimately, I am not certain what to make of Horowitz. I am not sure that in the grand scheme of things he will even be remembered. Certainly, he has his distracters. As a memoir it sheds some light on the human condition and was entertaining to boot. Take it as such and you will be rewarded. The reading of Jeff Riggenbach is very good.
Especially for those of my generation (older boomer) who remember the people and events he talks about, this is a huge eye-opener. He couldn't have been closer to the action in the main events of my early adulthood and, coupled with his equally interesting Communist upbringing, the story is fascinating. His personal narrative links so well with the country's evolution and makes us question some outlooks that we now take for granted. I had become more conservative as I have aged, but I had never grasped the essential reason why: that socialism/liberalism seek to impose an artificial future, an impossible ideal on society, which curtails freedom and respect for the individual in the attempt. It appears to have the moral high ground, but its idealism is both unrealistic and tyrannical in nature. He is an outstanding thinker and can make very difficult concepts understandable, plus his credentials are impeccable. Even though I already leaned to conservatism, reading this book, along with others of his, has been a life changer.
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