Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the bestselling author of Public Enemies and The Big Rich, an explosive account of the decade-long battle between the FBI and the homegrown revolutionary movements of the 1970s
The Weathermen. The Symbionese Liberation Army. The FALN. The Black Liberation Army. The names seem quaint now, when not forgotten altogether. But there was a time in America, during the 1970s, when bombings by domestic underground groups were a daily occurrence. The FBI combated these and other groups as nodes in a single revolutionary underground, dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American government.
In Days of Rage, Bryan Burrough re-creates an atmosphere that seems almost unbelievable just forty years later, conjuring a time of native-born radicals, most of them “nice middle-class kids,” smuggling bombs into skyscrapers and detonating them inside the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, at a Boston courthouse and a Wall Street restaurant packed with lunchtime diners. The FBI’s fevered response included the formation of a secret task force called Squad 47, dedicated to hunting the groups down and rolling them up. But Squad 47 itself broke many laws in its attempts to bring the revolutionaries to justice, and its efforts ultimately ended in fiasco.
Drawing on revelatory interviews with members of the underground and the FBI who speak about their experiences for the first time, Days of Rage is a mesmerizing book that takes us into the hearts and minds of homegrown terrorists and federal agents alike and weaves their stories into a spellbinding secret history of the 1970s.
on May 1, 1970, two months after destruction of the Weatherman townhouse. Ten people suffered minor injuries. Two weeks later police arrested a Puerto Rican radical named Carlos Feliciano as he placed a hollowed-out loaf of bread outside an army recruiting station in the Bronx. The bread was fresh, as was the bomb nestled inside. Feliciano was a MIRA operative who had served five years for a murder committed after the 1950 uprisings. A father of six, he was alleged to have committed all
preached that blacks had ruled the earth six thousand years ago, until their destruction by a renegade black wizard named Yakub, who then created the white man—the “white devil,” in the Nation’s mythos; blacks, Fard prophesied, would destroy the white devil in a future apocalypse. Until his disappearance and presumed death in 1934, Fard imbued his disciples with a message of racial pride, economic equality, and personal discipline. Over the next twenty years his protégé, Elijah Muhammad, quietly
streets.* • • • That first week they hid in a friend’s farmhouse in York County, six adults—Levasseur had brought yet another girlfriend along—and three small children, sleeping where they could and stacking their guns over the fireplace. Levasseur soon rented a house in Somersworth, a mill town just across the New Hampshire border. They were armed and underground now but not yet at the point of no return. Again Bishop urged that they should rob a bank. Levasseur continued to resist. He
lack of professionalism, at the unnecessary violence. Odinga prided himself on smooth jobs without gunfire; he couldn’t understand why Shakur’s people were growing trigger happy. It was inevitable that the Family’s increasing appetite for violence would turn deadly. It happened on the drizzly morning of Tuesday, June 2, 1981, outside a Chase Manhattan branch in the northern reaches of the Bronx. It was another armored-car job, one the group had canceled twice before at the last second, fearing,
heavy burlap bags between cars. “Mom, there’s a man with a gun outside,” Sandra yelled to her mother, Roxanne, who was busy in the basement. As Roxanne scurried up the stairs, Sandra grabbed a pen and paper and hustled out into the yard, hoping to scribble down license plate numbers. By the time she reached the fence, only the red van remained. It appeared abandoned. Sandra ran back inside and called the police. “I just saw something strange happen behind Korvettes,” she told the dispatcher.