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This is an excellent book, with many new insights, and a gripping narrative. I'm familiar with the other books (none of them very recent) about these events, and this one is well worth having too. Well written, and well read. The author puts these events into their historical context very well. He offers a clear, well supported assessment of many controverted points, including whether this was really a case of prolonged Stockholm Syndrome, the quality of Ms Hearst's legal representation, whether she might have been acquitted with different lawyers, how she procured first commutation and then a pardon, and just how guilty she really was of the crimes she was convicted of, and the murder for which she, unlike other SLA members at the Crocker Nat'l Bank, was never prosecuted. One of the best of the year.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
As a teenager, living in the middle of the country, I followed the story of Patty Hearst with curiosity and sympathy for Patty. As an adult, who has now lived half my life in the Bay Area, I frequently encounter people and legacies from the unsettling 60's and 70's. I selected this book because I thought it would deepen my understanding of the events and the time which have long held my interest. While I know much more about the chronology and details of the SLA I can't say I have a better understanding of what brought the radicals together. Toobin does not psych-analyze the characters and sometimes I wish he would have because, even though I am familiar with the time and setting, I find myself thinking, "WTF were these people thinking?". Ultimately I had no empathy for the unlikable and bumbling members of the SLA . There is of bay area trivia in this nicely paced story and it was worth my time even though Toobin does not uncover any themes which added to my understanding of the events that fascinated me so long ago.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful