Dan Berger | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Dan Berger 

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With his new history, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity (AK Press), Dan Berger, a 25-year-old PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and coeditor of last year's Letters From Young Activists, attempts to fill in the blanks left by Sam Green and Bill Siegel's 2003 documentary The Weather Underground. A meticulously researched account of the radical movement's rise and fall, Berger's book is more intimate than Green and Siegel's film, drawing on dozens of oral histories and interviews he conducted with former members and associates, giving much more attention, for example, to the prehistory of Students for a Democratic Society (from which Weather famously split in 1969) and the group's slow dissolution after 1976, as members slowly came in from the cold. The book pays special attention to Weather's goal of working in solidarity with black liberation movements, and though Berger's language betrays his sympathies, he doesn't shy from criticism, suggesting that our current social conservatism is an inevitable by-product of the exesses of New Left militancy. All in all, it's a fascinating primer for young activists of all stripes. Sat 6/3, 7 PM, Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North, 773-342-0910.

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