Raised to be a committed Marxist by communist intellectual parents, Horowitz was in on the ground floor of Berkeley activism, and through his work as an editor at Ramparts magazine, he emerged as a key player in the New Left. He went on to become an active supporter of the Black Panthers and something of an intimate of their founder, Huey P. Newton. Yet today he is an outspoken political conservative who has supported many right-wing causes (such as the contras in Nicaragua) and been critical of '60s radicalism in general. It would be easy to conclude that Horowitz went from A to Z this way because he's superficial and unstable. Instead, as this moving, intellectual autobiography shows, his second thoughts about leftism emerged gradually as he experienced various aspects of the "Movement." The catalytic episode came when he discovered that the Panthers had murdered a friend of his, but even then Horowitz was slow to convert, primarily because he was heavily enmeshed in what he now views as the quintessential leftist habit of judging politics by its intentions, not its acts.
Horowitz (The Rockefellers) has prominently charted his turn from leftism in Destructive Generation (both books co-written with Peter Collier), but here, he digs deeper to recount his intertwined personal and political odysseys. Because he has witnessed some elemental political battles, and because he tells his often painful story with candor and passion, his lengthy book remains absorbing. His teacher parents were New York City Jewish Communists full of angst and false conviction; young David emerged convinced at least that ideas were important. Married, Horowitz moved to Berkeley for graduate school, the New Left and Ramparts, the hot radical magazine. However, family man Horowitz was made uneasy by figures such as Michael Lerner and Robert Scheer, who rejected community; worse, though Horowitz found Huey Newton's courting of his advice seductive, he fell into "internal free-fall" when he realized that the Panthers were criminal thugs. His Jewish identity?at a time when blacks and the Third World were not allies?helped move Horowitz rightward, as did his disgust with dogmatic leftists. And in 1985, Horowitz and Collier publicly supported Ronald Reagan; the author considers himself a classical liberal. Particularly interesting is his score-settling with authors Todd Gitlin, Tom Hayden and Paul Berman, who, he argues, either sanitize '60s history or misrepresent his own views; now, with the help of foundations, he runs the magazine Heterodoxy and monitors what he views as liberal excess.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
What is more unbelievable, that Horowitz wrote this atrocity or that so many winners right such self righteous "I told you so" reviews for this piece of crap. Read morePublished on June 19 2004 by tony
This is one of the most important books I have ever read. Coming from a country where 'socialism' is honored and desired; this book opened my eyes to flaws of socialism and the... Read morePublished on June 18 2004 by Amazon Customer
I urge everyone, esp people my age to read this book. There are so many misconseptions about socialism - you must read this book to find the truth. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2004 by HutSutRaw
This book is a good read for both educational and pure entertainment purposes. What made me really enjoy RADICAL SON was the fact that Horowitz has personal knowledge of the... Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2003
I have to agree with those who aren't raving about this self-absorbed man who yet again is riding the wave of controversy but this time it is vomit-worthy because he is openly... Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2003
Hi I'm Tim Kidd and I call myself a 'radical Leftist!" Hooboy run and hide from those who label themselves this way and then pretty much realize that self-righteous louts like... Read morePublished on June 20 2003
I married into America, so I have a few blanks I'm trying to fill in. Why is the Vietnam War such a volatile topic here? How can a two party system work so effectively? Read morePublished on May 20 2003 by N. Frazier
This book fails to deliver on its promise to explain Mr. Horowitz's intellectual journey from left to right. Read more