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In this absorbing and candid autobiography, the author describes his journey from leftist radical to conservative pundit. More accurately, Horowitz is a classical liberal rather than a conservative and a very effective activist for truth and freedom of speech these days. The book also explores the history of leftism in America and provides interesting portraits of certain prominent intellectuals.

Part I: Black Holes (1904 - 1939) deals with the history of his communist parents and his early childhood, whilst the next: Coming Of Age (1940 - 1956) tells of his teenage years, his studies and first marriage. Part 3: New Worlds (1957 - 1967) describes his time at Berkeley, his first writings for radical magazines of the time and his sojourn in London and Sweden.

In Part 4: Revolutions (1968 - 1973), the family returns to Berkeley where the counterculture was in full swing. This is when Horowitz started working for the New Left magazine Ramparts and marked the beginning of his involvement with the Black Panthers. This was also when he met his long-time friend and collaborator Peter Collier.

His tragic involvement with the Panthers is detailed in Part 5 (1973 - 1974). This culminated in the murder of his friend Betty Van Patten, the tragedy that caused him to have second thoughts about his political convictions and associates on the Left.

The next chapter deals with the period 1975 to 1980 when he tried to discover the truth about the death of Van Patten. He ceased all political activity and slowly came to the realization that some people had an inherent will to evil. Most of his leftist friends did not care about the murder and simply ignored it although they knew who was behind it. In this period he co-authored a commercially successful book on the The Rockefellers with Peter Collier.

Part 7: Coming Home (1980 - 1992) chronicles the fruition of his second thoughts when he finally left the Left. What is of particular interest here is his description of how the moonbat leaders of the gay community in San Francisco contributed to the death and suffering of the AIDS epidemic because of their denial that a promiscuous lifestyle contributed to the spread of the disease.

It was in this period that his second collaboration with Collier, a book on the Kennedys, was published and became a huge success. Also, the seminal book on the radicalism of the 1960s, Destructive Generation, was published. In 1991 he founded the Center For The Study of Popular Culture and the journal Heterodoxy.

Radical Son is a most moving autobiography and an insightful examination of the leftist mindset of hate and nihilism, as well as a gripping historical perspective on the intellectual currents of the 20th century. The book includes 18 black and white photographs. I also recommend What's Left? by Nick Cohen, a book by a gifted British writer who describes his own disillusionment with the Liberal Left.
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on July 11, 2004
Of a rare odyssey: Someone who rethinks their political beliefs from the ground up. For Horowitz, it was seeing friends murdered by 'brothers in arms' in the political Left (ie Black Panthers), that woke him up and turned him away from radical leftism.
This is the most interesting political odyssey stories since Whittaker Chambers' "Witness", and there are echoes of that era in today's era, and in the two man's lives. Chambers and Horowitz both are now toasted on the right and vilified by the left, even though neither were/are cookie cutter conservatives. Their main threat to the left is they are on to the game of the Leftists. Hence the venom against Horowitz.
The previous review is nonsense. Horowitz calls people Communists and Socialists because that is what they called *themselves*. Including Horowitz, who was raised as a 'red diaper' baby. "Neo-McCarthyite" hmmm. Well, KGB files now reveal that many of the 'innocents' protected by the Left were in fact certainly Soviet spies: Rosenbergs, Hiss. And that 100s of Communist spies were in the US Government. McCarthy was right more than wrong!
Whatever your political leanings, this books is highly recommended. It will make you think!
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on June 19, 2004
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. Horowitz attacks anyone who doesn't agree with him as a communist and a Stalinist etc...
We are not treated to any sources where we could check out Dave's "facts", Gore Vidal published a anti-jewish article in the Nation says Davey, when was that Dave, can we check for ourselves or should we take your ranting's as fact?
That Dave has tapped the vein of neo-McCarthyites is obvious by the reviews he gets here, anyone who thinks that Dave has any truth other than "I was an idiot and associated with idiots" is brain damaged. Dave turned from ranting left wing stooge to right wing stooge, the right probably pays better.
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on June 18, 2004
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 people who champion it.
This book is inspiring. It is an adventure in David Horowitz's soul.
A must read.
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on January 27, 2004
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. He has lived through it and used to believe it and has shared his experiences for everyone to know the truth.
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on December 23, 2003
Reading Radical son has now completed a journey I began in 1992. After being forcibly drugged by the Psyche profession/courts during an emotional breakdown after giving birth to my first baby, I became very interested in learning how the psychiatric profession obtained so much power against individual rights in America. Reading Cleon Skousen's book, The Naked Communist helped me to connect the Communist link to this ugly reality.
I have studied communism off and on during the intervening twelve years while living in The People's Republic of Boulder Colorado as a closet Conservative. I shared my rightist views with other's when opportunity presented over the years, but mostly I stayed home and read books while nurturing my additional four children.
My husband and I have home schooled off and on during these past few years - and I would like to suggest to those who feel hopeless about the power elite's control of our universities, and media not to give up on the parents of today. We who are educated about these important political issues are raising large families of holisitcally nurtured, gently educated, and un-propaganized children. My best memories of home school are the daily lessons my husband taught our children in American History. We would say the pledge and sing The Star Spangled Banner, and then he would teach the children about our amazing Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and together we testified of our faith in and dedication to the principles of freedom.
The radical leftist's are aborting away most of their children, and in the end, it will be the our children and grandchildren who will be the leaders of the future. I have walked in homeschooling and dedicated parenting circles for many years now, and those outspoken leftists who always seemed to dominate conversations, wether we were talking about breastfeeding, politics,or education are now somewhat confused and not so confident of their worldview.
David Horowitz's Radical Son is a powerful and passionate rebuke of leftist thought and political activism. I will use it to continue teaching my children the Truth.
I would hope that the older generation of passionate conservatives would remember the young mothers and fathers of today who are quietly and steadfastly teaching our own the principles and practices of Freedom when you get discouraged or are feeling hopeless. Thousands upon thousands of parents are homeschooling and many who have children in public or private school are teaching and sharing these truths in consistent ways with the next generation. I know dozens of families with young children who are committed to Freedom and understand the sacredness of our responsibility to teach, promote, and share freedom with the rest of humanity.
Please read Horowitz's book if you feel any inclination to leftist radical activism. It will cure your of such delusions in a matter of hours.
Jenny Hatch
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on November 15, 2003
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 events he describes.
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on November 9, 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 admitting to caring for no one other than himself.
Truly he is an admirable man to profess how painful his life has been, the self-pity and self-indignation (surprise) is excruciating---he is truly the great sufferer who has seen the light
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on September 14, 2003
How a reasonably intelligent man moved from 'way over there' politically, to 'way over here' is the superstructure of David Horowitz's interesting autobiography which tracks his political and philosophical epiphany. Like Saul of Tarsus who was stricken on the Road to Damascus and changed from a prosecutor to a defender of those he attacked, Horowitz moved from the extreme left to the far -- but not quite the extreme -- right. From ultra liberal Communist to arch conservative, anti-Communist. From the shadows of lawlessness in support of radical groups such as the Black Panthers to the exposer of their crimes.
David Horowitz's parents were depression-era Communists, true believers, they, who raised their son in that milieu, a 'red diaper baby' as the term has become known. He matured as Communist radical during the wild and rambunctious 60's -- the Hippy Era -- in which he became an active participant in the anti-Vietnam war crowd, associating with criminals such as Huey Newton, Eldrige Cleaver and the arch villainess, Elaine Brown. During that era, Horowitz wrote for and, for a time, edited The Ramparts magazine -- the era's showpiece periodical which pushed the radical point of view: anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-law-and-order, anti-moderation.
But then Horowitz's private life went to hell. His wife and four children left him, there were two other failed marriages after that. His private life seemed to have no core, perhaps because he failed to see and appreciate its importance. He mourned throughout the book that he could not "connect with" his father, a remote, intellectual Marxist. There were periods of depression and analysis but through it all -- and to his credit -- Horowitz continued to write and to produce. In partnership with Peter Collier they wrote best-settlers: the histories of the Rockerfellers, The Fords and the Kennedys. And -- even more to his credit -- Horowitz writes lavishly in his praise and appreciation of Collier to whom he gives most of the credit for their publishing success.
But what made Horowitz flip? He is not entirely clear. But it seems that the odyssey began with his and Collier's departure with the left over homosexuality and AIDS. But then the other strands that bound him to the left began to unravel to such a point that he finally considered Ronald Reagan heroic rather than archaic. He infers that much of his 'conversion' is the reverting to the core of his Jewish culture and tradition, even though he is an admitted agnostic. And it is entirely likely that the conservative point of view is more valuable in preserving his appreciation of his Jewish culture than would a more liberal view.
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on June 20, 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 this are the ones that Horowitz luckily got the hell away from when he grew up and actually thought. And of course the review that calls Horowitz a 'phony' is too rich. Did you even read the book?? Do you have any conception whatsoever about the life journey that Horowitz has traveled to reach his views? Horowitz's education, family experience, and extensive travels and publications not to mention his travels with the likes of Bertrand Russell, Huey Newton, Jean Genet, and a veritable who's who of icons of the 60's radical generation make fleas like Kidd seem even more inconsequential than they know they already are. The Left just can't deal with people who experience life and reflect on their experiences beyond simply mentioning how much they hate Ayn Rand and then lavish praise on trendy postmodernism which they in a free capitalistic society have the luxury to indulge their petty minds. Rock on Dave Horowitz! ...
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