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Domestic terrorism. Financial uncertainty. Troops abroad, fighting an unsuccessful and bloody war against guerrilla insurgents. A violent generation gap emerging between a discontented youth and their disapproving, angry elders.
This was the early seventies in America, and it was against this backdrop that the kidnapping of nineteen-year-old Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Front - a rag-tag, cult-like group of political extremists and criminals - stole headlines across the world. Using new research and drawing on the formidable abilities that made The Run of His Life a global bestseller, Jeffrey Toobin uncovers the story of the kidnapping and its aftermath in vivid prose and forensic detail.
Toobin (The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson), a New Yorker staff writer and CNN senior legal analyst, provides another definitive and nuanced look at a notorious crime case this time, the 1974 abduction of heiress Patty Hearst in San Francisco by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and its sensational aftermath. Two months into the kidnapping, in a tape released by the SLA, Hearst declared that she'd joined the group; two years later, she faced a federal trial for armed bank robbery. Toobin's rigorous detective work is enhanced by his placement of the Hearst case in the context of its times, with the U.S. shaken by the continuing Watergate revelations as well as the devastating OAPEC oil embargo, and his expert critique of the work of both prosecution and defense in Hearst's 1976 trial. His thorough research, careful parsing of all the evidence, and superior prose make the book read like a summertime thriller.