David Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left and an editor of Ramparts, the magazine that set the intellectual and revolutionary tone for the movement. From his vantage point at the center of the action, he populates Radical Son with vivid portraits of people who made the radical decade, while unmaking America at the same time. We are introduced to an aged Bertrand Russell, the world-famous philosopher and godson of John Stuart Mill, who in his nineties became America’s scourge. There is Tom Hayden, the radical Everyman who promoted guerrilla warfare in America’s cities in the Sixties and became a Democratic state senator when his revolutions failed. We meet Huey Newton, a street hustler and murderer who founded the Black Panthers. A brutal murder committed by the Panthers prompts Horowitz’s profound “second thoughts” that eventually transformed him into an intellectual leader of conservatism and its most prominent activist in Hollywood.
Horowitz moved from one set of political convictions to another over the course of thirty years, and here he challenges listeners to consider how they came by their own convictions.