A Memoir from the Front Lines of the Sixties
Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780307739506, 454pp.
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
In this spellbinding memoir, Bill Zimmerman relates his many adventures in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the sixties and offers invaluable lessons on the art of effective protest for today’s activists.
In Troublemaker, Zimmerman vividly describes registering black voters in Mississippi, marching with Martin Luther King, Jr., organizing for the March on the Pentagon, protesting at the Chicago Democratic convention, and flying food to protesting Indians at Wounded Knee. He relates how he abandoned his career as a scientist to prevent military misuse of his research, then smuggled medicines to North Vietnam, established an international charity that rebuilt a Vietnamese hospital bombed by Nixon, and helped lead the grassroots lobbying campaign that finally ended the war. Breaking down the complex strategies and tactics of the antiwar movement, Zimmerman provides an invaluable look at the sixties and its continuing relevance today.
"Remarkable. . . . Activists today will want to read this inspiring story."
—Wes Boyd, Co-founder of MoveOn.org
"A smart, tough, incisive look at the politics of the '60s and how they impact us today. . . . Read it. Then go out and cause trouble."
—Robert Greenwald, Producer and Director, Brave New Films
“A well-written, passionate story of a personal journey through the Vietnam protest era, and a valuable model for progressive activists of our own time.”
"Bill Zimmerman gives the lie to the old saw that if you remember the '60s you weren't there. . . . Zimmerman has written one hell of a page-turner."
—Paul Begala, CNN Political Consultant
"As thrilling as any true-life thriller. . . . At a time when journalists persist in judging the Occupy movement by its easily visible signs and accomplishments of the past hundred days, Troublemaker is a useful reminder of how much of a social movement takes place in a profusion of lives, under the surface, among the unfamous."
—Todd Gitlin, The New Republic
"A riveting book. Bill Zimmerman is a shining example of . . . a patriot his country can count on in dark times. . . . This is an inspiring story of a life committed to a better world. And, what a life! What a story!"
"Bill Zimmerman's memoir is a great adventure story. . . . Zimmerman's tales of derring-do are fused with insightful analysis, and a history we thought we knew is retold in surprising and moving ways."
—Richard Flacks, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara and Co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society
"Bill Zimmerman's wise and rollicking chronicle of his contrarian transit across the sixties and early seventies (a sort of cross between Zelig, Zorro, and Zapata) can help explain the political and cultural passions of that era, both to those who lived through them and to their progeny, better than any such text has yet managed to do. It's a vivid tale, elegantly dispatched."
—Lawrence Weschler, Director, New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU
"A thoughtful eyewitness history of America's war at home and a thrilling political adventure story. An engaging exhortation to take risks and live a meaningful life."
"Exhilarating . . . a vivid evocation of the romanticism and extraordinary shifts in consciousness that the 1960s unleashed."