Monday, August 08, 2016

NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - “American Heiress”

"When the victim becomes the criminal: A fresh look at the story of Patty Hearst" PBS NewsHour 8/5/2016

I can well remember the events and how they effected me, I was living in Los Angles County at the time.  Also, for our younger generations, home-grown terrorism is NOT new.


SUMMARY:  In 1974, William Randolph Hearst's granddaughter Patty was abducted from her California home by members of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army.  After subsequent events suggested the teenager had joined the group, she was captured and sentenced -- but later pardoned.  Jeffrey Toobin tells the story anew in “American Heiress:  The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst.”

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  On February 4, 1974, 19-year-old Patty Hearst, granddaughter of publishing titan William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from her home in Berkeley, California, by members of a radical group that called itself the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).

It was an event that riveted the nation, even more so when, not long after her abduction, it began to look as though Hearst might have joined the group.  In April, she took part in a bank robbery.  Hearst was captured in September 1975, more than a year after six members of the SLA were killed in a gun battle with police in Los Angeles.

She served almost two years in prison before her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter.  She later received a full pardon from President Clinton.

The incredible story is told anew in “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst.”

And author Jeffrey Toobin, staff writer at “The New Yorker” and legal analyst for CNN, joins me now.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, Author, “American Heiress”:  Good to be here.

JEFFREY BROWN:  I want to begin where you do.  It's the strangeness of this period, the early 1970s, the violence that was almost routine in a country at that time that is difficult to even remember or imagine.

JEFFREY TOOBIN:  Think about one fact, one fact alone, 1,000 political bombings a year in '72, '73, '74.  Almost inconceivable.  That was what the world was like.

Skyjackings were epidemic.


JEFFREY TOOBIN:  You had an actual revolutionary movement in this country that, while never likely to succeed, was disrupting the country, especially Northern California, in a way that's it's just hard to believe.

JEFFREY BROWN:  I was just even thinking about the opening of the Olympics, of course, in 1972 was the Munich Olympics, right, what happened there.


JEFFREY BROWN:  That the world…

JEFFREY TOOBIN:  And Watergate (scandal), and the energy crisis, nervous breakdown collectively for the country.

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