Book Reviews

"It took Linda Coleman 15 years to write her memoir Radical Descent, a soul-searching and gripping account...Fortunately, the very qualities that make Coleman a hesitant revolutionary contribute to her talents as a writer...She has an eye for prosaic details...and she is a keen observer of human nature examining her own messy motives and those of her comrades... [with] relentless moral probing..."  - Gyln Vincent, Huffington Post Book Review

"If you came of age during the late 60s and early 70s, Radical Descent will take you back, and if you didn't, this compelling memoir will take you there. The Utopian goals, the sometimes violent means by which the radical fringe sought to achieve them, the moral ambiguities to be negotiated by all sides: it's all here, honestly investigated and memorably conveyed. Whatever it cost Coleman to write Radical Descent, I'm grateful that she did. Highly recommended!"  -  Wally Lamb

"A rare firsthand account...distinguished by the courage and painful honesty so critical in a memoir of this kind."   -  Peter Matthiessen

The 1960s and ’70s will be remembered for so much, not the least of which was the proliferation of radical protest movements that captured the imagination of young people coming of age in a time of extraordinary social, civil, and political unrest. As a 21-year-old just making her way, Coleman had advantages unlike many of her peers, including a blue-chip stock portfolio bestowed by her patrician, establishment parents. But money was not the safety net Coleman needed during these uncertain times. She wasn’t looking for a handout; she was looking for a home, and she finally found it with a ragtag cadre of evolving revolutionaries with vacillating plans for sticking it to the Man. As Coleman traces her increasing yet uncertain involvement with a group that eventually carried out violent domestic protests, the spellbinding portrait she presents is less that of a radical protester immersed in the era’s rhetoric of dissent and more of an ode to her lonely young self searching for love and friendship, affirmation and acceptance, albeit in all the wrong places. - Carol Haggas, Review American Library Association "Booklist"

“A terrific memoir… multi-textured and not polemical or dogmatic, it takes into account painful feelings towards family and loyalty.... A long-term Zen practitioner ordained  years ago…I love that her fierceness and fighting spirit go on and on. Read that book!”  -  Roshi Eve Myonen Marko, Zen Peacemakers Order

“Linda Coleman’s memoir, Radical Descent, is a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of the author's involvement with a revolutionary group during the 1970s, in which she explores engaging in right action when confronting evil. What is right action? Coleman questions whether one can ever condone the use of violence to bring about social change, especially since such violence might result in injury or death of others. Curiously, she doesn't explore the possibility of personal risk...." Nancy Jainchill, Entropy Magazine

" brilliant a description of an idealistic young woman’s confusion as I’ve ever read..." - Ted Rall

"It's easy to see why Bill Henderson, the prize-winning publisher of Pushcart Press, chose the book for the Pushcart's 2014 Editor's Book Award and why it has gone into a second printing. It makes for a nonstop reading...about a heady time in American cultural history." - Joan Baum, Dan's Papers