Photo by Bill Hood
Rebellion, Love, Betrayal
A 1967 protest march opposing the Vietnam War succeeds in penetrating the Pentagon. Student radicals are raising hell on the campuses. At the University of Michigan, a young CIA agent assigned to infiltrate student protest organizations meets Liz, an anti-war activist. They fall in love, which complicates the lives of both of them.
Actual events that figure in the novel include the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the accompanying riots, the Weathermen's “Days of Rage”, the police killing of a Black Panther leader, and an explosion in a bomb factory in Greenwich Village.
The characters in the novel, both the political dissidents and those opposed to them, need to decide how much violence they are willing to use, or how much it is politically wise to use. The dissidents realize that they are no longer talking about simply marching, carrying placards, making speeches, staging strikes. They see themselves as preparing to inflict pain.
What is the effective strategy, or the moral strategy? Political plans are shaped by personal idiosyncrasy and affection, by public opinion and civic inertia, and, of course, by fate.