Speaking Event: Public Enemy - Confessions of an American Dissent
In this sequel to Fugitive Days, Ayers charts his life after the Weather Underground, when he becomes the GOP’s flaunted “domestic terrorist,” a “public enemy.”
Labeled a "domestic terrorist" by the McCain campaign in 2008 and used by the radical right in an attempt to castigate Obama for "pallin' around with terrorists," Bill Ayers is in fact a dedicated teacher, father, and social justice advocate with a sharp memory and even sharper wit. Public Enemy tells his story from the moment he and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, emerged from years on the run and rebuilt their lives as public figures, often celebrated for their community work and much hated by the radical right. In the face of defamation by conservative media, including a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed solely at demonizing Ayers, and in spite of frequent death threats, Bill and Bernardine stay true to their core beliefs in the power of protest, demonstration, and deep commitment. Ayers reveals how he has navigated the challenges and triumphs of this public life with steadfastness and a dash of good humor -- from the red carpet at the Oscars, to prison vigils and airports (where he is often detained and where he finally "confesses" that he did write Dreams from My Father), and ultimately on the ground at Grant Park in 2008 and again in 2012.
"The legendary Bill Ayers is at his spellbinding best in Public Enemy -- a brilliant, spirited document of a revolutionary life in our not-so-revolutionary age. One of the most compelling insightful memoirs of the year." -- Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author
"An inspiring, ripping read. Apart from being a committed activist, engaging thinker, brilliant parent, Bill Ayers is a great storyteller." -- Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Lazarus Project
"Bill Ayers is a master teacher, a master storyteller, and a clarion-clear voice of conscience and commitment. Here he is, standing calmly at the center of the never-ending maelstrom, a Public Enemy trying to make meaning and change and sense of it all." -- Adam Mansbach, author of Rage is Back
"With incisive humor, Bill Ayer’s captivating memoir reveals that behind the fearsome 'public enemy' lies a deeply dedicated parent, compassionate teacher, and principled revolutionary activist, representing this country’s best hopes for a democratic future." —Angela Davis, author of Women, Race, and Class
Bill Ayers is Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the founder of the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, and he is the author of many books on education, including Teaching the Personal and Political, On the Side of the Child, To Teach, A Simple Justice, and A Kind and Just Parent.
**Seats may be reserved with the advance purchase of Public Enemy at The Booksmith. Reserved seating is first-come, first-seated with your seating voucher. Once all seats have been claimed, there will be plenty of standing room this evening.