I've always believed that if you truly want to understand what's going on in today's world, you should look to the voices of our revolutionary past. In her brilliant autobiography, Assata Shakur traces the fraught lines of her life for us - starting from her childhood, to her burgeoning race/class consciousness, to her time in the Black underground, and, eventually, to her perpetual victimization at the hands of bloodthirsty police. This is a necessary book on so many levels - perhaps foremost being that I don't know if I've read a book that better maps out the impossibility of the oppressed truly receiving the American myth of a "fair trial." This book, to me, is proof that revolutionaries are not born, they are made - molded from the tragic ashes of their anger.— From Nick's Picks
On May 2, 1973, Black Panther Assata Shakur (aka JoAnne Chesimard) lay in a hospital, close to death, handcuffed to her bed, while local, state, and federal police attempted to question her about the shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that had claimed the life of a white state trooper. Long a target of J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to defame, infiltrate, and criminalize Black nationalist organizations and their leaders, Shakur was incarcerated for four years prior to her conviction on flimsy evidence in 1977 as an accomplice to murder.
This intensely personal and political autobiography belies the fearsome image of JoAnne Chesimard long projected by the media and the state. With wit and candor, Assata Shakur recounts the experiences that led her to a life of activism and portrays the strengths, weaknesses, and eventual demise of Black and White revolutionary groups at the hand of government officials. The result is a signal contribution to the literature about growing up Black in America that has already taken its place alongside The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the works of Maya Angelou.
Two years after her conviction, Assata Shakur escaped from prison. She was given political asylum by Cuba, where she now resides.
"A deftly written book . . . A spellbinding tale." —The New York Times Book Review
"A sober, restrained, but forceful recollection. . . . A must book for those interested in the 'revolutionaries' of the 1960s" —Choice
"A compelling tale of the impact of white racism on a sensitive and powerful young black woman." —Library Journal