Terrorists of Freedom Fighters? Decide for yourself.

–by Michael Pierce

Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol – The Explosive Story of M19, America’s First Female Terrorist Group by William Rosenau PhD. Published January 7, 2020 by Simon and Schuster. Photos courtesy of the publisher.

The period from 1965 to 1985 was an era of sometimes violent political activism in America. Groups like Students For A Democratic Society, the Weather Underground, and the Black Panthers fought the system in the streets. Bombings, assassinations of police officers, bank and armored truck robberies, and burglaries, committed by these organizations, were not uncommon in America’s biggest cities.

William Rosenau

Membership in these organizations dwindled over time as their respective members became frustrated over a lack of public support and disappointment over the lack of a general uprising pushed activists and supporters to drop out, usually melting back into society at large and getting on with their lives.

Some, however, wished to carry on the struggle. The women of the previously mentioned organizations, in particular, wanted to continue the fight. Many of these women eventually coalesced into the group that became known as M19. Also known as the May 19th Communist Group, named to recognize the shared birthday of Malcolm x and North Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh.

Bombings and robberies were the group’s primary forte, but they became best known for their November 7, 1983 bombing of the U.S. Capitol, causing extensive damage. Over the course of the next twenty months several additional bombings put them on the map as a force to be reckoned with.

It didn’t take long, however, before M19 fragmented and failed. Life underground is not easy. Some members went underground and are still at large. Others fled the country. Many were captured, convicted, and served (or are serving) long prison sentences.

Author William Rosenau has brought M19 out of the shadows of history and back under a magnifying glass. TONIGHT WE BOMBED THE U.S.CAPITOL reminds readers that, as fragmented as America is today, there was a time not too long ago when the country was much more fragmented.

It has often been said that one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. Read this book and judge for yourself.

 

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