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Family Circle by Susan Braudy
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Family Circle

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Family Circle by Susan Braudy
Paperback $15.95
Nov 09, 2004 | ISBN 9781400077489

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  • Nov 09, 2004 | ISBN 9781400077489

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  • Oct 29, 2014 | ISBN 9780804153614

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“A gripping study. . . . A powerful narrative.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Tough-minded, honest, and thoroughly absorbing.” —The New Republic

“The tensions, conflicts, and eventual downfall of a seemingly confident dynasty of radical tinkers and super-achievers . . . give Susan Braudy’s Family Circle its stunning power. . . . As Braudy tells it, the story attains the epic stature of a genuine American tragedy.” —The Women’s Review of Books

“Fascinating . . . Braudy, who knew Kathy growing up, delves deeply into her family’s crippling psychological games.” –People

“Rethinks what makes a radical tick." —New York Daily News

Author Essay

Cast of Characters: Who is the Boudin family circle?

Kathy and Michael’s great uncle Louis Boudin, a founder of the socialist party, who despite Lenin’s admiration of Louis’interpretation of Marx, disdained Lenin’s revolution. Louis walked out of a socialist convention in 1919, never to return because he hated Bolshevik tyranny.

I.F. (Izzy) Stone was the brother-in-law of Leonard Boudin and the leader of the Boudin Family Circle. IZZY was a great man, an activist and mighty wordsmith. He was a fearless fighter and government critic whose independent newsletter was widely respected and remains a standard today. Izzy supported the formation of the state of Israel, but later condemned Israel for its treatment of the Palestine Arabs and advocated a Palestinian State. He formed an impressive committee to fight the victims of Congressional witch hunts for alleged communists. He opposed our intervention in North Korea, noting the gap between the Soviet Union and other communist countries.

Kathy and Michael’s father Leonard Boudin, was a civil liberties lawyer and legal warrior who used the Constitution to fight the government and illegal FBI tactics. His clients included Paul Robeson who had been unfairly denied his right to travel by the State Department. Leonard also fought congressional subcommittees for the rights of accused communists in the 1950’s. He was the lawyer for anti-war activists such as Philip Berrigan and the world-famous child-care author Dr. Benjamin Spock. Leonard made headlines on behalf of his client Daniel Ellsberg who stole and released the Pentagon Papers study of the Vietnam War which arguably was the last straw in the public outrage. His other clients: Fidel Castro’s Cuba, the Socialist Worker party, the Scientology group and Judith Coplon. Leonard Boudin in later years declared himself “a-political”, but his job was defending the rights of lefties because he said “the government is so right wing.”

Jean Boudin was an idealist, a poet, who wholeheartedly encouraged her husband’s crusade on behalf of dissenters of the left. Having suffered a nervous breakdown as a young wife, she rallied and later took charge of supporting Kathy after Leonard’s death in 1989.

Michael Boudin is the influential chief justice of the circuit court in Massachusetts. A conservative and the Boudin family rebel, he writes opinions against such issues as affirmative action in the Boston public school. He teaches Constitutional law at Harvard and is the third generation of the Boudin legal dynasty.

David Gilbert is the soft-spoken, gentle-seeming father of Chesa Boudin and former husband of Kathy. He is a man of luminous intelligence who dazzled his professors at Columbia. A liberal who opposed radical action at first, he is now in Attica prison serving a 75 year to life term for the Brinks robbery in Nyack. He refused to defend himself at his trial, because he said that the criminal justice system was unfair to his co-defendents.

Chesa G. Boudin is the son of Kathy Boudin and her former husband David Gilbert. Chesa is a Rhodes scholar and a summa cum laude graduate of Yale. In England he will study the involuntary migrations of people in South America. He was raised by Bernardine Dohrn and her husband Bill Ayers, members of the radical weatherman group. A child with many problems linked to his separation from his birth parents, he has prevailed and became an important advocate for his mother’s parole.

Celia Stone Gilbert is Jean’s niece, a respected poet, and the wife of Nobelist Walter Gilbert. Celia was a favorite of Jean’s.

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