Friends and Family,
There are only two items in this special installment of these ‘Books by Friends’ messages. And neither is an actual book. But these are blockbusters you won’t want to miss.
Fortunate Son: Redemption of a ’70s Radical, an on-line memoir by my old friend and comrade Bill Drew, is so full of passion and rich in self-reflection that you won’t be able to put it down. In vivid detail Bill recounts his battle to help end the Vietnam War; to win justice for workers in Milwaukee and across the globe; to persevere through a one-year stay in the Wisconsin prison system; to conquer his own demons of disillusionment and substance abuse; and to beat back the pancreatic cancer that afflicts him today.
Bill invites all of us to interact with his story this way:
“Now in the twilight of my life, I am reflecting on the nature of legacy and the contributions which my generation has made and can still make. As I said at my 66th birthday party, “I have no secrets now.” Enjoy the read. Comment if you are moved to. Provide information and insights to events which I may not have portrayed to your satisfaction. Email me if you have private thoughts. firstname.lastname@example.org”
You can find Fortunate Son here, and you won’t be disappointed.
Blockbuster number two is a film: One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes. This documentary tells the story of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, Filipino union reform and anti-Marcos dictatorship activists who were assassinated at their ILWU union hall in Seattle June 1, 1981. Again we are taken inside a series of battles: to end discrimination against Filipino workers in Alaska fishing canneries; to connect with the generation of Filipino radicals who battled racism and exploitation from the ’30s through the ’50s; to oust corrupt union officials; to practice solidarity with the fight for workers’ rights and democracy in the Philippines; and – after Gene and Silme were murdered – to carry on their work and bring all their killers including the Marcos government itself to justice.
One Generation’s Time is taking those of us who were friends and comrades with Silme and Gene on a highly emotional journey. But its relevance is far broader, especially in the film’s powerful forward-looking message concentrated in a closing interview with one of Silme’s daughters, now an activist herself.
To spend an hour streaming this outstanding documentary, go to this link.
I don’t have to tell any of you how challenging the current moment is for partisans of peace, equality and justice, for all people of conscience. We can be grateful that between Bill’s memoir and this film about Silme and Gene, there’s enough inspiration and food for deep thought to keep each of us going for a good long time.
May the Circle Be Unbroken,
For additional books, films and more that provide inspiration and insight, you can find the 12 previous ‘Books by Friends’ messages I’ve sent since 2007 here.