Rebel Mother : My Childhood Chasing the Revolution
by Peter Andreas

Overview - "Thoroughly engrossing" -- The New York Times Book Review
"Luminous" -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Those who enjoyed Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle will find much to admire here." -- Booklist (starred review)

The intimate true story of a boy on the run with his mother, as she abducts him to South America in search of the revolution.  Read more...

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More About Rebel Mother by Peter Andreas
"Thoroughly engrossing" --The New York Times Book Review
"Luminous" --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Those who enjoyed Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle will find much to admire here." --Booklist (starred review)

The intimate true story of a boy on the run with his mother, as she abducts him to South America in search of the revolution.

Carol Andreas was a traditional 1950s housewife from a small Mennonite town in central Kansas who became a radical feminist and Marxist revolutionary. From the late sixties to the early eighties, she went through multiple husbands and countless lovers while living in three states and five countries. She took her youngest son, Peter, with her wherever she went, even kidnapping him and running off to South America after his straitlaced father won a long and bitter custody fight.

They were chasing the revolution together, though the more they chased it the more distant it became. They battled the bad "isms" (sexism, imperialism, capitalism, fascism, consumerism), and fought for the good "isms" (feminism, socialism, communism, egalitarianism). They were constantly running, moving, hiding. Between the ages of five and eleven, Peter attended more than a dozen schools and lived in more than a dozen homes, moving from the comfortably bland suburbs of Detroit to a hippie commune in Berkeley to a socialist collective farm in pre-military coup Chile to highland villages and coastal shantytowns in Peru. When they secretly returned to America they settled down clandestinely in Denver, where his mother changed her name to hide from his father.

This is an extraordinary account of a deep mother-son bond and the joy and toll of growing up with a radical mother in a radical age. Andreas is an insightful and candid narrator whose unforgettable memoir gives new meaning to the old saying, "the personal is political."

This item is Non-Returnable.

  • ISBN-13: 9781501124396
  • ISBN-10: 1501124390
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Political Science > Political Ideologies - Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism
Books > Family & Relationships > General

BookPage Reviews

A revolutionary childhood

BookPage Top Pick in Nonfiction, April 2017

Peter Andreas’ enthralling new memoir describes growing up on the lam with his Marxist revolutionary mother. In a childhood only the American counterculture could create, young Peter and his mother flee the bland suburbs of Kansas for new horizons: a hippie commune in Berkeley, a socialist farm in Allende’s Chile and collective living in Peru. Writing with candor and sincerity, Andreas—now an international studies professor at Brown University—creates an unforgettable portrait of a remarkable woman.

Born into a Mennonite family in central Kansas, Carol Andreas grew up questioning the strictures of her community. On her wedding day at 17, she suddenly balked and told her husband-to-be that she didn’t know if she believed in monogamy. Despite going through with the marriage, Carol’s years as a 1950s housewife quickly came to an end once she began studying for a Ph.D. in sociology and became involved with 1960s political activism. Subject to the increasingly repressive countermoves of her husband, Carol kidnapped Peter from school in 1969, taking off with him and his two older brothers for Berkeley and freedom. For the next decade, Peter and Carol would travel throughout Latin America, while Carol wrote books about their experiences.

Peter’s father never gave up trying to regain custody of him, and the emotional heart of this story is the tension between young Peter’s loyalty to his mother and his desire for the domestic stability (cereal and Saturday morning cartoons) of his father. The great achievement of Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution emerges from the balance and respect with which adult Peter portrays the conflict between his parents. Written with the aid of Carol’s extensive diaries (found after her death), Rebel Mother offers a sympathetic and fascinating glimpse into the life of a radical woman, a tumultuous era and a sensitive young man’s coming of age.

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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