HOME AT THE EDGE - Book Review

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Book Review of :  HOME AT THE EDGE


"Home at the Edge" by Ronald Schulz delves into the compelling tale of a seventeen-year-old Schulz amidst the Weathermen's and the counterculture era in general. This period marked the emergence of a militant faction within the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), striving to "Bring the War Home" through intense direct action in Chicago, known as the "Days of Rage." Their aim was to sow street chaos and awaken the public from its indifference towards America's imperialistic and violent involvement in the Vietnam War.

The protest was not nearly as large as the Weathermen had hoped, but it was still in the hundreds that wreaked havoc on the Chicago streets. Schulz had heard Fred Hampton, the charismatic young leader of the Chicago Black Panthers, describe the protest as "Custeristic" - implying that the leaders were leading their followers into inevitable failure. These words didn't resonate with Schulz until he found himself in the Cook County Jail among numerous other rioters. At just seventeen years old, Schulz faced a daunting $35,000 bail.

His stint in the Cook County Jail was an education into revolutionary ideas and a place to meet many of the powerful movement leaders.   Schulz's parents, with Dr. Ghattas's help, were able to get Ronald released from jail and instead committed to the Riveredge mental hospital to try to make him less revolutionary and shape him into what they termed a "normal young man." But young Ronald considered himself a political prisoner fighting the People's War in the mother country. During his stay at Riverside, he witnessed attempted suicides and patients who were in terrible emotional states. One individual he met was a guy who used a knife to peel off a tattoo of a black panther from his arm because he didn't want anyone to think he supported the Black Panther party. He also meets Marge, whom he finds refreshing and very attractive.

The book offers a nostalgic journey back to the tumultuous '60s and early '70s, a period marked by significant events like the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, countercultural shifts, and political upheavals. Ronald, a witness to this era, lived the life of a hippie and a revolutionary, immersing himself in the defiance against authority and the pursuit of societal change through love and activism. "HOME AT THE EDGE" skillfully weaves in music lyrics that encapsulate the spirit of the time. The narrative captures the essence of a generation challenging norms and striving for a better world. Ronald's storytelling is rich with details, portraying the era's complexities with both immediacy and reflection, making it a poignant cultural exploration. It is a highly entertaining book about an important era.

Reviewed by: david

About Ronald Schulz


RONALD SCHULZ was born in the nineteen-fifties in Chicago. He dropped out to explore the Sixties radical counterculture before hitchhiking across Europe and Africa on a roundabout Buddhist pilgrimage to Nepal. Now a semi-retired hobo, and a new author writing a series of his honest histories of those tumultuous times, he hopes to honor the memory of departed friends before he too vanishes from this planet. He has taken advanced writing classes at the University of Washington and Hugo House. Ronald is a father of two, grandfather of three, who believes in living life to the fullest, regardless of circumstances.


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