Kathy Boudin, a member of the '60s extremist group the Weathermen, spent more than 20 years in prison for the 1981 Brinks robbery that led to the slayings of two police officers and a security guard. While her parole in September got a lot of attention, few accounts examined the roots of her ideology. Braudy, who knew Kathy growing up, delves deeply into her family's crippling psychological games in a fascinating and largely sympathetic account.
Kathy's descent into violence, Braudy argues, was partly a play for the attention of her father, Leonard, a leftist civil-liberties lawyer who helped leak the Pentagon Papers and once defended Fidel Castro. But papa Boudin was focused elsewhere. A skirt-chaser whose many affairs led his wife to attempt suicide, he insisted to his daughter that "the central story line was his own heroism."
Still, Kathy, now 60, is a convicted murderer. Braudy's portrayal of her as a victim of her background may rankle some readers.