STARRED REVIEW
April 2017

A revolutionary childhood

By Peter Andreas

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.

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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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Rebel Mother

Rebel Mother

By Peter Andreas
Simon & Schuster
ISBN 9781501124396

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