The Weather Underground, a leftist terrorist group from the 1970s, played a bit role in last fall’s presidential election through the association of unrepentant former Weatherman Bill Ayers with his fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama. That kind of connection would have come as no surprise in Germany, where the Weather Underground’s far more deadly counterpart, the Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang, continues to cast a shadow over the country’s politics.The full review is here.
In 1985, German journalist Stefan Aust published the definitive book on the RAF, The Baader-Meinhof Complex. His book has since been turned into a successful feature film of the same name, which was nominated last year for a foreign-language Oscar and is slated for U.S. release this summer. Aust, a former editor of Der Spiegel, has now reissued his earlier work, changing the title to Baader-Meinhof and updating it with information that has come to light since the end of the RAF’s reign of terror in West Germany 30 years ago. The new edition deserves attention, and not just because Anthea Bell’s deft translation preserves the dynamic, detail-rich prose that made Aust’s original read like a real-life thriller. Dense with insights into the psychology of terrorism, this history of West Germany’s struggle against RAF radicals also serves as a cautionary tale for the West in its war against the modern threat of jihadist terror.
I blogged previously on the film, "Shattering Myths on Domestic Radicals: 'The Baader Meinhof Complex'."