Graydon Carter

A Model Middle-American

Reunion: A Memoir

By

Hamish Hamilton 560pp £17.95 order from our bookshop
 

I finished reading Tom Hayden’s Reunion: A Memoir, the day Abbie Hoffman was found dead at the age of 52 in his Pennsylvania apartment, an apparent suicide. Reunion, which was completed prior to the break-up of Hayden’s 16-year marriage to the aerobics entrepreneur and sometime actress Jane Fonda, has a sort of happy ending – the title refers to Hayden’s reconciliation with his father following a decade and a half of alienation. Hoffman’s end was evidently not so happy. It is a difficult metamorphosis, this one from celebrated young firebrand to middle-aged, sociological footnote. Change, settle down, or make any attempt at milking your arc of fame in the pursuit of another career, and you are branded a pathetic loser, a sell-out. Stay the same, and like Hoffman you become a grizzled embarrassing fossil with an entourage of fringe loners and assorted nuts.

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