On 4 February 1974, nineteen-year-old Patty Hearst was kidnapped by a Marxist terrorist group called the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). On 15 April that year, Hearst was caught on surveillance video helping the SLA rob a bank in San Francisco. After more than a year on the lam, she was arrested, tried and convicted. What had happened to her between 4 February and 15 April? Hearst claims she was coerced into supporting the SLA and brainwashed into parroting its agenda. The SLA said she was an enthusiastic convert. Jeffrey Toobin, to my surprise and horror, appears to agree with her kidnappers.
Toobin is famous for The Run of His Life, a superb account of the O J Simpson case that showed how the athlete’s trial for murder became a proxy for much bigger battles over race and politics. The same goes, in this book, for the Patty Hearst case,