Bringing Down America

In 1969, Vietnam Veteran Larry Grathwohl had a chance encounter with some members of the radical group the Weathermen. Most people would have simply dismissed them as crazy hippies. Larry Grathwohl was not most people. He was concerned enough by their violent rhetoric to discuss the encounter with his father in law, a retired Cincinnati police officer. Grathwohl’s father in law encouraged him to share his concerns with the Cincinnati Police Department and the FBI. Grathwohl decided, partly on his own initiative, to try to infiltrate the Weathermen and was surprisingly successful. Despite having no training in undercover work, Larry Grathwohl managed to gain the confidence of the inner circles of the Weathermen and when they decided to underground, they took him with them. All this time, Grathwohl was sending information to the FBI and trying to frustrate the Weathermen’s plans for a violent revolution.

Bringing Down America is the story of Larry Grathwohl’s adventures as an FBI informant in the Weathermen. It is an exciting story and somewhat harrowing when the reader considers how deadly earnest these radicals were with their plans for revolution. They planned bombings, assassinations, riots, kidnappings, robberies; all for the Revolution. The Weathermen had some limited success and the only reason that they didn’t do more damage was their own incompetence as terrorists.


There are a couple of points to consider after reading Bringing Down America. First is that the Weathermen were woefully inept at terrorism and revolution. At least one of their bomb making facilities blew up killing several Weathermen. They never seemed to have any realistic ideas on how to successfully carry out a campaign of terrorism. What plans they made were often wildly beyond their actual capabilities.

Second, the former Weathermen are far more dangerous now than they were back then. They made for inept terrorists, but now many of the former leaders of the Weathermen have positions of considerable influence. Bill Ayers is now an important expert on education. He helps decide what your children are learning in school. Bernardine Dohrn is doing her part as a “social activist” teaching law to undermine the rule of law. There is also Ayer’s protégé, one Barack Obama who has been moderately successful in politics.

None of these people has ever expressed the slightest regret for their criminal actions and there is no reason to believe their desire to fundamentally transform America into something resembling Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China has mellowed in the slightest. They are still dedicated to bringing down America.



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