Introduction by Paul Krassner
Run Run Run is an intimate portrait of one of the most fascinating and complex history-makers of our century. Published with a new intro by Paul Krassner to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Hoffman's death.
Intertwining the details of Abbie Hoffman's intense personal life with the movement politics of the sixties, seventies, and eighties, Dan Simon writes Abbie's story from the point of view of his younger brother Jack, creating a full and poignant portrait of one of the geniuses of the 1960s counterculture. From the creation of the Yippies in 1967 and the tumult of the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests, to the humor and agony of the Chicago conspiracy trial, the scandal of Abbie's 1973 cocaine bust, and his six and a half years as a fugitive, to his reemergence as environmentalist "Barrie Freed" and his final struggle with manic-depressive illness, this biography offers a thorough examination of the contradictions that make Abbie Hoffman such a compelling figure. With the information and affection only a brother could bring to the complexities of Abbie's life, Hoffman and Simon portray Abbie's public persona alongside his private aspirations and fears, romances, and enduring family relationships.
Abbie Hoffman — national provocateur, political activist, founding member of the Yippies, defendant in the trial of the Chicago Seven, and author of Steal This Book, Revolution for the Hell of It, and Fuck the System — died on April 12, 1989. He was 52.
To celebrate his memory, we are proud to share the late Paul Krassner's foreword to the book Run Run Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman, written by Abbie's brother, Jack Hoffman, and Seven Stories Press publisher Dan Simon. Krassner's foreword, written a few weeks before his death in July 2019, perfectly conveys the contradiction of Abbie Hoffman — his unbridled silliness combined with a fiery political activism and passion for justice, creating a figure that simultaneously antagonized, amused, and terrified the highly conservative leaders of the era.
Dan Simon wrote of this contradiction, so pivotal to the living memory of Abbie Hoffman, in October 2020, soon after seeing the film The Trial of the Chicago Seven:
Maybe the most important idea in Run Run Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman, the biography of Abbie that I wrote with his brother Jack, appears in the very first paragraph of chapter 1. It’s the idea that a sense of futility was the source of Abbie’s remarkable energy and optimism, and that in the end his deep optimism held the same tragic seed as our despair. What prompted Jack and me to go there was the derailed life of his brilliant aunt Rose, a diagnosed schizophrenic who spent most of her adult life institutionalized. So in that opening paragraph it wasn’t our despair but his aunt Rose’s. No matter.
After I watched [The Trail of the Chicago Seven], I found myself thinking about Abbie and his aunt Rose, and the relationship between despair and optimism. Despair and optimism may share the same seed, and this may lead in the direction of optimism, a kind of optimism that doesn’t hide its kinship with despair, or maybe, to name it more accurately, a kind of faith in people. After Abbie died, we published the book that he and I had worked on together. He had envisioned it to be like the “Best of” albums that the musical artists of his era made—Dylan, the Stones, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, the Dead—and gave it the title The Best of Abbie Hoffman—his three ’60s and early ’70s books in one volume. We had buttons made: “Abbie Lives.” I still have a few. And he does.