Joshua Melville: American Time Bomb


Attica, Sam Melville, and a Son’s Search for Answers

You know I like to shake things around, so here is another non-fiction crime book/memoir for your consideration.

Written by Joshua Melville, American Time Bomb relates the history of his father Sam Melville, and the people and groups (like the Weathermen) he associated with. It also speaks to the Attica uprising, and racially distorted imprisonment.

So, who was Sam Melville? That depends upon who you’re talking to. By some, he was a terrorist, and violent anti-government activist. By others, a hero of a revolution. By his son, a father who abandoned him.

Regardless of the lens, Sam Melville effected eight bombings from July to November of 1969, before being imprisoned in Attica. He was killed there in 1971 during the uprising.

This is a son’s journey to understand the father he saw little of, thru the points of view of those who did spend time with him. Lovers, activists, and at times his mother. You will not find much that is sentimental.

The chapters easily move back and forth. From the world of his father, to the world of his son growing up without him. You get a sense of his confusion, loss, and enmity.

The interviews finds you reading doublespeak and evasiveness, along with anger and heartfelt pain. For some, there is a steadfast idea that they were the only one who knew the real Sam Melville.

As for Joshua Melville, he was quite upfront about this book, writing, “…please keep in mind that American Time Bomb is a candid look at the people on both sides of the law, all viewing the world through complex moral prisms. There are no clear heroes in these pages. Including me.”

Well written, American Time Bomb ably outlines an era of upset in America 50+ years ago. It has a clear place of reflection and instruction in todays environment of divisiveness.

~ June Lorraine

Murder in Common is a Feedspot Top 100 Crime Novel Website


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