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Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol

The Explosive Story of M19, America's First Female Terrorist Group

About The Book

“A deeply-researched and well-written account of” (Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad) M19—the first and only domestic terrorist group founded and led by women—as they waged a violent war against racism, sexism, and imperialism in Ronald Reagan’s America.

1981: Ronald Reagan declared that it is “morning in America” but a small band of well-educated women were planning to combat the status quo at any cost.

Having spent their entire adult lives embroiled in political struggles—Vietnam War protests, Hispanic, Native American, and Black liberation, and more—these women had determined that it was time for a final stand. They might not be able to overthrow the government, but they could certainly disrupt it.

Together, they formed the May 19th Communist Organization, or “M19,” a name derived from the birthday shared by Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh, two of their revolutionary idols. Together, these six women carried out some of the most shocking operations in the history of domestic terrorism—from prison breakouts and murderous armed robberies to a bombing campaign that wreaked havoc on the nation’s capital, its military installations, and New York City.

For the first time, the full, fascinating, and terrifying story of M19 is explored by Cold War historian and counterterrorism expert William Rosenau in this “gripping account of this hitherto forgotten terrorist campaign” (Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism). Three decades may have passed since these women fought what they saw as an essential battle for self-determination and dignity, but we’re still struggling to decipher which side of history their actions fall on and what we should learn from their motivations.

About The Author

Photograph by Sarah E.T. Billingsley

William Rosenau, PhD, is a senior research scientist at CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization, and a fellow in the International Security program at New America. His articles have been published in The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He has appeared on CNN, BBC World News, and elsewhere. He lives in Washington, DC.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (January 7, 2020)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501170140

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Raves and Reviews

"The author relies on skilled, detailed research to outline both the goals and violent practices of the revolutionaries... An intriguing history that holds relevance to domestic terrorism in our current era."

– Kirkus Reviews

“I was blown away. Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol is simply one of the most entertaining and intriguing books I’ve read in quite some time.”

– Sean McFate, author of The New Rules of War

“Bill Rosenau has unearthed the extraordinary tale of a group of ordinary American women who became terrorists and went to war against the United States government. It’s a deeply researched and well-written account of a group of true believers who waged a terrifying terrorist campaign in America.”

– Peter Bergen, author of United States of Jihad

“Terrorism has a long history in the United States. And no one has done a better job than William Rosenau in recounting one of its more fascinating episodes—the bombing campaign waged by a terrorist group of white American women known as M19. Tonight We Bombed the U.S. Capitol is a gripping account of this hitherto forgotten terrorist campaign that culminated in the 1983 attack on our most revered edifices. Rosenau has produced the authoritative account of the group, its members, operations, and consequences.”

– Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism and professor, Georgetown University

“This book is a journey both delightful and horrifying through a story that was never even remembered by most, much less forgotten. Anyone interested in terrorism and the modern security state, or just a good yarn, will love this book.

– Ryan Evans, CEO and editor in chief of War on the Rocks and publisher of Texas National Security Review

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