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Six SLA members were killed in a May 17, 1974, shootout with Los Angeles police. 

For what it was advertised to do, I thought CNN’s series “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst” lived up to the name. It was the story of Patty Hearst. Almost any SLA story told is going to be the story of Patty Hearst.

In the sixth and final episode, Jon Opsahl (the son of Myrna Opsahl, who was murdered during the 1975 Crocker bank robbery) got it right: Patty dominates all stories about the SLA, and anyone else involved gets lost in her blinding light.

Here are some suggestions I have for further reading about the SLA that goes beyond Patty:

  • A 2013 Minneapolis StarTribune article, “New cause for ex-radical Sara Jane Olson.” (AKA Kathy Soliah).
  • Children of SLA Victim Reflect on Kilgore.” Jon Opsahl was instrumental in making sure ex-SLA members appeared in court in 2002 to answer for the murder of his mother. His is a fascinating story of persistence.
  • The SLA’s first victim, Marcus Foster, the Oakland schools superintendent, was a national pioneer in urban school reform. This book addresses his approach to school reform.
  • In Search of a Sister by Fred Soltysik is an excellent account of Patricia (Mizmoon) Soltysik, who was killed in the May 17, 1974 shootout.
  • If you search this blog, you will find many posts I’ve written about Camilla Hall, who was also killed in the 1974 shootout.