A Child Prodigy

Daniel Burton-Rose

in Guerrilla USA

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520264281
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520946033 | DOI:
A Child Prodigy

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Born on November 6, 1941, Edward Allen Mead was a child of wartime California. He was transplanted to rural Iowa directly after the Allied victory. Except for a stint in juvenile detention, Mead subsequently bounced between his mother's homestead outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, and his father's house in Compton. By fifteen, he was already an ex-convict, having done time at the Utah State Industrial School for Boys in Ogden the previous year for shoplifting a carton of cigarettes while on probation for burning down an aircraft hangar. Mead dropped out of school in tenth grade and got by on odd jobs and petty thefts. Before being arrested for the burglaries, he had not considered his own behavior to be particularly abnormal. After being incarcerated on the burglary charges, Mead began to identify as a criminal. The permanent outsider status of “criminal” laid the groundwork for the oppositional identity he would embrace in his early thirties: that of a communist revolutionary.

Keywords: Edward Allen Mead; California; Alaska; Utah Industrial School; criminal; burglary

Chapter.  2170 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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