Yippie Girl by Judy Gumbo

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“Gumbo delivers a sharp-edged memoir of years of protest and resistance . . . A welcome addition to the literature of radical activism in the age of Johnson, Nixon, and beyond.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The best account in existence of what life was like for a woman in the theatrical, goofy, messianic world of the Yippie boys . . . A fun read and a valuable political document, long overdue. It’s cause for celebration.” —Counterpunch

In 1968, a 24-year-old woman moved to Berkeley, California and immediately became enmeshed in the Youth International Party, aka The Yippies, a recently-formed satirical protest group. In the next few years, Judy Gumbo (a nickname given her by Eldridge Cleaver), was soon at the center of counter-cultural activity—from protests in People’s Park, to meetings at Black Panther headquarters, to running a pig for President at the raucous Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a protest that devolved into violent attacks by the police and arrests that led to the notorious Chicago Conspiracy Trial. In this insider feminist memoir, Gumbo reveals intimate details of her fellow radicals Jerry Rubin, Anita & Abbie Hoffman, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Krassner, Stew Albert, and more, detailing their experiences in radical anti-war protests and her own skirmishes with and victory over illegal FBI surveillance. Yippie Girl explores Gumbo’s life as a protester to show that, while circumstances always change, protesters can stay loyal to the causes they believe in and remain true to themselves. She also reveals how dogmatism, authoritarianism, and interpersonal conflict can damage those same just causes, offering a timeless and strategic guide for activists today protesting against injustice in all its forms.

YIPPIE GIRL: Exploits in Protest and Defeating the FBI by Judy Gumbo

ISBN: 978-1953103185; Trade Paper Original; 360 pages; $18; May 3, 2022


High Praise for Yippie Girl

“Gumbo delivers a sharp-edged memoir of years of protest and resistance . . . A welcome addition to the literature of radical activism in the age of Johnson, Nixon, and beyond.” —Kirkus Reviews

Yippie Girl leaves much unsaid. But it’s the best account in existence of what life was like for a woman in the theatrical, goofy, messianic world of the Yippie boys . . . A fun read and a valuable political document, long overdue. It’s cause for celebration.” Counterpunch

“With the world fractured by orchestrated divisiveness, Yippie Girl is a healing balm.” —Meegan Lee Ochs, Artist Relations Manager, ACLU of Southern California

“We have to get our history right, so young folks can see where we were coming from. These stories have got to be told.And Yippie Girl tells it like it is.” —Bobby Seale, founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party

“Judy Gumbo was and is quite a dame. Her new book is splendid. Hurrah for her.” —Susan Brownmiller, feminist, activist, author, Against Our Will, Men, Women and Rape

“There are those who were anti-war activists in the 60s and 70s – and then there is Judy Gumbo. She lived it, 24/7. Always a powerful life force, Judy has turned into a powerful writer – about herself, about the movement, and about life as a target of the FBI. Her own FBI file serves as a grand reminder of how activists were spied on back then. In Yippie Girl, Judy’s remarkable memoir of her life events, she takes us back to an era that redefined the country, and redefined the lives of so many (then young) Americans.” —Bill Ritter, news anchor, WABC-TV New York

“Judy Gumbo has written an irreverent, yet intimate, insider’s romp through the most dramatic events of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Yippies, Black Panthers, Chicago 8 defendants, the Capitol bombing, and FBI agents populate this politically important, feminist work that also provides the setting for a passionately powerful love story. A fantastic trip that the reader will delight in taking.” —Robert Meeropol, son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg; founder, the Rosenberg Fund for Children; author, An Execution in the Family

“We’ve all read about the counter-cultural adventures of the Yippie Boys – Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Paul Krassner and Ed Sanders.Now we finally get to hear the real deal stories from the other side of the cisgender divide. And who better to deliver them than Judy Gumbo, activist extraordinaire? Her memoir is a rollicking ride through the ‘60s and ‘70s and an honest appraisal of the some of our youthful excesses.All I can say is “Yippie!” —Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of Steal This Dream: Abbie Hoffman & the Countercultural Revolution in America

“At last! We so need to hear more voices of women involved in the 60s youth and anti-war movement. Zelig-like, Judy Gumbo seemed to be everywhere, with an insider’s vantage point on key protest events and personages of the late Sixties and early Seventies. More importantly, she brings a clear-eyed but unjaundiced feminist perspective on the blithe misogyny of the movement’s male ‘heavies.’ Nevertheless, Gumbo’s fun-loving Yippie ethos continues to burn bright in the pages of her memoir: Yippie Girl provides a rollicking read, entertaining as well as instructive to a new generation of youthful social change activists. As a Sixties historian, I learned much I didn’t know—and can’t wait to introduce Judy Gumbo to my students. I think they’ll love her as much as the FBI loathed her.” —Aniko Bodroghkozy, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia; author, Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement

“Love the writing: VERY live, immediate—this does not feel like ancient history, it’s living and breathing in our lives right now. It’s part of our power, people power.” —Kris Welch, host, The Talkies, KPFA-FM

Yippie Girl is one hell of a good read. Serious, but never sanctimonious, Judy Gumbo takes us into her Sixties world, and what a world it was!  A Canadian red-diaper baby, she joined up with the politicized hippies who formed Yippie, was an ally of the Black Panther Party, became a women’s liberationist, and, through her antiwar work, had a clandestine affair with a high-ranking North Vietnamese official. Throughout, she was relentlessly surveilled by the FBI, whose role in subverting the Sixties she usefully highlights.” —Alice Echols, Professor of History, The University of Southern California, author Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin.

“No one has told Judy Gumbo’s story before. No one has recreated the Sixties more vividly, more compassionately or with a more delicious sense of humor. Yippie Girltraces Gumbo’s marriages, her lovers and her friends and does it without blowing anyone’s cover. Gumbo includes portions from FBI documents that describe her adventures in the counterculture and the movement. Abbie Hoffman would say ‘Steal This Book.’ Jerry Rubin would say ‘Do It!’ I say buy Yippie Girl, read it and let it blow your mind the way it did mine.” —Jonah Raskin, Author, Beat Blues: San Francisco, 1955

“Red-diaper baby-doctoral student turned Yippie Girl, Judy Gumbo—so named by Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver—engagingly recounts her revolutionary travails, including tussles with the FBI and other police operatives, during the Long Sixties. A peripatetic quest lures Gumbo from her native Canada to Berkeley, NYC, the 1968 Democratic Party Convention in Chicago, Hanoi, Havana, and innumerable sites in-between. Her captivating memoir proves most illuminating as a feminist corrective to the male centric antics of and accounts by fellow Jewish Yippies Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, and the author’s sometimes partner-later beloved husband Stew Albert, among others. Running the gamut of emotions, Gumbo’s story, which she deems ‘narrative or creative non-fiction,’ sparkles with its revelatory honesty, particularly as she moves ‘out of girlhood into womanhood.’ Absolutely indispensable for its insights into the antiwar, counterculture, and women’s liberation movements.” —Robert C. Cottrell, Professor Emeritus, History and American Studies, California State University, Chico

“Written as narrative nonfiction with the smooth contours of a novel, Yippie Girl provides a comprehensive insider history of early Yippie days. For those of us that arrived late to the revolution, Gumbo gives us a joyous and intimate guide to our roots, bringing us into the lives and homes of countercultural icons. At the same time, she revisits living amidst sweaty hippie machismo and Yippie sarcasm through the lens of a 21st Century feminist, giving us a badly needed window into a time of hopeful chaos and cultural transformation.” —Michael I. Niman, Professor of Journalism, SUNY Buffalo State; author, People of the Rainbow: A Nomadic Utopia

“Judy Gumbo is a great storyteller, though it helps that she has a great story to tell. Her tales of Yippie (and Yippie-inspired) political theater should be on the shelf of anyone interested in activism.” —Craig Peariso, Associate Professor of Art History, Boise State University; author, Radical Theatrics: Put-Ons, Politics, and the Sixties

“Gumbo has written a romp—breathless, amazing and terrifying all at the same time—through an equally divisive time in American history with a “you are there” energy. Even if you weren’t there, you will want to know about this and what youth, sexism, and political commitment can, and cannot, do. Don’t miss this.” —Susan M. Reverby, PhD, Marion Butler McLean Professor Emerita in the History of Ideas, Professor Emerita of Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley College

Yippie Girl is the book that future historians will turn to for the real, true story of women revolutionaries in the1960’s. Literary, rollicking and color splashed, this engrossing book tells the story of a complicated, bold Canadian heroine at the heart of the 1960’s counterculture and anti-Vietnam war movement; whose rebellion and triumphant feats of defiance, made her push harder and dare more. Written in a vibrant, deeply observant style, Gumbo’s thrilling treasury of tales recalls the ecstasy, perils and possibilities of those now mythic days. Judy Gumbo is a legend; her book, Yippie Girl lets the sun shine in.” —Leslie Brody, author, Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy

“I first met Judy Gumbo at the Chicago Conspiracy Trial where I provided legal assistance to Bill Kunstler and Lenny Weinglass. I’m proud that Sorkin‘s movie portrays Fred Hampton as doing my job at the Trial, but Judy’s Yippie Girl tells it as it actually was. And it ain’t over yet. Read this book!” —Marie “Micki” Leaner, activist, Jane, Chicago-based underground abortion service; co-founder, Women’s Prison Project and The China Group

“In this riveting, intimate memoir, Judy Gumbo, takes her readers on a magical mystery tour with the Yippies, Black Panthers, Weather Underground, Women’s Liberation, and the FBI agents who relentlessly pursued them. Written with candor, humor, and page-turning suspense, Gumbo transports us to the barricades of the late 60s and early 70s social and political revolutions. From anti-war protests and the Chicago 8 trial, to a lesbian commune in Texas and a peace conference in Hanoi, Gumbo brilliantly brings the passion of the time alive and pulsing on the page. A must read for students of the ‘60s and anyone who wants a blue print for how to challenge the patriarchy.” —Clara Bingham, author, Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost its Mind and Found its Soul

“Judy Gumbo is a badass, and Yippie Girl is a badass book. Intersectional before the term existed, Judy, born Clavir and later dubbed Gumbo, has led a life shaped by her opposition to racism, sexism, imperialism, and war and by her commitment, as she puts it, to being where the action is. Yippie Girl chronicles that life, setting the author’s quest to define herself and the growth of her capacity to love in the context of her activism in the anti-war and feminist movements of the 60s and beyond. Bearing witness to the many ways that the personal is political, Yippie Girl is an important addition to the archive of twentieth-century protest movements and a crucial document in the history of American feminism.” —Louise Yelin, Professor Emerita, Literature and Gender Studies, Purchase College SUNY, feminist and anti-war activist

“A rollicking tale of the radical 60s, finally told by one of the women who made it all happen. Judy Gumbo’s insightful, sexy, often-funny memoir of the Yippies is a wild ride through Berkeley, Chicago, Hanoi, and other hot spots of an era that reshaped America.” –Lawrence Roberts, author of Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest

“The movement against the war in Vietnam was not known for laughs. Except for the Yippies, a band of activists who were determined to combine the counterculture of the hippies, the politics of the radical left and a sense of humor. As Yippie Judy Gumbo reminds us in her important new book, Yippie Girl, the Yippies were Marxists—a mix of Karl Marx and Groucho Marx. Exhibit A: they nominated a pig, Pigasus, for president of the United States as they gathered in Chicago in 1968 for the Democratic National Convention—an event that otherwise was decidedly not funny and was marked by police riots against Yippies and other antiwar protesters. Lacking a sense of humor, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover regarded Yippies as terrorists. In fact, an FBI file on Gumbo declared she was ‘the most vicious…and the most dangerous to the internal security of the United States.’ For nearly a decade, the FBI tapped her phones, attached tracking devices to her car, and broke into her homes, including a very isolated cabin in the Catskill Mountains where agents often secretly schlepped and illegally broke in. Like many women then, Judy faced a confounding situation: at the same time she strongly opposed the war in Vietnam and injustice at home she also fought the sexist behavior of the men she loved and worked with in the antiwar movement. Her clear-eyed history of those years is evidence not only that she did survive. It also is evidence of the important role she and other women played despite the efforts of the FBI to silence them and the efforts of movement men to either use or ignore them.”—Betty Medsger, author, The Burglary: The Discover of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI

“Judy Gumbo was, and is, a badass. Yippie Girl chronicles, with passion and charm, her years on the front lines of the 60s resistance movement. There’s so much to know and learn about in these pages. My advice to every young revolutionary, young feminist, future badass out there looking to heal this troubled world?STEAL THIS BOOK!” —Alexandra Styron, author, Steal This Country: A Handbook for Resistance, Persistence and Fixing Almost Everything and Reading My Father: A Memoir

“Vivid, sexy, heartbreaking, jubilant; Judy Gumbo’s Yippie Girl tells a story of living the 60s: changing your life, adopting new values and fighting the Man. She broke from her Canadian upbringing and Communist parents while embracing liberation. Judy and her Berkeley boyfriend and eventual husband Stew Albert followed the Black Panthers while trying to politicize the hippie movement. A founding member of the Youth International Party, she fought to overcome Yippie’s male-dominated culture.And her love affair with the Vietnamese Revolution—literally—is all here, told realistically and without apology.” —Jeff Jones, Consulting for Good Causes; and Eleanor Stein, JD, LLM in Climate Change Law

“In this memoir, Judy Gumbo, a principal figure in the Youth International Party from the late 60s through early and mid 70s, establishes her place among those she dubs winners of ‘the Academy Award of Protest.’ We see how she and her closest comrades negotiated all the contradictions, personal and political, that living as a revolutionary in the United States during those years entailed. Gumbo is revelatory about self, deeply respectful of others (and their privacy, as appropriate), and proudly radical to this day. The ‘happy ferocity’ that guided Yippie rebellion via theatrical satire stands out vividly. And from those recollections Gumbo leads us to a moving elegy for the dissenters of that period that we have now lost.” —Howard Brick, Louis Evans Professor of History, University of Michigan

“Behind every successful man is a woman—and behind every prominent Yippie guy was an unsung Yippie girl. One of the most fascinating is Judy Gumbo, a Canadian communist who found herself at the epicenter of various seminal events in counterculture history. Her chock-full-of-details memoir offers a rare, behind-the-headlines look at the characters, conflicts, and craziness that helped drive the antiwar movement.” —Roy Rivenburg, journalist and humor writer

“Judy Gumbo stood where the Black Power and Anti-Vietnam War movements intersected. She participated in the Chicago ’68 protests. You’ve read of her infamous comrades: Jerry Rubin & Abbie Hoffman. Now comes the first-ever female Yippie memoir – and it’s a scorcher! Her words hit hard – yet she’s reflective and insightful – which male autobiographies lack. Gumbo tramples through the war torn jungles of Vietnam and emerges to push women’s rights of the 70s and beyond. Read this, then start your own movement.” —Pat Thomas, author, Jerry Rubin: An American Revolutionary and Listen Whitey: Sounds of Black Power

“A tour de force of a memoir from an activist and idealist,who made her mark in the 60s, 70s and 80s and continues to live a life deeply committed to social justice and political action. A primer on how to stand up and be counted and have a good time doing it.” —Margaret Kunstler, civil rights attorney; co-author, Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in Twenty-first-century America

“Judy Gumbo’s memoir is a rollicking tour-de-force. Few books so vividly convey the idealism, excitement, and devil-may-care recklessness that inspired some people who were caught up in the maelstrom of radical politics and countercultural experimentation in the late 60s and early 70s. It’s an absolute delight to read, full of fascinating anecdotes, populated by a virtual Who’s Who of the Sixties countercultural left, and narrated with a verve that sometimes elicits the sensation of time-travel.Offering the much-needed perspective of a woman on events that have been largely told from the perspective of famous men, Yippie Girl will delight—and surprise—young readers as well as grizzled veterans of the ‘movement.’” —Charles L. Ponce Leon, Professor of History and American Studies, Long Beach State University

YIPPIE GIRL is a riveting tale of non-conjugal sex, pot, & anti-war protest; illegal government surveillance, wire-tapping, burglary, and harrassment; and outrageously honest feminist self-reflections coming from a Red Diaper Baby of Canadian Jewish heritage. No one else can tell this story but Judy Gumbo herself!” —Karín Aguilar-San Juan, co-editor with Frank Joyce, The People Make the Peace: Lessons from the Vietnam Antiwar Movement 


About the Author

Judy Gumbo is one of the few female members of the original Yippies, a satirical protest group founded in the 1960s and involved in organizing Chicago 1968 protests that led to arrests, and the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. As part of her activism, Judy was invovled in notorious feminist organizations, radical environmentalism, visited North Vietnam during the war, and traveled the globe agitating against the war and for the liberation of women. Her activism led to illegal surveillance by the FBI; she later successfully sued to obtain copies of their extensive records on her. Judy has a Ph.D. in Sociology and spent the majority of her professional career as an award-winning fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. She currently lives in a co-housing community in Berkeley, CA.