Molly Chronicles: Serotonin Serenade

Molly Chronicles: Serotonin Serenade, by Jim Simons
Plain View Press, ISBN: 978-1-891386-75-6

As we all wonder how to work out of the quagmire of Iraq, we can benefit from recalling American radical tradition, specifically the movement law commune born in the late sixties in Austin, which is the subject of Molly Chronicles: Serotonin Serenade, by Jim Simons. Published by Plain View Press, the book and author will be featured at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which runs from December 9 — 24, 11 AM to 11 PM at the Austin Music Hall, with a book signing on the Armadillo Stage December 15, from 2 PM to 4 PM.

At the end of 1967, Jim Simons, a Texas lawyer, sat musing on his future knowing he would soon leave a high paying Government job in the War on Poverty, with which he had become disillusioned. The poverty program was not carrying through on its aims to truly help the poor by changing institutions that perpetuate poverty. Also, he longed to be more relevant to the emerging struggles for social justice. Maybe the biggest motivator was the war in Viet Nam, a war he like millions of other Americans found immoral, brutal and illegal. He wanted to work to stop it. In this he was reflecting the convictions of a new tide of radical activism in the country, called then the Movement.

What he did was risky and rash: he set up private law practice in Austin, Texas where the Movement was flourishing at and around the University of Texas. Draft resistance, direct action for civil rights and a radical underground newspaper, the Rag, had bubbled up from a simple picketing action in the early ‘60s to integrate campus movie houses. The times they were changing. Simons was quickly inundated with law work, cases arising from these initiatives and a counterculture revolution.

This book is the story of historical, radical cases representing SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and scores of GI’s rebelling at Fort Hood. Simons and one of his partners defended one of the activists arrested and charged with federal felonies during the American Indian Movement’s massive confrontation with the FBI at Wounded Knee. In 1969 he founded a law commune with other Movement lawyers in Austin. All the while, the extremes of fast paced life measured his days. Drugs, sex and bouts of depression accompanied the largely pro bono courtroom cases and energized a wild ride. But the love and support of the Movement community carried him and his partners through the early years and into subsequent decades of struggle for peace and justice.

Molly was a poodle-mix dog who lived gently with Jim and his wife Nancy for over 18 years through many of the events and cases recounted in the book.

Former Texas Observer editor Greg Olds has hailed this book as “a wonderful read, a great outing for the imagination and an invigorating trip back into yesteryear. (It’s) a clear-eyed, tough-minded account, full of life and determination to prevail. This will interest and inspire.”

To arrange an interview call or email Jim Simons at 512-477-1700,

Plain View Press
1509 Dexter Street
Austin, TX 78704
phone: 512-441-2452
fax: 512-440-7139

This entry was posted in RagBlog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *