"The book's explanatory frame is psychologism. Randy Hearst has emotional restraint like 'many sons of volatile fathers.' The SLA's Mizmoon Soltysik and DeFreeze 'shared something more than their radical politics—a deep loathing for their fathers.' Toobin makes much of Patricia's relationship with her mother; 'Mom should get out of her black dress, that doesn't help at all,' she admonished her about a press conference outfit. The SLA's rebellion took on the flavor of the times, but American Heiress sees them, charitably, as individuals struggling with their own circumstances caught up in larger cultural themes. Is that good enough?"
Malcolm Harris at The New Republic reviews Jeffrey Toobin's American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst.