- Paperback: 510 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; New edition edition (28 Mar. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486225437
- ISBN-13: 978-0486225432
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3 x 21.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Living My Life, Vol 1 Paperback – 28 Mar 2003
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About the Author
Emma Goldman (1869 – 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire (now Kaunas in Lithuania), Goldman emigrated to the US in 1885 and lived in New York City, where she joined the burgeoning anarchist movement. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women's rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She and anarchist writer Alexander Berkman, her lover and lifelong friend, planned to assassinate Henry Clay Frick as an act of propaganda of the deed. Though Frick survived the attempt on his life, Berkman was sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. Goldman was imprisoned several times in the years that followed, for "inciting to riot" and illegally distributing information about birth control. In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. In 1917, Goldman and Berkman were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to "induce persons not to register" for the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were arrested—along with hundreds of others—and deported to Russia. Initially supportive of that country's Bolshevik revolution, Goldman quickly voiced her opposition to the Soviet use of violence and the repression of independent voices. In 1923, she wrote a book about her experiences, My Disillusionment in Russia. While living in England, Canada, and France, she wrote an autobiography called Living My Life. After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, she traveled to Spain to support the anarchist revolution there. She died in Toronto on May 14, 1940. During her life, Goldman was lionized as a free-thinking "rebel woman" by admirers, and derided by critics as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution. Her writing and lectures spanned a wide variety of issues, including prisons, atheism, freedom of speech, militarism, capitalism, marriage, free love, and homosexuality. Although she distanced herself from first-wave feminism and its efforts toward women's suffrage, she developed new ways of incorporating gender politics into anarchism. After decades of obscurity, Goldman's iconic status was revived in the 1970s, when feminist and anarchist scholars rekindled popular interest in her life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
A woman that was always true to herself in a period (late 19th and early 20th century) when everything was against her, being russian, a woman, a prominent anarchist, a communist, an activist for labour and human rights, a syndicalist and a believer in free-love, birthcontrol and freedom.
A fascinating book from an extremely competent propagandist.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The details are both inspiring and disturbing, as the actions of the American public and its government against immigrants, activists, or anyone else whom it deemed un-american are described with clarity by the victim who lived through it, and not by the patriot historian. One of the most heartwrenching descriptions in the entire book is the mass deportation to Russia on Christmas, 1919, of hundreds of first and second-generation Russian immigrants(Goldman included), many of whom could not even speak Russian.
Much of the second volume is devoted to Goldman's life in Russia after her deportation--a period of her life that is a book in itself. It includes rich details of post-revolutionary Russia-- conversations with Lenin, train rides to remote regions of the country, visits to towns deracinated by the Russian pogroms against the Jews, and her eventual unceremonious departure from the country.
As I already mentioned, the book is a long read. I'd recommend taking a break between volumes one and two. It's worth the time it takes to get through it. Emma Goldman's autobiography is an essential document for anyone who harbors a passion for social change, a curiousity about turn-of-the-century America or the Bolshevik Revolution, or just enjoys good non-fiction.
Nevertheless, this eyewitness account of American and Russian history, ought not to be trivially dismissed. Emma fought for things we have taken for granted in modern life, such as birth-control and the eight-hour work day; she went to jail in the struggle to obtain these for us. This book explains how she lived her commitment to individual liberty, choosing who she would love, advocating revolution, and harrassing those of her "allies" who compromised on these principles.
Perhaps the most interesting portion of the book is her years in Russia. Here she describes arriving at the "Promised Land" of the peoples' revolution and how that mutated into a sense of disillusionment and horror at what she saw as the betrayal of that revolution by the "dictatorship of the proletariat."
Her writing style is nothing exceptional, but the story she weaves from the material of her life is nothing short of fascinating. Another reviewer suggested taking a break between volumes--I couldn't! I had to know what happened next.
Although there are a lot of pages to wade through, I will give this book as a gift to the young women in my life. I believe that Emma can serve as a role model for living one's own life, not living out the expectations of friends, family, or society. In a dysfunctional world, we have too few people who model this.
Emma gets three stars for writing style, but the powerful and plentiful content bring the rating up to five stars. Not to be missed.
(If you'd like to discuss this book or review, click on the "about me" link above & drop me an email. Thanks!)
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