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HELEN KELLER (Rebel Lives) Paperback – 2 Oct 2005
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"Her liberal views and wide sympathies ought to shame those who have physical eyes, yet do not open them to the sorrows that encompass the mass of men."
A biography of an American radical and her long life campaigning as a crusading socialist. "Helen Keller is blind, deaf and dumb, yet in her blindness she sees oppression, in her deafness she hears the cry of outraged humanity, and in her speechlessness she voice the demand for justice." CLEVELAND PRESS [30th January 1911] Features political writings and speeches for women's suffrage, in defence of the IWW and against the First World War. The REBEL LIVES series seeks to capture the spirit of revolutionaries in struggle, providing a glimpse at how and why they became fighters for radical social change.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In "Helen Keller: Rebel Lives", editor John Davis brings together a collection of letters, articles, and essays (all written by Keller except for one interview) outlining her radical social visions. Davis opens the volume with a 14-page biographical sketch, chronology, and introductions to the documents written with Karen Fletcher. The remaining 75 pages are organized into four sections, each including 5-7 brief documents, that explore Keller's views on disability and class (and the links between them); socialism and industrial unionism; women and women's suffrage; and war, militarism, and pacifism. Also included is a very short bibliography of electronic and printed resources for more information.
The documents I found most interesting were those relating to Keller's involvement with the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a radical anticapitalist union. Even though I was already familiar with Keller's revolutionary socialism, Keller's lively and witty articles on socialism and the IWW were a pleasure to read even with the burden of hindsight. I can only imagine that readers who know little about Keller the radical leftist will find these writings much more of a revelation, and more interesting as a result.
This volume is in no sense a complete biography of Keller. It includes only introductions to her activism and revolutionary politics, and could have benefited greatly from providing background and analysis that was both more comprehensive and more in-depth. However, this slim volume is plenty to burst the bubble of sanitized history that surrounds popular views of Keller, and help readers get past her whitewashed image and learn a bit about the least-remembered aspects of the real person. It may also be of special value to teachers looking for primary sources on Keller or any of her fields of activism.
Keller's concern for others shines through this text, transcending the specific political alignments she felt were necessary to achieve her goals, so that any reader of any political persuasion will find herein much value.