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Living My Life (Penguin Classics) Paperback – Abridged, 28 Sep 2006
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About the Author
Emma Goldman (1869-1940) came to America from Russia when she was sixteen. As a political activist, publisher, lecturer, and writer, she was a central figure in the radical social movements of her age.
Miriam Brody has written biographies of Mary Wollstonecraft and Victoria Woodhull.
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Top customer reviews
John Lennon's most famous song, Imagine, is the anarchist anthem.
Goldman's account of her life in agitation for her ideal is interesting for the tales of intolerance and brutality practised by the state - in this case, for most of the book, the state in question is the United States of America - and the suffocating bureaucracy inflicted on the starving of Lenin's post-revolution Russia, where getting a loaf of bread was almost an impossibility.
It matters not which state one is imprisoned by, the tactics to suppress opposition are hideous the world over. (The US passed laws making it illegal to oppose the war in Europe. By "oppose" the US meant not only resisting being recruited by the state into uniform, but speaking sentences of English that carried an anti-war message. It was illegal to say one opposed the war.)
Not just the political hierarchies which suppress opposition with ruthless bloodlust; the controllers of capital were just as murderous.
Berkman attempted the assassination of Henry Clay Frick, a steel magnate, for his ordering the killing of striking steel workers by the Pinkerton detective agency who had been hired to break the strike. Goldman attempted to prostitute herself to help raise funds to buy the gun.
Berkman failed and spent fourteen years in prison for his trouble. The surviving steel workers were re-hired with much reduced pay.
Goldman was imprisoned herself; once - though it may be hard to appreciate now - for having the temerity to distribute leaflets on the subject of birth-control. (State and religious hierarchies are intertwined tightly, both having the power to control thought and speech.)
They couldn't contain Emma Goldman, however, and after a by-the-numbers show-trial she was exiled to Russia.
After two years travelling the motherland, she and Berkman escaped the murder and starvation inflicted by the Bolsheviks and fled to Germany.
Hers is a story of human spirit; of fighting to the end, even to the death if necessary, in order to enlighten and educate the hypnotised masses.
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.
Emma Goldman's voice was like no other. Even if you are not an anarchist, her impassioned beliefs and ability to argue them cannot fail to move.
Her journey from Russia to America back to Russia and then her last years in exile make for compelling reading. My highest recommendation to truth-seekers everywhere!
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