A very informative and entertaining insight into one of the foremost proponents of Western anarchist thought at the turn of the 20th Century. Despite its somewhat supercilious and disingenuous introduction, Goldman's essays themselves shine through. If any of their number seem outdated or antiquated with the passage of 100 years, there's still plenty here to excite, entice and inspire those with an interest in anarchist thought. An excellent introduction to this political philosophy, and to the field of anarcho-feminism. Personally, I bought it out of interest in Goldman's thought, and its reconciliation with some of the less palatable "propaganda of the deed" in which she was involved, but found myself profoundly moved by the sometimes naive but powerful, angry and profoundly moral material I found therein. A joy to read, and a spur to wider research.
My only gripe is the cover. As with many slimmer volumes it is a rather flimsy thing, and bends easily, but the worst issue is the low-resolution anarchist symbol on the front cover, which was blatantly pixilated as a result of being overly stretched to fit the cover. But heck, nobody said the Revolution would be pretty, did they?
The inside cover also has no details concerning the collection's publication history or current publishers, which is a problem for those wishing to use the book as a source of academic citations.
Emma Goldman was that most rare individual, someone with great intelligence, sensitivity and personal power who did not lust after power over others. By circumstance and our good fortune, a woman who could have spent a quiet middle class life turned into an idealistic firebrand, whose ideas and clarity of expression are still light years beyond many of the crackpots who have taken up her banner. This book deserves a serious look by anyone who wonders why politics never seem to get anywhere. It also refreshingly shows why government is wrong without also pandering to cigar chomping Babbits and their toadies.
Emma Goldman comes forward in this book of essays as a true radical. She is not a rather dull theorist like Kropotkin. There is nothing dull about her flaming pages. No wonder the Wilson administration was frightened of her. But many of her ideas have found acceptance over time, and those that haven't await our attention. If you want to understand the national atmosphere following the assassination of McKinley, read this book. Read it in connection with that excellent Joseph Conrad novel, The Secret Agent. I gave it a four because I wanted more theory, but I'm happy I bought it nonetheless.
In the 21st century this book is as relevant now as it ever was. For all the 98% of world citizens that know this is where we need to stand up and take back what is rightfully ours. Inspiring and brilliant. Read it and you'll know the time is now