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Life of an Anarchist: The Alexander Berkman Reader
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About the book
Alexander Berkman was a twentieth-century American revolutionary. Like the abolitionist John Brown before him, Berkman was hugely idealistic, ready to go to the furthest extreme of self-sacrifice and violence on behalf of justice and civil rights. He decided to assassinate industrialist Henry Clay Frick after reading in the newspaper that Pinkertons hired by Frick had opened fire on the Homestead strikers, killing men, women, and children. Berkman’s bungled attempt cost him fifteen years in a federal penitentiary. Upon his release, he became an effective agitator against conscription and was again imprisoned and eventually deported to Russia, where he saw at first hand the early days of Bolshevism. Berkman’s writings remain a lasting and impassioned record of intense political transformation. Featuring a new introduction by Howard Zinn, Life of an Anarchist contains Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, Berkman’s account of his years in prison; The Bolshevik Myth, his eyewitness account of the early days of the Russian Revolution; and The ABC of Anarchism, the classic text on the nature of anarchism in the twentieth century. Also included are a selection of letters between Berkman and his lifelong companion Emma Goldman, and a generous sampling from Berkman’s other publications.read more
Reviews for Life of an Anarchist: The Alexander Berkman Reader
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A failed assassin, anarchist, lover of Emma Goldman and clear-eyed critic of the Russian revolution, Alexander Berkman (1870-1936) immersed himself in the political passions of his time, and this rich collection of his writings revives his witness. During the Homestead Strike of 1892, Berkman attempted to assassinate industrialist Henry Frick; excerpts from his somewhat melodramatic prison memoirs show Berkman's lofty idealism matured during his 14-year term. Selections from his magazine, The Blast, argue urgently against war and for birth control, worker unity and free speech. Most valuable are Berkman's accounts of Russia, where he was deported in 1919, and which he left two years later. His initial optimism was quickly tempered by glimpses of an autocratic regime, especially the repression of workers at Kronstadt. Also included are Berkman's naively faithful primer The ABC of Anarchism, and several letters to and from Goldman. In one exchange, they debate the value of violence; in another, Goldman calls Berkman ``the greatest force in my life.'' Fellner, an activist and artist who edits the GLF Occasional , has selected and annotated the entries well. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved