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Love, Anarchy, Emma Goldman: A Biography

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Candace Falk's biography captures Goldman's colorful life as a social and labor reformer, revolutionary, anarchist, feminist, agitator for free love and free speech, and advocate of birth control. And it gives the reader a rare glimpse into Goldman as a woman, alone, searching for the intimacy of a love relationship to match her radiant social vision. Falk explores the cla Candace Falk's biography captures Goldman's colorful life as a social and labor reformer, revolutionary, anarchist, feminist, agitator for free love and free speech, and advocate of birth control. And it gives the reader a rare glimpse into Goldman as a woman, alone, searching for the intimacy of a love relationship to match her radiant social vision. Falk explores the clash between Goldman's public vision and private life, focusing on her intimate relationship with Ben Reitman, Chicago's celebrated social reformer, hobo king, and red-light district gynecologist. During this passionate and stormy relationship, Goldman lectured in public about free love and women's independence, while in private she struggled with intense jealousy and longed for the comfort of a secure relationship. Falk's account draws upon a serendipitous discovery of a cache of intimate letters between Goldman and Reitman. Falk then goes beyond Goldman's ten-year relationship with Reitman, following Goldman's inner passions through her years of exile and later life. Written with a literary sensitivity, Falk tells a riveting story, consistently placing Goldman in the context of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century radicalism.


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Candace Falk's biography captures Goldman's colorful life as a social and labor reformer, revolutionary, anarchist, feminist, agitator for free love and free speech, and advocate of birth control. And it gives the reader a rare glimpse into Goldman as a woman, alone, searching for the intimacy of a love relationship to match her radiant social vision. Falk explores the cla Candace Falk's biography captures Goldman's colorful life as a social and labor reformer, revolutionary, anarchist, feminist, agitator for free love and free speech, and advocate of birth control. And it gives the reader a rare glimpse into Goldman as a woman, alone, searching for the intimacy of a love relationship to match her radiant social vision. Falk explores the clash between Goldman's public vision and private life, focusing on her intimate relationship with Ben Reitman, Chicago's celebrated social reformer, hobo king, and red-light district gynecologist. During this passionate and stormy relationship, Goldman lectured in public about free love and women's independence, while in private she struggled with intense jealousy and longed for the comfort of a secure relationship. Falk's account draws upon a serendipitous discovery of a cache of intimate letters between Goldman and Reitman. Falk then goes beyond Goldman's ten-year relationship with Reitman, following Goldman's inner passions through her years of exile and later life. Written with a literary sensitivity, Falk tells a riveting story, consistently placing Goldman in the context of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century radicalism.

30 review for Love, Anarchy, Emma Goldman: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    It just goes to show ... even an enlightened feminist might fall for the emotional claptrap of a 'handsome brute' with a big black cowboy hat ... It just goes to show ... even an enlightened feminist might fall for the emotional claptrap of a 'handsome brute' with a big black cowboy hat ...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    This book served as my first introduction to Emma Goldman and I will forever hold it in high regard because of that fact. Additionally, Falk does an excellent job of exploring a part of Goldman's life that the subject herself is somewhat eager to avoid in her own autobiography: the intersection of gender, intimacy, and anarchist philosophy. Goldman, a proponent of free love, is refreshingly human in her struggle to have fulfilling relationships as well as a revolutionary life. I highly recommend This book served as my first introduction to Emma Goldman and I will forever hold it in high regard because of that fact. Additionally, Falk does an excellent job of exploring a part of Goldman's life that the subject herself is somewhat eager to avoid in her own autobiography: the intersection of gender, intimacy, and anarchist philosophy. Goldman, a proponent of free love, is refreshingly human in her struggle to have fulfilling relationships as well as a revolutionary life. I highly recommend this to anyone who has ever considered their choices to be in conflict with their philosophies.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hélène

    Please everyone, you need to read this book. Extremely informative and motivating. Decades before most of us were even born, so many human beings dedicated their whole lives for our freedom. They sacrificed their individual comforts, they risked being arrested and imprisoned, and they were jailed. But they never stopped defending basic human rights. As compared to Emma Goldman I feel like I am a coward. I encourage all of you to read this great book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lilian

    Excellent!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Annaj

    I can't imagine the research that went into writing this book! Its a great historical read! I can't imagine the research that went into writing this book! Its a great historical read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Hilgers

    The rise of anarchy in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century, something that helped workers achieve the eight-hour work day, is embodied in the legendary Bohemian life of Emma Goldman, a firebrand who drew thousands to her speeches, who pioneered the birth control movement (more so than Margaret Sanger in fact) and who remains a touchstone of the women's liberation movement. Falk's biography of this amazing woman is more enlightening in regard to her longstanding love affair with the The rise of anarchy in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century, something that helped workers achieve the eight-hour work day, is embodied in the legendary Bohemian life of Emma Goldman, a firebrand who drew thousands to her speeches, who pioneered the birth control movement (more so than Margaret Sanger in fact) and who remains a touchstone of the women's liberation movement. Falk's biography of this amazing woman is more enlightening in regard to her longstanding love affair with the hobo doctor, Ben Reitman, than it is to the times and furies of the early 20th Century. Goldman, who was labeled "Red Emma" by the press of the time, eventually was deported from the U.S. and went to help the Bolshevik revolution, only to be severely disenchanted when she learned Lenin had imprisoned the anarchists who were the Bolshevik avant-garde. Moving from St. Petersburg to London to San Tropez in the South of France, Emma, separated from her beloved United States, never fully regained her footing or her fame. She is often remembered for her support of the anarchist uprising in Catalonia, and for seeing her hopes dashed by those she labeled "Stalinists". This book is really something for those curious about American experimentation with free love and anarchy. It would have been a better book had the author focused more deeply on the anarchism and how it affected America between the Progressive Era and the New Deal.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mr_wormwood

    This biography is based on the authors uncovering of a stash of private love letters between Emma and the 'Hobo King' Ben Reitman. The love affair between the two is therefore the central focus, as well as the love affairs she had a number of men throughout her life. The lasting impression is that Emma was often tormented throughout her life by her passions, but even if her ideals didn't always live up to her practice her failings only personalize her and make her ultimately more appealing as th This biography is based on the authors uncovering of a stash of private love letters between Emma and the 'Hobo King' Ben Reitman. The love affair between the two is therefore the central focus, as well as the love affairs she had a number of men throughout her life. The lasting impression is that Emma was often tormented throughout her life by her passions, but even if her ideals didn't always live up to her practice her failings only personalize her and make her ultimately more appealing as the greatest Anarchist activist of the 20th C.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jez

    Kimkah gave it to me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Burton-Rose

    A sensitive treatment of the difficulties one of history's most vocal free love advocates had with non-monogamy in her own life. A sensitive treatment of the difficulties one of history's most vocal free love advocates had with non-monogamy in her own life.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Conpanna

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brenda March

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rocio Moragues

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

  15. 4 out of 5

    Josh Ronsen

  16. 4 out of 5

    Candace

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sally

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wilson Parker

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lenni Benson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lil

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ron Antonucci

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert T. Ramsey, Jr.

  26. 5 out of 5

    "Greg Adkins"

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tanuja

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susannah

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

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