In 1889 two Russian immigrants, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, met in a coffee shop on the Lower East Side. Over the next fifty years Emma and Sasha would be fast friends, fleeting lovers, and loyal comrades. This dual biography offers an unprecedented glimpse into their intertwined lives, the lasting influence of the anarchist movement they shaped, and their unyielding commitment to equality and justice.
Berkman shocked the country in 1892 with "the first terrorist act in America," the failed assassination of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick for his crimes against workers. Passionate and pitiless, gloomy yet gentle, Berkman remained Goldman's closest confidant though the two were often separated-by his fourteen-year imprisonment and by Emma's growing fame as the champion of a multitude of causes, from sexual liberation to freedom of speech. The blazing sun to Sasha's morose moon, Emma became known as "the most dangerous woman in America." Through an attempted prison breakout, multiple bombing plots, and a dramatic deportation from America, these two unrelenting activists insisted on the improbable ideal of a socially just, self-governing utopia, a vision that has shaped movements across the past century, most recently Occupy Wall Street.
"Sasha and Emma" is the culminating work of acclaimed historian of anarchism Paul Avrich. Before his death, Avrich asked his daughter to complete his magnum opus. The resulting collaboration, epic in scope, intimate in detail, examines the possibilities and perils of political faith and protest, through a pair who both terrified and dazzled the world.
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 753 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 31 mm
An exceptional account of the anarchist movement in the U.S. between the 1890s and 1940s. Readers see the leading characters, organizations, and events of the anarchist
community of the era, as well as the world at large, through the eyes of Sasha and Emma. Much of their history is already well known and has been the subject of many books, but Avrich sheds new light on certain aspects, such as what it was like to be a hated radical in a U.S. prison a century ago, and the experiences of the two in Bolshevik Russia after their deportation. Even such details as Emma's housekeeper's drinking problem are not neglected. Students of anarchism have plenty of other resources to understand its philosophy; this volume will educate them on what it was really like to live the anarchist life in the first half of the tumultuous 20th century.--T. S. Martin"Choice" (05/01/2013)
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