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Angela Davis: An Autobiography
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Angela Davis: An Autobiography

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  4,038 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Her own powerful story to 1972, told with warmth, brilliance, humor & conviction. The author, a political activist, reflects upon the people & incidents that have influenced her life & commitment to global liberation of the oppressed.
Hardcover, 1st, 410 pages
Published January 1st 1974 by Random House Inc (T)
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“Some of us, white and black, know how great a price has already been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation. If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name. If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own—which it is—and render impassible with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.” - Letter from James Baldwin t ...more
Dec 10, 2011 Rosemary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in social justice
A few years back, I was 17. I went with a boyfriend to visit his sister in Boulder to go skiing... lo and behold, we got there and I was sick. I was stuck in her house all weekend. Rummaging through her bookshelves, I found this. I read it in one day. I had never heard of Angela, nor much on the Black Panthers aside from what they touch upon in history classes. I was captivated by her life story, by her perseverance, by her fight against the unjust. The book is well-written and reads like fictio ...more
Jun 07, 2011 Ricky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommend. It's amazing how many things in my life have come up to remind me of this book. That shit is still happening. People of color are getting murdered by police, prisoners are still tortured in jail, and the prison population is WAY more low-income African Americans than other demographics.

Four stars because it does present a simplified perspective. Important as that perspective is, it's not the only one. She goes through great pains to repeat the mantra that she couldn't get too u
Michael Finocchiaro
Angela Davis was a committed revolutionary without apology. She is forever associated with the Black Panthers and the effort to vindicate the Soledad Brothers. Having provided logistical support for an armed invasion of the court where the trial was taking place, she spent several years hiding from the FBI and then a few more in provisional solitary confinement during her trial. She was eventually acquitted by an all-white jury and went on to be a major figure in the American Communist party inc ...more
This is 75% of a great book. When she's at her most searing-- as in Malcolm X's autobiography-- she's simply telling her story of racial discrimination, imprisonment, and McCarthyism.

But, unlike in the more self-critical narratives of Eldridge Cleaver, bell hooks, Carlos Bulosan, Malcolm X, and many other revolutionaries of color, I don't get the feeling that I'm hearing anything resembling the full story. Her analysis of hegemony is without nuance, and her taking of her experiences in Cuba at f
Hasan Makhzoum
Oct 13, 2016 Hasan Makhzoum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My admiration for this woman is infinite..

There is in Davis' autobiography an abundance of brilliant, poignant, provocative and witty expressions, analogies and metaphors in every page. Here is one funny sociological observation of so many others:

"Some years back, Black visitors to Birmingham had all of three post cards from which to choose if they wanted a souvenir of the Black section of the city. Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Parker High School. A.
Tanya Matthews
Aug 07, 2012 Tanya Matthews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't begin to express how much this book moved me. I wasn't even born when she began her political activism and only about 3 when she went on trial. All I really knew about Ms Davis was her Afro and that she fought for political and economic fairness for black people. This book has enlightened me to a very inspiring woman. I am somewhat ashamed that it took me until the age of 44 to read this book but I am so glad I finally did. I never knew she had done and accomplished so much. Never knew s ...more
Sarah Jaffe
Good enough that I--though I know the results very, very well--was still tense during courtroom scenes and on the edge of my seat when the verdict was rendered. Most people know Angela Davis's story, but not nearly enough people read what she has written over the years.
Ré Cockrell
Feb 17, 2015 Ré Cockrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's impossible to exaggerate the impact of this book on me.

I picked it up simply because I wanted to learn more about Angela Davis. I knew only that she had been associated with the Black Panthers, and that she'd fought for the freedom of political prisoners. Reading it, I learned that there was a lot more to her experience -- all of it extremely relevant today.

I found great personal meaning in her struggle with social class barriers, violence, and racism. Her insights about her political inv
Gabriel Azevedo
This book fundamentally changed me as a communist, as a Brazilian mixed race black person, and as a human being. Angela Davis' unrelenting devoting to revolutionary change is not just inspiring but can also be used as an example to young revolutionaries who seek to change the world. Her attitude is both introspective (her self-criticism should be a lesson to all communists) and outwardly critical of the events and people around her.

Aside from the content, Davis' prose is clear and beautiful. Her
Apr 09, 2007 Marissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really inspiring account of Angela Davis' philosophical and political evolution into a revolutionary, militant Black Panther. Davis is one of the few activists that has successfully managed to balance her commitment to the overlapping causes of anti-racism, feminism, and communism and hearing the full story of how she blossomed into an American hero can be very thrilling. I remember have a strong urge to give my life to the cause immediately after reading it. One of my favorite parts of the bo ...more
Feb 15, 2014 kripsoo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this autobiography I had to stop a moment and think about the ages Davis was when all these events were taking place and This autobiography was sobering to say the least Currently at ages 23-26 most women have extremely superficial or vanity laden thoughts At the same age Angela Davis was making history and She was one of the leaders and very few women of a national movement to liberate Black and Brown people alike I would love to meet Ms. Angela Davis (as I'm sure you wou ...more
Tina Lee
Sometimes dry but always convincing, Davis speaks straight from the trenches of class-struggle to tell her tale of an upbringing in "Bombingham" Alabama, her successful academic career, time in Europe, and transformation into a revolutionary and icon. Like all good revolutionaries, she skips over juicy details about love affairs or gossip, but she gives an inside look to the politics of the black panthers and moreover how difficult it was to pick a side when you were fighting for equality in the ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
What an amazing read. Davis touches on all of the "shelves" I've mentioned. It is an incredible look at her development as a young person into a militant philosopher and Black liberationist. Sickening, insightful, raging, transformative--her autobio captures so much. I highly recommend reading this.
Dina Rahajaharison
"Je dus faire très tôt la connaissance d’un syndrome très répandu parmi les militants noirs. En peu de mots, ils confondaient leurs activités politiques avec l’affirmation de leur virilité. Ils pensaient - et certains continuent à le penser - que le fait d’être un homme noir leur donnait des droits sur les femmes noires."
Jul 29, 2009 Jena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite our radical differences in race, age,and sexual preference, Davis' account of her ongoing struggle to juggle theoretical convictions and academic passions with activist ones gave me great insight into my own. A must-read for anyone who loves to read and study but also conceives of activism as something that doesn't begin and end with an online petition.
Jun 20, 2012 Dee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book contained so more than I had hoped. It gave me a real iniimate look at her stance in the struggle. I have so much respect for her and the strength that she has.
Jun 05, 2013 Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful beyond words. This autobiography is a call to action.
Jul 01, 2014 Kellyann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the "political autobiography" of a 26-year-old woman (which is the age Angela was at the time of her arrest and trial), this is a very readable 400 pages. Angela's analysis of the simplest things (especially aspects of the American legal and prison systems) is incisive and enlightening . . . which is why it is disappointing that she fails to critique Communism as it was actually practiced. In a passage about her trip behind the Berlin Wall, she claims East Germany's Communism taught the peop ...more
Dec 18, 2016 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book blew me away and opened my eyes- peeling away more layers of my ignorance and exposing my privilege. It's not just a book. It left me with a renewed conviction to join the fight for absolute freedom of people who are oppressed, with no better example to go by. It is terribly sad to read of the accounts of police killing black people in 1970, especially in that it sounds hauntingly familiar about what is happening now in 2016. She tells of her countless experiences throughout her entire ...more
Wu Ming
WM1: La citazione è d'obbligo: «Guardo le mie povere cose: / una foto di Angela Davis / muore lentamente sul muro / e a me di lei / non me n'è fregato niente mai».
Francesco De Gregori, Informazioni di Vincent, 1974. Stesso anno in cui, negli USA, la Bantam Books pubblica Angela Davis: An Autobiography.
Se si parla di accoglienza, De Gregori non stende certo il tappeto rosso all'edizione italiana (Garzanti, 1975). In realtà il cantautore non ce l'ha con Davis, ma ricorre alla sua icona - sovra
Aug 12, 2012 Lola_LadyO rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important historical record of life and times 1940-1974 Black American History.

If you read about the Civil Rights movement, the Black Liberation movement, The Black Panther Party, Malcolm X's autobiography; then Angela Davis - An Autobiography rates high in the Bibliography list of must-read books of the era.

It was an intense but very gratifying book to read. I recommend this very inspiring and courageous account of this period in her life where the gauntlet was thrown down; and how she won
Mar 05, 2010 Kayf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remembered as a child seeing news footage of Angela Yvonne Davis, and wondered what was it she did that was so wrong. As an adult, after I read her story--wonderfully written/edited by Toni Morrison--I chose to write a research paper about Ms. Davis for my college composition class. This book gave me a glimpse of who she was. Moreover, not only was I amazed to find out that I shared most of the same ideals as she, but found it interesting that "some" found her to be a threat. Today, I continue ...more
Feb 03, 2014 Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I highly recommend reading this book. The backdrop of this book is the idea of revolution, the holding fast to your convictions and the struggle to live and thrive within systems designed to work against your survival...all relevant themes for meditation and reflection today. I appreciate the way she does not "perform" herself as the mythical "strong black woman" character, instead she delivers an honest, authentic snapshot of how her convictions drive her to show up and work for progress, howev ...more
Oct 06, 2007 Bart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Angela Davis writes a very honest and interesting autobiography of the now first half of her life. The book is beyond autobiography of an individual and provides accounts of social movements of Davis' time. Davis provides powerful critiques on the racist, classist, sexist capitalist state and prison system. I enjoyed most the descriptions of internal dynamics in the movements of which Davis was a part and of other less prominent people - cell block mates, those doing necessary "grunt" work, etc. ...more
Mar 24, 2009 Libby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in American history
Starts off with Davis eluding the law when on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List and moves along swiftly. The middle section goes back to her childhood and is more of a memoir. I found this interesting except when she got into a lot of detail about in-fighting amongst two Black Panther organizations and other progressive groups. As a Southerner, I was surprised to see how much police brutality was perpetrated against Blacks in California. The books ends up with her trial and I liked reading about the ...more
Fantastic - having grown up in LA during the Civil Rights movement, I really appreciated this insider's view of what was going on in Watts (and America in general) during this turbulent time. In those days, the things you heard on the news on mainstream television reflected a strong bias against any kind of revolutionary activity.

Angela is one of my all-time heroes - and I don't really have heroes...
Feb 02, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody
This is a well written book. I admired her determination to gain knowledge,and her dedication to the various organization for which she was apart of. Angela Davis wasn't just for blacks liberation, but she was for hispanic,asian,white,and political prisoner liberation as while. Contrary to popular belief, Angela davis will go down as one of the most influential figure, not just in America history,but also the entire world history.
Nov 10, 2008 Erok rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another book on my kick of reading about past struggles to learn something about dedication, burnout, and organizing.

i think calling this an autobiography is a misnomer, but she touches on that in the preface. regardless, it's an inspiring account and manifesto of sorts that i'm sure helped lay out a clear, logical, and radical anti-racist, anti-oppressive anti-sexist (and all the other anti-s that you think of) platform in it's day. i know it did for me.
Feb 18, 2012 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked this book. Davis describes her experiences so clearly you feel like you're actually experiencing them. It was just really interesting to see another side of history and this autobiography was really good at that especially because it was so compelling and fascinating.

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Angela Yvonne Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. She emerged as a nationally prominent activist and radical in the 1960s, as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement despite never being an official member of the party. Prisoner rights have been among her continuing inter ...more
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