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Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel
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Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  101 ratings  ·  18 reviews
At eight years old, Bettina Aptheker watched her family's politics play out in countless living rooms across the country when her father, historian and U.S. Communist Party leader Herbert Aptheker, testified on television in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Born into one of the most influential U.S. Communist families whose friends included W ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by Seal Press (first published September 5th 2006)
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Nancy
This is definitely an interesting book, but I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

I enjoyed the inside-the-movement looks at 60s history. Aptheker's descriptions of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley and the trial of Angela Davis are compelling. However, some of the personal is political sections seemed a bit far-fetched. Ms. Aptheker interprets what seem like normal childhood experiences through a political lens. Similar events in my life portended nothing in particular. I loved some of my g
...more
Jimmy Tarlau
Very engrossing memoirs of a young Communist activist whose father was one of the leading theoretician/historians of the US Communist Party. Underneath her activism in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, defending Angela Davis and her leftist activism was a tremendous amount of internal turmoil highlighted by her father's sexual abuse of her as a young child. It was quite moving for me to know of her from a distance and having no idea (along with everyone else) about the turmoil she was going thr ...more
Miranda
I thoroughly enjoyed this for its honesty, insight, and sheer fascination as to the academics and operations of the Communist Party. A really touching and ultimately uplifting read.
Ilene Richards
Bettina Aptheker carries a revolutionary fire within her. She is a popular professor at UC Santa Cruz and founder of the Department of Women's Studies. The daughter of noted historian and Marxist scholar, Herbert Aptheker, Bettina tells the story of her life within and without the Communist Party...Although much of the book is about the radical politics of the 1960s which she, as a student at UC Berkeley and an open member of the Communist Party--helped to shape she never hesitates to speak hone ...more
Bart
Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel is the autobiography of Bettina Aptheker living those subtitles and more. Unfortunately, some of the "more" or last part of the book is about how Aptheker becomes a hippie and appropriates Buddhism. The rest (or most) of the book is engaging and full of clear and strong analysis of the racist, classist, capitalist hetero-patriarchy state. I found Aptheker's work on Angela Davis' case particulary interesting ...more
Pilouetta
Nov 09, 2008 Pilouetta marked it as to-read
Shelves: half-way
i just picked this up after a few months hiatus. i like aptheker's socialist take on contemporary history like the cuban missle crisis, black panthers, SDS; in addition to her feminist spin on the communist party with great anecdotes about shirley graham du bois and angela davis. aptheker also takes on don herbert, her father and party father, as having molested her as a child, in addition to the misogyny and sexual harassment she encounted as a member of the CP in berkeley during the sixties. a ...more
Jamie
Highly recommend this book for any activist. The struggles between the personal and the political and how to combine those two to become a better activist are developed excellently within this memoir.

I think a significant chunk of the end could've been chopped off as the book lost steam around the middle. Nevertheless, I welcome a writer sharing her personal struggle in this manner.
Chani
I loved this book! It is one of those I read from beginning to end with barely a break. Having been involved in the radical movement in the 70s and early 80s, running in the same circles, I had an opportunity to know Bettina. She is a warm, lovely woman who has gained wisdom over the years. We can all learn from her.

Yay, Bettina!


Carolyn
This book is an amazing memoir! Bettina describes her role in various social movements with a critical eye. Her passion and intellect come across excellently in her writing, reading her book has helped me admire her as my professor in an entirely new way.
Carolyn
Bettina was a professor of mine at UC Santa Cruz and a real-life mentor. Her book is truly inspiring. She reminds me that being yourself at all costs is what makes life rich, and that compassion and love are what really change the world.
Jamilah
Revisiting the political climate of the sixties and seventies, as well as my college days of the 80s. This book is written by a former professor of mine, and I enjoyed it a lot - she's a fantastic writer, very honest and brilliant.
Heather
If you like autobiographies - especially emotional ones about radical women, then you'll like this one! I did, and I also learned a lot about other folks involved in the civil rights and free speech movements of the 1960s.
Margaret Laffan
Maybe the best book I've read in the last year. TOTALLY inspiring..and not just because she's my professor!
Mell
Liked the activist parts more than the family and relationship parts.
Happyreader
I'm just assuming Bettina wrote a fascinating book. ;^)
Sasha
A fantastic autobiography of a great woman
Carrie Pirmann
memoir,women's studies
Sara
I love this woman.
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