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Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  312 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Andrea Dworkin reveals the personal side of her lifelong journey as activist and writer. A bittersweet memoir of falling in love with books, ideas, and the fight for social justice - from the 60s to the present.
Paperback, 180 pages
Published March 10th 2007 by Continuum (first published 2002)
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Sexual Politics by Kate MillettGyn/Ecology by Mary DalyAnticlimax by Sheila JeffreysIntercourse by Andrea DworkinPornland by Gail Dines
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7th out of 99 books — 8 voters
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Best Feminist Books
221st out of 938 books — 1,055 voters


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pronoti
Dworkin has been criticized, ridiculed and much maligned..by men and by women alike. She did not deserve all the spite she got. One only needs to observe all the kind of opposition her voice met, in order to see the kind of patriarchal authoritarianism she talked against.
I do not agree with everything she believed, I do not support all of her methods, I might not have walked with her for some of her causes…..but I am incredibly grateful to her for coming out and shouting at the top of her lungs,
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Carrie
"The worst immorality is to be stupid, because it's easy.
The worst immorality is to repudiate one's own uniqueness to fit in.
The worst immorality is to set one's goals so low that one must crawl to meet them.
The worst immorality is to hurt children.
The worst immorality is to use one's strength to dominate or control.
The worst immorality is to surrender the essence of oneself for love or money.
The worst immorality is to believe in nothing, do nothing, achieve nothing.

The worst immoralities are bu
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Cheryl
"The worst immorality is to be careless with another person's heart or soul."

"The worst immoralities are but one, a single sin of human nothingness and stupidity. "Do no harm" is the counterpoint to apathy, indifference, and passive aggression; it is the fundamental moral imperative. "Do no harm" is the opposite of immoral. One must do something and at the same time do no harm. "Do no harm" remains the hardest ethic."

"I want women to stop crimes against women. There I stand or fall."

"There is no
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Emily
She is not being flippant when she titled her book "Heartbreak." This book was one of her last books published, and by far, the saddest. She writes about feeling abandoned by the feminists she is fighting for. Although I understand that Dworkin can appear extreme at times, she is wicked smart and has oceans of compassion for women. That can forgive a lot of disagreement over what we consider "extreme" or "militant". Dworkin is a miracle of a human being (considering the modern patriarcy we live ...more
Jo Watson
I cant remember a day that i haven't wished Andrea was all wrong, it's just all been a massive mistake.. I also can't remember a day that I haven't gathered some evidence that she was right ... I admired her strength to be continuously angry and In battle and I miss her presence in the world
ryan bears
this book kicks bum. i dont understand how people claim she has no sense of humor. this lady is funny. good call on the ginsberg part, f--king brohemians scare me anyways. i swear devandra banhart is ginsberg's reincarnate (whats with that little boys song). i wonder who andrea will come back as?
Peggy
Dworkin presents the bold strokes of her life and justifies her considerable anger at the world. The deeper aspects of her life remain hidden out of sight, for example, the story of her marriage to John Stoltenberg. We learn how they met, but nothing more. She is as ever provocative, but in a memoir that is not enough. The deeper story of who she was has yet to be written.
Macie
This is more of an outline of an identity rather than a memoir. It reminded me a lot of Rebecca Walker's Black White and Jewish in that regard. Dworkin is an incredibly compelling writer. Her ability to persuade you to see things her way is unmatched in my experience. While there were a few awkward moments in the book where it devolved into adolescent ranting, she spoke her own truth. Say what you will about her politics and beliefs--she was acting from a genuine desire and passion to help women ...more
Jeff
I'm about halfway through right now, and it's a compelling read. I challenge anyone (especially men) to read this book without coming away with at least a taste of the complexity of Dworkin's ideas, given the complexity of some of the life stories she tells here. You'll no longer stand for oversimplifications of her ideas. She clearly doesn't "hate men" and isn't "anti-sex". She's a feminist with a heartbreaking history.

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Finished it, and whew, it's a tough read. It gets more heartbreaking,
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Victoria
I have a profound respect for Dworkin, and I think her radical feminism is not all that radical when you look at the state of the world. Vulnerable and strong. I love this memoir; it proves that she is a much deeper writer and thinker than just someone who said all sex was rape

Also, "Torture, Terror, and Resistance," a keynote address by Dworkin. It's a quick read and important. http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dwork...
Laura Avellaneda-Cruz
I am inspired by this book, feel vindicated in my life-long work to end sexual violence and exploitation, and am pleased to have Andrea Dworkin's rough and honest and pained voice articulating what drives her, which is often what drives me. My only complaint is that it is too short, and in being too short leaves out the full, visual depth of stories and how those stories connect to other themes present in the book. It also leaves out some of the evidence that would back up her statements and mak ...more
Kate
Excellent book, that summarizes the moral imperatives and struggles of a young girl coming to be an activist, detailing how her social conscious developed and her acts of defiance against a system she saw as majorly wrong to women early on in her life.

One of those books that sometimes while reading, you have to put down on your lap and think because the author's keen observations or stories of real experience just hit you blind side.

A recommended absolute reader for anyone finding themselves con
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George Jones
This is a wonderful book - I would have given it five stars were it not for the fact that Dworkin makes a transphobic comment near the end.
Jen
Dec 10, 2009 Jen added it
This was recommended by Ariel Levy on the NYer blog as one of her all-time favorite feminist books, and I like Ariel Levy, so. . . . Dworkin organized it in vaguely chronological, very short chapters, starting with stories of her early life, her love of music, and the sexist men and women who shaped her politics, and then moved on to her crusade against pornography and domestic abuse. I liked reading about New York in the '60s. The tone is angry and intense, which I also liked. I didn't find her ...more
Jet
I loved this. I would have given it five stars apart from the sudden short burst of trans*-hatred at the end of the book. Disappointing.

I do love Dworkin's style, though; her passion and her way with words and her uncompromising attitude. This memoir is a fast read, made up of short snapshots of her life. It's Dworkin, so I wouldn't call it an easy read, given that her work was in confronting horrific abuse of herself and so many others. But it's engaging and wonderful as well as horrible and,
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Scott
Heartwrenching. A dear friend gave me this memoir as a gift for my 21st birthday. It moved me more than anything else I was reading at that time. Despite my mixed feelings about some of Dworkin's political stances, this book evoked compassion, identification, and righteous anger in a way I hadn't expected it to.
Kate
Jun 26, 2007 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
an account of the life of possibly the most hated feminist ever, from piano lessons to prostitution to militant activism. regardless of criticism, this book has made dworkin a certain brand of hero in my eyes, as a woman who really has herself together morally.
nikki
A quick, easy read. I like her writing style even if I rarely agree with her. It starts out with short, quirky vignettes, but digresses into ranting for about the final third-half of the book.
k.merlin Wizard
Interesting and kind of a mind bender. Dworkin has always been a hit or miss for me, but if you're into post-modern feminist thought, this is a good place to start.
Kate
She's a crazy anti-man feminist, what more is there to say? It was a good read, although some of her thoughts were very disturbing.
Jill
All too breif, but very personal...like having a conversation. I'm inspired to re-read her other work now.
Trista Hendren
You can't read Andrea Dworkin and not fall more deeply in love with her at the end of each book.
Lost_Clown
very moving and personal account of her life and her struggles. Wonderful and refreshing to read.
Sarah
I really love Andrea Dworkin. She's not always right, but she's so fucking smart.
Rachel
Rachel marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2014
Mary
Mary marked it as to-read
Dec 15, 2014
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Andrea Rita Dworkin was an American radical feminist and writer best known for her criticism of pornography, which she argued was linked to rape and other forms of violence against women.

An anti-war activist and anarchist in the late 1960s, Dworkin wrote 10 books on radical feminist theory and practice. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, she gained national fame as a spokeswoman for the feminist
...more
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