Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant” as Want to Read:
Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  450 Ratings  ·  41 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 Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Heartbreak, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Heartbreak

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 17, 2013 pronoti rated it it was amazing
Dworkin has been criticized, ridiculed and much 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,
Sep 28, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 15, 2012 Jo Watson rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 04, 2012 Carrie rated it really liked it
"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
Nov 16, 2009 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
"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
Mar 16, 2014 Peggy rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, feminist
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.
ryan bears
Dec 20, 2008 ryan bears rated it it was amazing
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?
Daphne Austin
"The worst immorality is in apathy, a deadening of caring about others, not because they have some special claim but because they have no claim at all. The worst immorality is in disinterest, indifference, so that the lone person in pain has no importance; one need not feel an urgency about rescuing the suffering person. The worst immorality is in dressing up to go out in order not to have to think about those who are hungry, without shelter, without protection."

The image of Andrea Dworkin that'
Nov 03, 2010 Macie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it
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.

Finished it, and whew, it's a tough read. It gets more heartbreaking,
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
Jun 26, 2007 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Jun 27, 2012 Kate rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 26, 2017 Bethany rated it it was amazing
Heartbreak is a memoir in the vein of Bob Dylan's Chronicles: not just a fleshed out skeleton of one's dreams, desires and actions, but a map of how a person came to be, significant landmarks including books one has read, people who have influenced one, ideas and ideals that have motivated one to action. Perhaps this isn't a different kind of memoir, but simply a memoir by a certain kind of person, a person whose life was held to a higher purpose, be that art or radical politics.

This is a beauti
Mar 04, 2017 Brooke rated it really liked it
"The worst immorality is in living a trivial life because one is afraid to face any other kind of life--a despairing life or a twisted and difficult life...

The worst immorality is to set one's goals so low that one must crawl to meet them."
Dec 25, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Actual Rating: 10 of 5 thorns

"Do no harm." (page 204)
"I hope for nothing; I fear nothing; I am free." (page 106)

Humor. Pain. Transparency. This memoir is bold and beautiful. The vignettes build upon one another to create a powerful narrative of the experiences that shaped Dworkin's life as a radical feminist. Through sorrowful details and eloquently rendered storytelling, she leads us into her past, relating what pushed her to do the work she has done, and she motivates readers to become active
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I felt as though it got off to a rough start. The chapters were short and, initially, very choppy and full of names. There was a chapter about musicians and jazz, then a chapter about books, then a bit more about music, then something about college... It just jumped around a lot and didn't feel like it had a lot of cohesion.

During college she spent some time in Crete, and then went back to finish her degree. It was about that point in the book that I f
Emer O'Toole
Nov 30, 2015 Emer O'Toole rated it really liked it
A political memoir is the right title, as this autobiography treads gently around the personal. The first few chapters are about music and books Dworkin liked as a young woman – sort of Proustian in tone. I’m not a fan of that kind of writing, but I’m glad I didn’t give up - as Dworkin tells the story of how she developed into a writer and an activist, I realised that this is not just her story. It's the story of male violence; it's the story of a woman on the male-dominated left; it’s a story f ...more
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
Apr 06, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist-studies
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
Apr 06, 2010 Jet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Oct 22, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
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.
Jesse Lehrer
Mar 04, 2015 Jesse Lehrer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So amazing. There's like...2 cringeworthy moments, but other than that she speaks the bitter angry truth of the hypocritical world we live in. Her anger makes me feel righteous fury and want to completely destroy the status quo, and that's a great thing. There are right and wrongs in the world, and she's fantastic at calling out the bullshit and stating the truth.
May 07, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing
I really love Andrea Dworkin. She's not always right, but she's so fucking smart.
k.merlin Wizard
Jul 11, 2009 k.merlin Wizard rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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.
Yasmine Carlson
May 20, 2016 Yasmine Carlson rated it it was amazing
Everything I thought I knew and that I had been told about Dworkin was wrong. She writes beautifully.
George Jones
Dec 13, 2014 George Jones rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 08, 2016 Jess rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and painful and too brief. I still have a million questions. My first impulse is to read everything else she wrote in succession, but I don't think my heart could take it.
Oct 08, 2009 nikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist-gender
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Unpacking Queer Politics: A Lesbian Feminist Perspective
  • In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution
  • Not for Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography
  • Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism
  • Only Words
  • Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory
  • Refusing to be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice
  • Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality
  • The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution
  • Sexual Politics
  • The Whole Woman
  • Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity
  • Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence
  • Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger
  • The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory
  • I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings
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 about Andrea Dworkin...

Share This Book

“It’s not as if there’s an empty patch that one can see and so one can say, ‘There’s my ignorance; it’s about ten by ten and a dozen feet high and someday someone will fill in the empty patch.” 0 likes
More quotes…