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Living For Change: An Autobiography
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Living For Change: An Autobiography

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  138 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
"More than a deeply moving memoir, this is a book of revelation. Grace Lee Boggs, Chinese American, middle class, highly educated, discovers through her encounters with remarkable rebels, blue collars as well as philosophers, where the body is buried: who is doing what to whom in our society. It is an adventure that is truly liberating". Studs Terkel"Grace Lee Boggs has ma ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published 1998)
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Leslie Reese
Oct 05, 2015 Leslie Reese rated it really liked it
I have owned this book for many years (I found the original receipt for its purchase stuck in the middle pages) but didn't have the temperament, attention, and interest to begin a serious reading of it until now. Nkenge Zo!@ was a comrade in radical community politics in Detroit with James Boggs and Grace Lee Boggs, and when I met her in the 1980s she would often make references to NOAR (National Organization for an American Revolution) but I was young and not particularly interested in becoming ...more
Nov 09, 2015 Marcy rated it liked it
There is no doubt that Grace Lee Boggs was an extraordinary human and from her life as an activist there is much one can learn. Reading this book you get to witness her evolution in her organising work, filled with insightful observations about her setbacks and successes. It's refreshing to see someone who was able to devote her life to making the world around her a better place. It was also quite interesting to learn about her childhood years and her trip to China as an adult. The letters quote ...more
Chance Grable
Jun 12, 2015 Chance Grable rated it really liked it
This book provides insight into Boggs personal, political and ideological development throughout a significant chunk of the 20th century. Through decades of experiences as a participant in the American Left and Black Liberation Movements, Boggs life also reveals the ideological and political evolution of these movements. Her experiences often show a unique perspective of America social movement history because she participated in parts of movements that were less central to the broader movement, ...more
Jul 21, 2009 Rukshana rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread-someday
I really enjoyed this book. I am surprised more people have not read it and written reviews on Goodreads. I was inspired to read it after Grace Lee Boggs visited Los Angeles and I heard so much about the conversations she had with local activists while she was here.

I haven't read many memoirs/autobiographies by political activists. It was fascinating to see how she lived her life as a self-identified revolutionary, how she created her life in that vision. The conflicts and ideological rifts bet
Annie Shaw
Jun 02, 2011 Annie Shaw rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe that I spent 63 years without hearing Grace Lee Boggs until I heard an interview with her on Pacifica radio (WPFW in DC). I immediately ordered this book and began this part of my education in social activism.

Ossie Davis calls this book "a feast for the hungering heart - or even a picnic". And so it is.

And, I find much to consider here... what I'm taking away right now is that we are each called to live in sustainable community and she's living that in her home of Detroit.
Nick Klagge
Apr 03, 2016 Nick Klagge rated it liked it
Grace Lee Boggs is a fascinating person who I had never heard of until a friend recommended the movie "American Revolutionary," which focuses on her life (it's on Netflix; check it out!). GLB is a Chinese-American woman who was born in 1915, attended Barnard College and got a PhD in philosophy from Bryn Mawr, then became a political radical who spent her life in the black movement in the 50s, 60s and 70s, then in radical efforts to rebuild inner city Detroit from the 1980s through her death last ...more
Victoria Law
She concentrates on her political relationships with people, including her husband Jimmy Lee Boggs. I would have liked to have known more about the personal dynamics of some of her relationships over the years. Still, an interesting read and an eye-opener of Detroit activism and organizing from the civil rights era to the present.
May 11, 2008 Cale rated it really liked it
great picture of a woman whose 60 + year trajectory as an activist in the civil rights struggle should inspire us all. the description of the unfortunate schisms and splits in the radical left of the 30's 40's and 50's is sad but instructive.
K. Zhou
Mar 27, 2015 K. Zhou rated it it was amazing
Shelves: as-am, detroit
Yes! Found this book to be incredibly inspiring, just so much wisdom. During the course of reading this book, found myself constantly quoting from it in conversations.
As other reviewers have mentioned, Grace Lee Boggs speaks very little on her feelings and regrets over the past 80-some years, but that by no means diminishes the value of the book. In describing her childhood and the influence of Chinese values on her personality, she talks about waking up from anaesthesia after a tonsil operation and immediately asking "How are the others?" instead of worrying about herself. Her autobiography is similarly concerned with what was going on around her, and she of ...more
Dec 27, 2007 John rated it did not like it
I watched Grace Lee Boggs on Bill Moyers Journal . She's been involved in most of social movements post the Depression.

Unfortunately, this book suffers from three problems.
1) She provides many details describing the nuances of the debates between the groups involved in the social movements without providing the context so that one can understand the nuances. The result is boring and long-winded. This is particularly true in chapter three while she talks about the communist movement.

2) Her writ
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
I started this years ago, got to the last chapter and a half, and inextricably put it down. I recently picked it back up and finished it. It's a nice autobiography of Grace Lee Boggs and her husband Jimmy. It's focus is definitely socialism with a heavy nod toward the Marxist-Leninist strand. The politics weren't my favorite part, but it did offer some honest insight regarding this tendency in socialism as it is not an area of thought I'm dedicated to reading about. The last chapter offers some ...more
Jun 16, 2008 Colin rated it really liked it
I really got a lot out of this book...I especially liked the way Grace Lee Boggs' lifelong experiences at the center of radical activism in Detroit illuminated the historical discussions in Robin D.G. Kelley's Freedom Dreams, which i really love.

Boggs also had a helpful analysis of the nature of organizing as related to social justice, seeing it as dialectical, or always changing and rife with conflict. In this way, she showed that what are often perceived as "failures" of the left--splinters,
Aug 15, 2015 Marietje rated it really liked it
Grace Boggs gives the reader an inside view of not only the Civil Rights Movement, but of the struggle to rebuild Detroit through grassroots efforts. I agree with other reviewers that it is more of a history than an autobiography. I also feel that Grace Boggs writes more about other people's efforts than about her own. I hope that somebody else will come forward to write more closely about Grace's role in all the causes she fought for and still fights for, even at the age of 100.
Jun 10, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet her in Detroit when I worked for her nonprofit org. She's a remarkable woman and an inspiration. Just a synopsis of her life if you don't know her: She was on the front lines with MLK walking down Woodward Ave during the Civil Rights movement and was one of the major founders of the movement.
Oct 07, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
I heard a story on NPR on "Grace Lee Boggs, Activist and American Revolutionary turns 100" I wondered how I had never heard of her, so I tracked down her autobiography...
Mar 13, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
Great plug for archives - and all the great stuff at the Reuther in Detroit - a pretty amazing story of a woman committed to making the world a better place. Revolutionary vision.
Interesting for picture of the left around CLR James, and the fair left in Detroit, the language gets wooden towards the end. And it's true about what they say about Trotskyists.
Dec 26, 2009 Yvette added it
I learned from this fascinating woman that it is possible to transcend class and racial biases. And that a better society is possible and perhaps just around the corner.
David Monge
Jan 31, 2011 David Monge rated it it was amazing
Her entire life has seen so much change. I think the philosophy that she espouses can save our planet. "We are the leaders we have been looking for".
Jan 23, 2013 Robin rated it liked it
This book is good, but not as compelling as Bogg's life.
Morag Kydd
Sep 01, 2007 Morag Kydd marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in politics and history
how it was done.
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