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The Rebel Girl: An Autobiography, My First Life 1906-26

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  15 reviews
An epic firsthand account of women and labor in the early years of the 20th century. The fiery IWW, labor defense & Communist leader writes vividly of her early life.
Childhood & Early Youth
Socialist & IWW Agitator, 1906-12
The Lawrence Textile Strike
The Paterson Silk Strike
The IWW, 1912-14
World War I & Its Aftermath
Sacco & Vanzetti
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 1st 1973 by International Publishers (NYC) (first published 1955)
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An autobiography – My first life 1906 – 1926
By Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

I’ve always had a soft spot for romantic, idealistic, revolutionaries, not the bomb-throwers or advocates of assassination and other forms of violence but those that devoted their lives to fighting for a better life for the working people of the world. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was one of those indomitable thorns in the side of the Robber Barons during that turbulent period of the labor movement in the early part o
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting memoir of the struggles of different labour group in the USA at the turn of the 20th century. Many long battles for decent wages and an 8 hour work week. Child labour was also in vogue and their used to be company towns where corporations owned everything.

It's very clear how police and hired goons beat up and sometimes killed people for just wanting to start a union. You could get arrested for handing out pamphlets about socialism or birth control...A very telling book about corpo
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
The Rebel Girl is a memoir by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn of her early work as a Socialist labor organizer for the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World). The first chapter tells of her life growing up in an Irish-American family. Her mother was an Irish nationalist and a feminist while her father was a Socialist. When she was 16 Elizabeth gave her first speech at a New York Socialist meeting on the rights of women.

She was so good at public speaking that it became her life's work, traveling all over t
Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin
a fascinating person living in very interesting times in my opinion worker for the good guys at least until later on she left the IWW and joined the CPA but that is a sectarian opinion anyway she did a lot of good in her time. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn jumped into socialist politics in 1906 at age sixteen on a soapbox in NYC. She was heavily involved in labor struggles like the Lowell textile strike and the Paterson silk strike. She was a pamphleteer and organizer for the labor movement which at t ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Le Petit Heroine de Socialisme!

I'm awstruck by this incredible and fearless Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who crusaded against capitalism and unjust treatment of the working class and less-fortunate. My god how cold-blooded the workers got treated before the Labor movement with its strikes for better working hours and overall conditions came about. An all-male Capitalist system left to itself is a complete disaster; wich created slavery, wars, supression of people, races+++. Women didn't get to vote
Benjamin Fasching-Gray
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: resistance, irish, labor
It's always great to read a book critical of the stuff I am into written by someone sympathetic to the stuff I'm into. I also like it that her comments are directed at certain tactics and not at particular isms. Probably because she wrote speeches for uneducated and often migrant workers for 50 years before writing this book, her language is direct and exciting. One great surprise bonus goodness for me was her connections with Irish rebels like James Connolly and James Larkin. Also fun to have c ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Anyone interested in the history of labor or activism in the U.S. should read this book. Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a powerful orator, a dedicated and tireless activist working to make life better for the working class. Her story should also be of interest to those interested in women's history and Irish-American history.
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's interesting to think that this was meant to be volume 1 of her autobiography. I would have happily dived into a volume 2 if it existed. Yes, sometimes it jumped around where I wanted more detail, but there was so much that Flynn covered that to get the amount of detail I wanted would have required several more volumes. In any case, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was fascinating.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: studies
An ex-IWW writing about Socialist activism pretty much in the hey day of American radicalism, 1906-26.
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: labor history readers, Marxist readers, feminist readers, auto/biography readers
Hurray for the IWW and CPA!!!
Jeanie Wallenstein
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: You
Recommended to Jeanie by: Pam Gilchrist, my rebel girl.
This book inspired me and showed me that caring and activism are absolutely essential and doable.
Jun 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: rebels of all genders
Shelves: life-stories
A classic of radical reading. Inspiring for sure.
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
a wandering and freewheeling, but fascinating biographical account of an important American labor leader
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Laura Chase
Apr 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Fascinating woman. very dry writing style
Tom Costello
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Rebel Girl - Gurley Flynn 1 4 Sep 11, 2012 04:43AM  

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A labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Flynn was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a visible proponent of women's rights, birth control, and women's suffrage. She joined the American Communist Party in 1936 and late in life, in 1961, became its chairwoman. She died during a visit to the Soviet Union, ...more

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