Rachel's Reviews > Anarchism and Other Essays

Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman
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's review
Mar 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 2011

To be honest, I didn't read every essay, but the ones I did read were thought-provoking and articulate. I picked it up because of an essay she wrote against woman's suffrage, stating it was a middle-class movement that couldn't possibly live up to its claims and was ultimately a waste of energy. She compared the wimpy women of the West to the strapping Russian women, who, apparently, made all kinds of reforms without having the vote. Of course on some fronts she was right, since she had none of the Victorian trappings of idolizing genteel women. The other essay I found particularly interesting addressed criminal justice in the United States, and even though her anarchist idealism doesn't jibe with current understanding of what causes criminal behavior and what works best to prevent it, her concern for humane treatment of inmates is touching, and it's enlightening to see what a relatively small percentage of the population was being incarcerated at the time of her writing, when she feared the government was overreaching. Intriguing for the historical perspective of a woman who was well ahead of her time in terms of social and political consciousness--and engaging for their perspective on American anarchism, Goldman's essays are worth a look.
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