Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bettina Aptheker's New Memoir

I just finished Bettina Aptheker’s new memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel. It is a fantastic book. A review from AlterNet is available here. There are many things I loved about this book, but the things that stand out for me include the ways in which she talks about her abuse as a child and how her relationship with her father, the man who molested her as a child, unfolded as she was an adult and through his death. It is an incredibly sharp in its feminist analysis as well as compassionate. I’ve not read anything quite like it about child abuse. Her recount of the trial of Angela Davis was also fascinating to me. It makes me want to go back and read Angela’s biography again -- probably a good move in light of the upcoming election in the U.S. It will recommit me to voting for her! There are things that I missed in this book: more analysis of the Communist Party in the United States during the 1970s as well as her sense of a contemporary political agenda for feminists. It is not a polemic, however, it is an intimate personal history. I won’t say much more about it because Aptheker is going to be in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in the spring. I’m going to try to set up a few bookstore readings for her when she is in town and hope to do a more in-depth interview with her for off our backs. Meanwhile, it’s a great book - get it now and make plans to see her while she is in town.

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