Life and Death

Life and Death

by Andrea Dworkin
     
 

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A collection of her most incisive essays and unpublished speeches, Life and Death makes it clear why Dworkin has found her place in the canon of modern political thought. She begins here with a poignant autobiographical piece, in which she recounts with rare tenderness her childhood in Camden, New Jersey, her political odyssey, and the crushing pain of her brother's… See more details below

Overview

A collection of her most incisive essays and unpublished speeches, Life and Death makes it clear why Dworkin has found her place in the canon of modern political thought. She begins here with a poignant autobiographical piece, in which she recounts with rare tenderness her childhood in Camden, New Jersey, her political odyssey, and the crushing pain of her brother's death. Lending her hand to tragic current events, or what she calls "emergencies," like the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, the Hedda Nussbaum child abuse case, and the mass murder of female students at a college in Montreal, Dworkin makes clear in her inimitable way the obvious things we stubbornly fail to notice. Finally, she guides us back to the core issues at stake in women's lives - pornography, domestic violence, rape, and prostitution - and reminds us that even after decades of feminist so-called progress, gender is an ongoing war.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The overarching theme of this gathering of impassioned, compelling articles and speeches from the last decade by famed feminist Dworkin is that the epidemic of rape, wife-beating, murder of females, pornography and prostitution is made possible by cultures that allow men to exercise destructive power over women. She views the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of accused batterer and stalker O.J. Simpson, as emblematic of our legal system's failure to protect women against male violence. There is a powerful expos here of Serbs' systematic rape and murder of Muslim and Croatian females. In her polemical report on a trip to Israel, Dworkin condemns what she sees as a theocratic, racist state based on dispossession and theft of Arab land, a place where Orthodox rabbis make most of the legal decisions that affect women's lives. In a revealing personal history, Dworkin, a former battered wife and sex abuse victim, declares autobiography to be the unseen foundation of her nonfiction, and indeed many of these pieces forcefully link the personal to the political. (Mar.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Dworkin's (Mercy, LJ 11/15/91) articles, speeches, and essays collected here originally appeared in various popular and scholarly publications from 1987 to 1995. Arranged by theme, they deal with issues of pornography, sexual abuse, rape, spousal assault, and murder, all part of what Dworkin posits is, too often, a woman-hating societal continuum. Her language is powerful but controlled; the images, many reflecting her own life experiences, some media-familiar, are often brutal; her logic is inescapable. Unfortunately, and perhaps more an editorial decision than her own, most documentation has been omitted, a disservice both to Dworkin and to her readers. She is also more persuasive in stating problems than in presenting solutions. Of particular interest to women's studies collections, this anthology will also provoke vigorous debate among a more general readership.-Barbara Hutcheson, Greater Victoria P.L., British Columbia
Kirkus Reviews
Essays and speeches from an eloquent, impassioned, but often stunningly illogical feminist.

Dworkin is one of the primary intellectual and literary voices of the feminist antipornography movement. In this collection, as in much of her work, she unflinchingly describes male violence against women. Her testimonials to her own experiences as a battered wife are especially well rendered. These essays also take on the O.J. Simpson case, rape in Serbian death camps, and (as always, for Dworkin), pornography, which she continues to strangely fixate on as the root cause of rape. Oddly, she is quick to bring up historical examples of rape, which appear to immediately complicate the question of causality; Thomas Jefferson, for instance, who Dworkin claims raped Sally Hemings, his slave and mistress, didn't have access to anything like the brutal and graphic pornography that men have today. Certainly, Dworkin makes a convincing case for porn's role in men's violence, but it can't possibly be as central as she claims. At other points, the author undermines her reliability as a narrator by being melodramatic about the attacks on her work, which have indeed been virulent, but that is because she makes controversial points; any writer suggesting that heterosexual penetration is equivalent to oppression—as Dworkin did in her 1987 book, Intercourse—would be questioned. She claims that she has been censored, which seems astounding, given that her work is well known and widely discussed. It is even widely available—some of the essays in this collection were published first in the Los Angeles Times, New York Newsday, and the New York Times Book Review.

Those already converted to Dworkin's strain of feminism will find much to admire here; those who disagree with her will likely remain unconvinced. But political specifics aside, her critique of our culture's vicious and persistent woman-hating is powerful and painful.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743236263
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
01/15/2002
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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