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Heartbreak : The Political Memoir Of A Feminist Militant
     

Heartbreak : The Political Memoir Of A Feminist Militant

by Andrea Dworkin
 

Always innovative, often controversial, and frequently polarizing, Andrea Dworkin has carved out a unique position as one of the women's movement's most influential figures, from the early days of consciousness-raising to the "post-feminist" present. A tireless defender of women's rights, especially the rights of those who have been raped and assaulted, and a

Overview

Always innovative, often controversial, and frequently polarizing, Andrea Dworkin has carved out a unique position as one of the women's movement's most influential figures, from the early days of consciousness-raising to the "post-feminist" present. A tireless defender of women's rights, especially the rights of those who have been raped and assaulted, and a relentless critic of pornography, Dworkin is one of feminism's most rigorous minds and fiercest crusaders.Now, in Heartbreak, Dworkin reveals for the first time the personal side of her lifelong journey as activist and writer. By turns wry, spirited, and poignant, Dworkin tells the story of how she evolved from a childhood lover of music and books into a college activist, embraced her role as an international advocate for women, and emerged as a maverick thinker at odds with both the liberal left and the mainstream women's movement. Throughout, she displays a writer's genius for expressing emotional truth and an intellectual's gift for conveying the excitement of ideas and words. Beautifully written and surprisingly intimate, Heartbreak is a portrait of a soul, and a mind, in the making.From Hearthbreak:"How did I become who I am? I have a heart easily hurt. I believed that cruelty was most often caused by ignorance. I thought that if everybody knew, everything would be different. I was a silly child who believed in the revolution. I was torn to pieces by segregation and Viet Nam. Apartheid broke my heart. Apartheid in Saudi Arabia still breaks my heart-I don't understand why every story about rising oil prices does not come with an addendum about the domestic imprisonment of women in the Gulf states. I can't be bought or intimidated because I'm cut down in the middle. I walk with women whispering in my ears. Every time I cry there's a name attached to each tear."

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Like the Yippie who shouted, “I’m so radical, I’m confusing,” radical feminist militant Dworkin charts her own course. In 1987, she earned a mass media niche by asserting that all sex with men is rape. Since then her forays into anti-pornography and scapegoating have reinforced her reputation as a take-no-prisoners maverick thinker. In this vigorous and surprisingly good-humored memoir, Dworkin traces her revolutions from Bennington student to urban street demonstrator to misunderstood Washington lobbyist. A refreshing view of a strong-minded woman.
San Jose Mercury News
A heart-healing journey of redemption and realization.
St. Petersburg Times
Searing and tough; inspiring for aspiring feminists, enlightening for the study of women.
Boston Globe
Authentic, unique, and admirable.
News & Observer
Dworkin provides a model of conscience in action that should inspire everyone of any stripe to look, to listen, to think.
Gloria Steinem
If we were to have an Old Testament prophet for feminists, it would be Andrea. But even that is not a good comparison, because she offers not just a voice of anger and justice, but also compassion and redemption.
John Berger
She is perhaps the most misrepresented writer in the western world...Her words bleed with love and her vision is oracular. The oracle accuses on behalf of those who are systematically never listened to. The accusations come, in all their stridency, from the music which was originally there in everybody. With Dworkin's words, if you really listen, you can still hear this music. And once you've heard it, you will want—however uncomfortable it is—to put yourself beside her.
Deirdre Bair
We should all treat Andrea Dworkin like a national treasure for caring enough to engage our passions—wherever upon the political or social spectrum they may fall.
Women's Review of Books
When she tells us that a woman who speaks angry truths to power takes tremendous risks, she's absolutely right, more than ever.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this roughly chronological account of her political formation, Dworkin, a prolific writer and ardent antipornography activist, shares the moments her "memory insists on," things "it will not let go." Thus, from grade school through college (what she calls "the archetypical brothel"), there are sexually predatory teachers, morally bankrupt intellectuals and plenty of molested and "incested" victims. The moral compass of these anecdotes can be dizzying. Dworkin's pedophilic high school teacher running a "menage a quatre" with a couple of her girlfriends was "the snake" offering worldly knowledge; she was his "little Eva" going along with his games. Yet there's no restraining the venom when it comes to an overly prim junior high English teacher who had the nerve to try to comfort her when she was mad about getting a B: "I knew I'd get her someday and this is it: eat shit, bitch." Her college years yielded a few political insurrection anecdotes, followed by some European travel stories, but the narrative segues increasingly into discussions of rape and other forms of violence against women. Jail's too good for most rapists and batterers; she'd have their victims shoot them dead. When "pedophile" Allen Ginsberg fretted about being sent to jail after the Supreme Court upheld the criminalization of child porn, she wished him dead, too. She ends with a long-winded lament of "the worst immoralit[ies]" mostly concerning selling out one's principles, giving up and pretending not to see injustices which all boil down to "a single sin of human nothingness and stupidity." "I don't care about being understood," Dworkin concludes, but not being understood may be the least ofher problems here. Agent, Elaine Markson. (Mar. 1) Forecast:This memoir covers little new ground, but at least it's much shorter than Dworkin's previous works. This and the book's timing (its publication coincides with Women's History Month) may entice readers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A controversial author (Scapegoat, 2000, etc.) offers her bitter and sad reflections on life as a feminist. Dworkin lashes right out in her preface: "I have no sense of honor," she writes, asserting that "triviality and deceit [are] the coin of the female realm." What follows are vignettes from the life that led her to that view, most of them involving examples of adult deception and coercion. In short, dense chapters, Dworkin reviews her development into a radical feminist crusader against pornography and prostitution. By the sixth grade, she says, she was a rebel, refusing to sing "Silent Night" because it celebrated Christianity and she was Jewish; she characterizes the "pretty, gutless teacher" who tried to convince her to go along as "a female collaborator." An encounter with a pedophile teacher taught her more about lying. Later, political activism led to jail and to self-imposed exile in Crete, where she taught herself to write. In Amsterdam, a battering husband drove her to prostitution; discovering the works of early second-wave feminists, she vowed to "give my life to the movement." And she has, although not always in ways that the movement finds agreeable. When Dworkin began to speak about violence and rape, women of all sorts, including third-generation prostitutes, told her their stories of abuse. The issue of pornography collided with the issue of free speech, of course, but Dworkin believes class played a part as well. Maneuvered off the podium at a NOW convention, she comments, "it became a bad feminist habit for the rich to rat out the poor." She also doesn't hesitate to characterize President Clinton as an abuser and poet Allen Ginsberg as an avowed pedophile. The lastchapter portrays women prostituted and abused as "paying the freight for all the rest." The cry of a wounded creature ("I have a heart easily hurt") who cannot or will not let the wounds heal. They fuel her crusade. Author tour

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465017539
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
02/20/2002
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.82(d)
Lexile:
1020L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Andrea Dworkin was a controversial and influential feminist writer and tireless campaigner against pornography and violence towards women. She died in April 2005. Author of 13 books, ranging across feminist theory, fiction and poetry, including Pornography, Intercourse and Scapegoat.

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