Intimate Politics: How I Grew up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel

Overview

At eight years old, Bettina Aptheker watched her family's politics play out in countless living rooms across the country when her father, historian and U.S. Communist Party leader Herbert Aptheker, testified on television in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Born into one of the most influential U.S. Communist families whose friends included W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Bettina lived her parents' politics witnessing first-hand one of the most dramatic ...

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Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel

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Overview

At eight years old, Bettina Aptheker watched her family's politics play out in countless living rooms across the country when her father, historian and U.S. Communist Party leader Herbert Aptheker, testified on television in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Born into one of the most influential U.S. Communist families whose friends included W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Bettina lived her parents' politics witnessing first-hand one of the most dramatic upheavals in American history. She also lived with a terrible secret: incest at the hands of her famous father and a frightening and lonely life lived inside a home wrought with family tensions.
A gripping and beautifully rendered memoir, Intimate Politics is at its core the story of one woman's struggle to still the demons of her personal world while becoming a controversial public figure herself. This is the story of childhood sexual abuse, abortion, sexual violence, activism, and the triumph over one's past. It's about FBI harassment and persecution, Jewish heritage, and lesbian identity. It is, finally, about the courage to speak one's truth despite the consequences and to break the sacred silence of family secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Now professor of feminist studies at UC-Santa Cruz, Aptheker was an activist participant in some of the major events of the '60s and '70s the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, the antiwar movement and the Angela Davis trial. As the daughter of U.S. Communist Party leader Herbert Aptheker, she was virtually a red-diaper princess, only to "fall from grace" with the party in her late 20s. Her highly politicized New York City upbringing was one of middle class comfort, although sorely affected by McCarthyist persecution as well as sexual abuse by her father, deeply repressed memories of which she uncovered in adulthood. The author, who taught her first women's studies course in 1977, describes herself as a latecomer to the women's movement (the Communist Party considered it "petit bourgeois "). A personal transformation paralleled the political, as her repressed lesbianism also surfaced and gradually culminated in a fulfilling long-term relationship. Though pedestrian prose and prolix detail obscure what ought to be a compelling account of events with powerful social as well as personal meaning, Aptheker's memoir (after Tapestries of Life) is a significant document for students and historians of feminism, communism and the '60s. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580051606
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Pages: 549
  • Sales rank: 1,419,894
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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