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Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (Unabridged) [Paperback]

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Item description for Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (Unabridged) by Paul Avrich...

This book contains 180 interviews conducted over a period of 30 years. The interviewees were active between the 1880s and the 1930s and represent all schools of anarchism. Each of the six thematic sections begins with an explanatory essay, and each interview with a biographical note. Their stories provide a wealth of personal detail about such anarchist luminaries as Emma Goldman and Sacco and Vanzetti. This work of impeccable scholarship is an invaluable resource not only for scholars of anarchism but also for those studying immigration, ethnic politics, education, and labor history.

Paul Avrich is a professor of history at Queens College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   574
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2005
Publisher   AK Press
ISBN  1904859275  
ISBN13  9781904859277  

Availability  0 units.

More About Paul Avrich

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paul Avrich was Professor of Russian History and Anarchism at Queens College, City University of New York.

Paul Avrich currently resides in the state of New York. Paul Avrich has an academic affiliation as follows - Queens College.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Contemporary Methods > Multicultural
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > Ideologies > Radical Thought
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > U.S.

Reviews - What do customers think about Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (Unabridged)?

A Must Have for Students looking to Grasp Anarchist History  Apr 21, 2008
The interviews are well put together. He asked important questions, and allowed those being interviewed to share their thoughts. Some of the answers are entertaining, and others really give you the insight that only a person that was there can give.

Read only the interviews you want, or catch your fancy.
Another forgotten chapter of people's history  Sep 21, 2006
I, too, am glad that AK Press re-printed this (unabridged) oral history project by the late great Paul Avrich. In this classic tome, Avrich brilliantly brings to life the fascinating stories of the heroic women and men, most of them immigrants, involved in the anarchist movement of the early 20th century. I especially found interesting the stories about Emma Goldman, Sacco and Vanzetti and the free schools inspired by the work of Francisco Ferrer. That said , I was a little dismayed that a few of the individuals interviewed espoused ideas that many activists today wound consider reactionary, such as support for Zionism and the Cuban exile movement. It bewilders me, for example, how any anticapitalist could denounce Salvador Allende and the social experiment he attempted in Chile. Likewise, I was troubled by the fact that the bulk of the book dealt almost exclusively with issues of economic exploitation and the state, ignoring equally important topics like race, gender, sexual orientation and the environment. Nevertheless, this is an important book, and despite its enormity, a surprisingly quick and enjoyable read.
Probably the best introduction to real Anarchy out there  Jul 3, 2006
I'm very, very happy that AK has reissued this book. Previously, it was only available in expensive hardcover.

What it is is nothing less than a living, breathing, oral history of the real anarchist communities which existed in the United States mostly before the second world war.

Instead of dry theory you have the voices of the people who have read the theory and have applied it in their lives in an actual movement.

You have people from the Italian Anarchist community in America, you have references to the Spanish one and how they organized in America while the CNT, the major Anarcho-Syndialist Union in Spain, was in existence.

You have recollections of the major Anarchists in America from people who actually knew them; you even have gossip over things like Sacco and Vanzetti by Anarchists theorizing about the case.

Plus, accounts of Anarcho-Communes, which did exist well into the 20th century.

If you ever wanted to experience what it would be like to sit at a table back in the first half of the century and hear the Anarchists of the time talk about their lives, their strategies to organize for social change in their communities, and their take on politics and anarchism, well, here it is.

The book is invaluable.

Better than trying to struggle over pointless legal theory in "What is Property?" by Proudhon...although other of Proudhon's works are good.

Hear the living, breathing, heart of the early 20th century anarchist movement: read this book.
Romantic, Tragic, full of hope  Jun 27, 2006
Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America is a real treasure. It's more than 450 pages long, but I couldn't put it down. The book allowed me to escape into the lives of the real participants of the Anarchist movement of North America in its previous heyday of the 1890s-1930s. Originally published in 1995, Paul Avrich interviewed hundreds of Anarchists and former Anarchists who were mainly in their eighties and nineties in the 1970s, the majority dying within a few years of the interviews. I was especially impressed by this, since it gave hundreds of people who had led amazing lives a sort of last memoir before they passed, much in the same style as Working by [by whom?]

It is divided into six sections covering much of the American Anarchist movement. It is mainly centered around the east coast, especially New York. They are 1) Pioneers, which focuses on relatives and close friends of the famous Anarchists like Alexander Berkman and Ben Reitman, 2) Emma Goldman, who was hugely influential and left a strong impression on everyone interviewed 3) Sacco and Venzetti, which details mostly Italian Anarchist experiences around the famous trials and frame-up of the Italian immigrants, 4) Schools and Colonies, which focus on the Modern School movement like the Ferrer school or the Stelton colony in which Anarchists tried to build communities and separate themselves into a lifestyle, 5) the Ethnic Anarchists, focusing on different groups which really brought ideological Anarchism to the United States, like the Russians, Jews, Spanish, and Italian immigrants, 6) the 1920s and beyond, which links the activities after the big decline on the US Anarchist movement after the 1920s until the 1960s and the rise of the "new anarchist movement" starting in the 1980s.

What really struck me about this book was how similar some of the arguments of the Anarchist movement were in the past to those of the present. Past divisions between sub-groups were detailed in the text as well. As Avrich explains, the main split was between the Anarcho-syndicalists/communists and the Anarcho-individualists. Today, the main split is between the Anarcho-syndicalists/communists and the eco-anarchists. The discussion also includes people who got burnt out on anarchists because they thought the anarchists were ineffective. Many do not regret their involvement in the movement and look back on the years they spent in the movement as the best years of their lives.

In the end, the book is very inspiring because so many of the interviewees still call themselves Anarchists and see that the fight for a better world will continue no matter what. Many of them remain idealists and are hopeful that the world they have worked towards will come about someday. They have hope despite having seen the world nearly destroy itself, supposed comrades (like the Communists) betray them, and enough bickering to make anyone cynical. Many of them had not been involved in the Anarchist Movement for many years, or had simply been involved in book clubs or discussion groups that passed on the ideas. And yet they are still committed to the idea that all humans should be free of oppression and that no government can make you free no matter where you are on this earth.

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