Emma Goldman was an anarchist political activist and writer. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.
Born in Kovno in the Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania) to a Jewish family, Goldman emigrated to the United States in 1885. Attracted to anarchism after the Haymarket affair, Goldman became a writer and a renowned lecturer on anarchist philosophy, women’s rights, and social issues. She promoted free love and birth control, and was arrested for her involvement in the first trial of birth control proponent Margaret Sanger. After the trial, Goldman was imprisoned for two weeks.
In 1906, Goldman founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. In 1917, Goldman and fellow anarchist Alexander Berkman planned to assassinate industrialist and financier J.P. Morgan to protest against his involvement in World War I, but the plot was thwarted. After her release from prison, Goldman continued to travel across the United States and Europe, giving speeches on anarchist philosophy and social issues.
In 1923, Goldman was deported to the Soviet Union, where she spent the last years of her life. She died in 1940, aged 70.
Goldman’s work and ideas have had a significant impact on popular culture and her life has been dramatized in several films and television shows.
If you’re looking for books about Emma Goldman, here are some of the best ones:
1. Emma Goldman: Her Life and Legacy, by Candace Falk
Falk’s biography of Goldman is the most comprehensive and authoritative account of her life. It is based on extensive research and draws on a wealth of previously unpublished primary sources, including Goldman’s personal correspondence.
2. Love, Anarchy, and Emma Goldman, by Alix Kates Shulman
Shulman’s book is a feminist re-evaluation of Goldman’s life and work. It focuses on Goldman’s relationships with the men in her life and her commitment to anarchist principles.
3. Red Emma Speaks: An Anarchist Reader, edited by Alix Kates Shulman
This anthology of Goldman’s writing is an essential introduction to her thought. It includes a wide range of her essays, articles, and speeches on topics such as anarchism, women’s rights, free love, and birth control.
4. Anarchism and Other Essays, by Emma Goldman
This collection of Goldman’s essays is a classic introduction to anarchist thought. It covers a wide range of topics, including the state, capitalism, education, and religion.
5. Living My Life, by Emma Goldman
Goldman’s autobiography is one of the most important primary sources for understanding her life and ideas. It is a candid and often moving account of her personal life, her relationships, and her political activism.