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A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman

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The anarchist and radical hero Emma Goldman, brought to vivid life in a graphic biography by an acclaimed artist. "You are a terrible child and will grow into a worse woman! You have no respect for your elders or for authority! You will surely end on the gallows as a public menace!"—Emma Goldman's childhood religion teacher A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and r The anarchist and radical hero Emma Goldman, brought to vivid life in a graphic biography by an acclaimed artist. "You are a terrible child and will grow into a worse woman! You have no respect for your elders or for authority! You will surely end on the gallows as a public menace!"—Emma Goldman's childhood religion teacher A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and radical icon Emma Goldman's extraordinary life, this graphic biography embodies the richness and drama of Goldman's story in a wholly original way. A Dangerous Woman depicts the full sweep of a life lived to the hilt in the struggle for equality and justice. Emma Goldman was at the forefront of the radical causes of the twentieth century, from leading hunger demonstrations during the Great Depression—"Ask for work! If they do not give you work, ask for bread! If they do not give you work or bread, take the bread!"—to organizing a cloakmakers' strike, from lecturing on how to use birth control to fighting conscription for World War I, while her soulmate, Alexander Berkman, spent fourteen years in jail for his failed attentat against industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Sharon Rudahl's lovely, energetic illustrations bring Goldman's many facets and passions to new life; her work belongs with the critically acclaimed graphic nonfiction of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. Featuring a foreword by Alice Wexler, A Dangerous Woman is a marvelously compelling presentation of a woman devoted to revolutionizing her age.


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The anarchist and radical hero Emma Goldman, brought to vivid life in a graphic biography by an acclaimed artist. "You are a terrible child and will grow into a worse woman! You have no respect for your elders or for authority! You will surely end on the gallows as a public menace!"—Emma Goldman's childhood religion teacher A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and r The anarchist and radical hero Emma Goldman, brought to vivid life in a graphic biography by an acclaimed artist. "You are a terrible child and will grow into a worse woman! You have no respect for your elders or for authority! You will surely end on the gallows as a public menace!"—Emma Goldman's childhood religion teacher A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and radical icon Emma Goldman's extraordinary life, this graphic biography embodies the richness and drama of Goldman's story in a wholly original way. A Dangerous Woman depicts the full sweep of a life lived to the hilt in the struggle for equality and justice. Emma Goldman was at the forefront of the radical causes of the twentieth century, from leading hunger demonstrations during the Great Depression—"Ask for work! If they do not give you work, ask for bread! If they do not give you work or bread, take the bread!"—to organizing a cloakmakers' strike, from lecturing on how to use birth control to fighting conscription for World War I, while her soulmate, Alexander Berkman, spent fourteen years in jail for his failed attentat against industrialist Henry Clay Frick. Sharon Rudahl's lovely, energetic illustrations bring Goldman's many facets and passions to new life; her work belongs with the critically acclaimed graphic nonfiction of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. Featuring a foreword by Alice Wexler, A Dangerous Woman is a marvelously compelling presentation of a woman devoted to revolutionizing her age.

30 review for A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz Yerby

    alright nerds, i haven't even finished this book, but i'm gonna go ahead and give it a low score. graphic biographies can be decent, but me and the author have some major issues in how we think politics should be represented. the most painful panels are comparing emma goldman to MLK as a great orator out of nowhere, and then emma goldman telling someone "let me explain the social factors behind your oppression" this book is reminding me why i don't trust and always get along with anarchists. the ar alright nerds, i haven't even finished this book, but i'm gonna go ahead and give it a low score. graphic biographies can be decent, but me and the author have some major issues in how we think politics should be represented. the most painful panels are comparing emma goldman to MLK as a great orator out of nowhere, and then emma goldman telling someone "let me explain the social factors behind your oppression" this book is reminding me why i don't trust and always get along with anarchists. the art and lettering is very meh to me, but the artist is clearly trying. know i'm like trapped angry-reading this because it upsets me so much.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paige

    2.5 I feel kind of bad giving this book such a "low" rating, especially since I think it was well done. I liked the art and I know more about Emma Goldman's life than I did before. So why only 2.5 stars? I think it has more to do with the format than anything. I've read one other graphic biography and encountered the same issues. That one--which about Karl Marx--was even shorter. I realize when you're condensing a life into about 100 illustrated pages, there is a lot you're going to have to cover 2.5 I feel kind of bad giving this book such a "low" rating, especially since I think it was well done. I liked the art and I know more about Emma Goldman's life than I did before. So why only 2.5 stars? I think it has more to do with the format than anything. I've read one other graphic biography and encountered the same issues. That one--which about Karl Marx--was even shorter. I realize when you're condensing a life into about 100 illustrated pages, there is a lot you're going to have to cover quickly, superficially, or not at all. Still, having big unexplained time jumps from one panel to the next, introducing people who are quickly shunted aside, and inserting single-panel developments leads to a reading experience that, for me, is a bit frustrating. "Hold on, what's happening? Who is this person? Wait where'd they go??" I thought to myself more than once. I understand that providing more context takes a whole lot more time when you're also drawing everything, though. The biggest problem with this book for me is that it doesn't really cover Emma Goldman's politics or opinions much at all. Most of my friends identify as anarchists of some stripe, and Emma Goldman comes up from time to time as a sort of historical woman badass. So I wanted to get more information. This book is big on Emma Goldman the woman, and not so big on Emma Goldman the political figure. The problem is, for me, is that I was interested in the latter and most people, I think, would not be interested in her biography if it weren't for her politics and the history she made due to her politics. So while I learned about Emma's family relations and many lovers, I felt like I got much less information on her political opinions, which is what I was actually interested in. Some of her positions were covered, don't get me wrong--but a lot of times, after reading an anecdote or story about her life, I would wonder why I'm supposed to care--why was she considered so dangerous anyway, and why do people a hundred years later still refer to her? What did she do? What did she think? What did she really care about? Sometimes, reading this, it was hard to tell. Maybe a biography is the wrong place to look for that information. I was also disappointed that there weren't any notes in the back, no bibliography, no sources or attributions for different events or quotes given, no further reading suggestions--it doesn't even say if it was based on her autobiography or what. I tend to be suspicious of "nonfiction" that doesn't credit its sources or offer clarifications. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this if you are already a fan of Ms. Goldman. If you're looking for more information about what made her tick, what motivated her, what her thoughts and positions were, either look elsewhere or use this as a starting point and expect that it won't answer all your questions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Another shocking hole in my education filled in through comics. The illustrations are evocative and layered, and the text is for the most part directly from Goldman's biography. I have 1 quibble and 1 observation. Quibble: sometimes the layout/sequence of the drawings is a little confusing, but that could be because I am an old woman. Observation: the author is a huge fan of Goldman; the book could never be said to present an unbiased view of her life. Nevertheless very, very worth reading, esp. Another shocking hole in my education filled in through comics. The illustrations are evocative and layered, and the text is for the most part directly from Goldman's biography. I have 1 quibble and 1 observation. Quibble: sometimes the layout/sequence of the drawings is a little confusing, but that could be because I am an old woman. Observation: the author is a huge fan of Goldman; the book could never be said to present an unbiased view of her life. Nevertheless very, very worth reading, esp. if like me you like learning about people but are easily bored by political ideology from the early 20th century.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meepelous

    I originally reviewed this when I was a fresh new baby booktuber in 2015, but I figured it was time to re-read and re-review this really inspiring biography that turned me onto such an interesting leftist figure. A Dangerous Woman was published September 30th 2007 by The New Press and apparently also in at least Turkish in 2010. The only warning, besides extreme awesomeness, is that there is some nudity. In case there was any doubt about it, Emma Goldman did have several sexual relationships and I originally reviewed this when I was a fresh new baby booktuber in 2015, but I figured it was time to re-read and re-review this really inspiring biography that turned me onto such an interesting leftist figure. A Dangerous Woman was published September 30th 2007 by The New Press and apparently also in at least Turkish in 2010. The only warning, besides extreme awesomeness, is that there is some nudity. In case there was any doubt about it, Emma Goldman did have several sexual relationships and this is dealt with in a very matter of fact way that does include some sexual scenes where people are clearly enjoying themselves. There's also two assassination attempts and one state sanctioned execution. While I didn't know that much about the creator before setting out to make this review, Sharon Rudahl is apparently also pretty coolio. According to lambiek and the women in comics wiki, Rudahl was an early contributor to underground comix in the 1970s and part of the collective that started Wommen's Comix in 1972. Rudahl's work has appeared in Wet Satin, Dope Comix, Bisarre Sex and Anarchy Comix. She also ID's as Jewish and according to Lilith was a homeschool parent. Flipping the box over, the official description is as follows. " A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and radical icon Emma Goldman's extraordinary life, this graphic biography embodies the richness and drama of Goldman's story in a wholly original way. A Dangerous Woman depicts the full sweep of a life lived to the hilt in the struggle for equality and justice. Emma Goldman was at the forefront of the radical causes of the twentieth century, from leading hunger demonstrations during the Great Depression—"Ask for work! If they do not give you work, ask for bread! If they do not give you work or bread, take the bread!"—to organizing a cloakmakers' strike, from lecturing on how to use birth control to fighting conscription for World War I, while her soulmate, Alexander Berkman, spent fourteen years in jail for his failed attentat against industrialist Henry Clay Frick." As I mentioned during the creator bio, Sharon Rudahl was part of the underground comix movement, and that seems fitting to my untrained eye just flipping through the art. It's certainly a bit word heavy, something I often found daunting. Obviously for this re-read my love of Emma Goldman made everything pretty easy to get through, but I feel like the page layout choices did help more then a little on my first read-through. Not a super easy to follow 101 sort of comic layout, I do feel like the dynamic framing and detailed drawings helped to give my ADHD brain details to flip to when my attention starts to wander. Gender, obviously, is something that comes up a lot in the book. Mostly implicitly, not so rah rah WOMEN explicitly. Emma's gender and sexuality were key to how she was able to move through the world and the different kinds of obstacles she had to overcome. Her critiques of the suffragette movement are pretty interesting, and important to know the context of in case some uppity member of the Manosphere ever tries to convince you that Emma was on their side. Some exciting examples of what she had to say on the subject of suffrage include. "The American suffrage movement has been, until very recently, altogether a parlor affair, absolutely detached from the economic needs of the people." "The poor, stupid, free American citizen! Free to starve, free to tramp the highways of this great country, he enjoys universal suffrage, and by that right, he has forged chains around his limbs. The reward that he receives is stringent labor laws prohibiting the right of boycott, of picketing, of everything, except the right to be robbed of the fruits of his labor." And to conclude. " Few countries have produced such arrogance and snobbishness as America. Particularly is this true of the American woman of the middle class. She not only considers herself the equal of man, but his superior, especially in her purity, goodness, and morality. Small wonder that the American suffragist claims for her vote the most miraculous powers. In her exalted conceit she does not see how truly enslaved she is, not so much by man, as by her own silly notions and traditions. Suffrage can not ameliorate that sad fact; it can only accentuate it, as indeed it does." Which I, and the few people who I have talked to on the subject, perceive to be fairly run of the mill anti voting sentiment of an anarchist and a critique of presenting women as a class of more moral and pure voters. Emma's sexuality was also pretty interesting. Apparently pretty straight, her practice of free love was still pretty revolutionary. An outspoken critique of marriage, Goldman was apparently an early critique of what we now call homophobia. Although the latter was highlighted more on her wikipedia profile and not so much inside this particular graphic biography. She had several male lovers throughout her life, with at least one later in life being much younger. I felt like Rudahl did a good job of differentiate each relationship, and didn't just brush over this aspect of Goldman's life in any way. While not explicitly disability representation, I did also appreciate the way in which Rudahl also highlighted the toll that Goldman's busy life had on her and others. There's at least once, if not twice, where Goldman becomes quite ill and must be nursed back to health by her sister. The imprisonment of a lover also has a deep and profound impact on both of them mentally and politically. It would be nice to see more, and I would not consider Goldman a disability icon, but there is something to say about pushing back against the idea that our heroes just go go go all the time and never need to rest. Another implicit and not super explicit idea, you kind of have to think about it on your own time, but race (or ethnicity, I am not sure if she would have been seen as white at the time or not) is also an important aspect of Emma Goldman's life. Emma Goldman is a Russian immigrant whose family fled from Russia due to antisemitism. Goldman faces barriers that she must creatively overcome because she is not a native english speaker. Doing some cursory web searching nothing is coming up for Goldman and race. General perception is she was against racism, although the social media is saying she did have strong negative feelings about Lucy Parsons. While it's always nice to think of the people we admire as perfect, I'm really glad to have done this thought process about the way Goldman did or did not react to different marginalizations. Lots of questions to keep in mind whenever I work up the concentration to engage with her work again and inspiration for more holes of representation I need to look into. And she certainly is not necessary for everyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Allie

    2.5 stars. I didn't really like this much at all. I think Emma Goldman is FASCINATING (though I disagree with many of her beliefs), but this as a graphic novel was not great. The pages were crammed (cramped!) with text and information to the point that it took me a very long time to get through it. Or maybe it just felt like a long time because reading each page was so labor intensive. The illustrations are so marvelous, but I just can't get over how much stuff was on each page. There was so much 2.5 stars. I didn't really like this much at all. I think Emma Goldman is FASCINATING (though I disagree with many of her beliefs), but this as a graphic novel was not great. The pages were crammed (cramped!) with text and information to the point that it took me a very long time to get through it. Or maybe it just felt like a long time because reading each page was so labor intensive. The illustrations are so marvelous, but I just can't get over how much stuff was on each page. There was so much cool information that I tracked down this documentary of her that was on American Experience. There was even so much info in the book that I caught a lil error in the documentary! Haha! Still, too much stuff on each page! Additionally this is one in a very annoying trend of graphic biographies/non-fiction that doesn't have a bibliography. The Author's Note says that almost everything is in her autobiography Living My Life, but I am sure there was more. It was certainly more deplorable in Superzelda, which had NOTHING in terms of works used/bibliography, but if either were a general non-fiction book that would be totally unacceptable! SHOW YOUR WORK, PEOPLE.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Griffin

    I wasn’t familiar with Emma Goldman (1869-1940) before reading A DANGEROUS WOMAN, the graphic biography (as opposed to a graphic novel) written and illustrated by Sharon Rudahl. This softcover book details her life from her birth in Russia, as an anarchist who traveled the world, the relationships she had, to her death at age 70. The biography is a good introduction to Goldman for adults. If they’re intrigued they might consider reading further about this strong-willed woman who championed birth I wasn’t familiar with Emma Goldman (1869-1940) before reading A DANGEROUS WOMAN, the graphic biography (as opposed to a graphic novel) written and illustrated by Sharon Rudahl. This softcover book details her life from her birth in Russia, as an anarchist who traveled the world, the relationships she had, to her death at age 70. The biography is a good introduction to Goldman for adults. If they’re intrigued they might consider reading further about this strong-willed woman who championed birth control yet was against the right to vote for women. Leaving Russia for the United States at age 15, Emma became an anarchist after the Haymarket Square bombing and traveled for most of her life as a great orator. She organized strikes, incited riots, spoke against patriotism, and was imprisoned several times. After her devotee Sasha Berkman was imprisoned for shooting an industrialist, she planned an ill-fated attempt to free him from prison. She published an anarchist magazine and worked many different jobs to pay for her travels and printing costs. Eventually she was deported but continued fighting for her beliefs. The author put a great deal of work in drawing Emma’s life. For a graphic book there is a lot of information packed into its 115 pages. As stated before, I think this is a good introduction to Emma Goldman’s life for older teens upwards. Personally I wouldn’t give it to a younger person as there are sexual scenes. I would recommend A DANGEROUS WOMAN to those who are interested in the history of anarchy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Rudahl's descriptive expository approach to Emma's story did not work for me; it seems her aim for this graphic biography was creation for the benefit of instruction--to teach the youth of today, which is perfectly fine. But to me the approach set a forced tone. I feel this could have been so much better had Rudahl taken another approach (e.g. telling the story from Emma directly or from the memory of Alexandar Berkman or niece Stella or from police files). The art--I like how Rudahl uses a vari Rudahl's descriptive expository approach to Emma's story did not work for me; it seems her aim for this graphic biography was creation for the benefit of instruction--to teach the youth of today, which is perfectly fine. But to me the approach set a forced tone. I feel this could have been so much better had Rudahl taken another approach (e.g. telling the story from Emma directly or from the memory of Alexandar Berkman or niece Stella or from police files). The art--I like how Rudahl uses a variety of different frames and image montages, and the composition of her work is very good--movement, balance, and perspective. However, I am not keen about her style, especially her inability to convey expression in characters' faces. Over and over the same wooden image of Emma Goldman. Characterizations of people, graphically-speaking are flat; the images of people often reminded me of maniquins. If you want to learn about Emma Goldman, I suggest reading her story in her own words, Living My Life, volumes 1&2.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amberly

    I have always been an ardent fan of Emma Goldman. She tirelessly fought for free speech, long before the ACLU, birth control before Margaret Sanger, women's rights before suffrage, and free love before the sixties. She was a clever firecracker who would never be silenced; somehow immune to what the world expected and wanted of her. A selfless friend and patron to prostitutes, homeless, the huddled masses and wage-slaves everywhere; she never shied away from hard labor or hard choices, whenever s I have always been an ardent fan of Emma Goldman. She tirelessly fought for free speech, long before the ACLU, birth control before Margaret Sanger, women's rights before suffrage, and free love before the sixties. She was a clever firecracker who would never be silenced; somehow immune to what the world expected and wanted of her. A selfless friend and patron to prostitutes, homeless, the huddled masses and wage-slaves everywhere; she never shied away from hard labor or hard choices, whenever she was thrown in jail, she shared everything she had with her fellow prisoners. She patently refused to yield, not only to The State, her varied lovers, and societal 'norms', but to compromising factions within various revolutionary movements. Her quest for human rights was fucking amazing and inspiring ... and this graphic novel brings it all home. ...oh, and she lectured to sold-out crowds and garnered attention from literary and cultural icons around the globe, many of whom clamored to be her comrade and lover ... but power and social prestige never mattered to her.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Claire LaPolt

    This is a graphic biography of the Jewish anarchist activist Emma Goldman, and it definitely fills a niche that was lacking in my history classes. It goes into detail about her upbringing, education, personal life, and travels while chronicling her political career. However, I found it a very slow read, mostly because the text-to-image ratio is just too high for a graphic novel in my opinion. Combine that with busy composition and black and white sketch-style art, and the result is a page spread This is a graphic biography of the Jewish anarchist activist Emma Goldman, and it definitely fills a niche that was lacking in my history classes. It goes into detail about her upbringing, education, personal life, and travels while chronicling her political career. However, I found it a very slow read, mostly because the text-to-image ratio is just too high for a graphic novel in my opinion. Combine that with busy composition and black and white sketch-style art, and the result is a page spread so cluttered that it is not pleasing to my eye.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    I really enjoyed this book--Rudahl's artwork is great, and weaved throughout the storyline are actual quotes from Goldman and her comrades. My only 'complaint' is that Rudahl condenses a LOT of history into a hundred pages, so I found it a bit confusing in places (which isn't an altogether bad thing...I just checked out Goldman's autobiography for clarification!).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Garrett Cook

    Want to know what to give every teenage girl on the planet for Christmas? Boom. You're welcome.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman is a biographical graphic novel written and illustrated by Sharon Rudahl with a forward by Alice Wexler and edited by Paul M. Buhle, and traces the life of Emma Goldman from her upbringing in the Soviet Union to her political activeness in the United States for the Anarchist Party. 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 A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman is a biographical graphic novel written and illustrated by Sharon Rudahl with a forward by Alice Wexler and edited by Paul M. Buhle, and traces the life of Emma Goldman from her upbringing in the Soviet Union to her political activeness in the United States for the Anarchist Party. 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 20th century. Born in Russia in 1869 at a time when women, particularly Jewish women, were to be downtrodden and not heard, Goldman lost no time upsetting the status quo with her voice and restless curiosity. After following her sisters to America, the newly married Goldman was just starting to learn about leftist politics when she became radicalized by the 1886 Haymarket bombing in Chicago, leading to more than a half-century's worth of nearly nonstop protesting, fiery speechmaking and organizing across North America and Europe, and even a few passionate affairs. A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman is written and constructed rather well. Rudahl's earnest admiration for Goldman and her refreshingly smart approach to the cause is clear in her excited artwork, all cramped frames and twirl-like action. All in all, A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman is a good biographical graphic novel about Emma Goldman – a political activist and writer for the anarchist party.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Sometimes I like to read something out of my comfort zone that I know nothing about. A Russian Jew, free lover, and anarchist in the 1800's definitely fits the bill. I didn't realize HOW FAR outside my comfort zone this was going to be. I have decided that if I had to live during a different time period, the late 1800's/early 1900's is definitely on my top five "NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT" list. I admire Emma's compassion for the less fortunate, and her devotion to her beliefs. That's...pretty much it. I' Sometimes I like to read something out of my comfort zone that I know nothing about. A Russian Jew, free lover, and anarchist in the 1800's definitely fits the bill. I didn't realize HOW FAR outside my comfort zone this was going to be. I have decided that if I had to live during a different time period, the late 1800's/early 1900's is definitely on my top five "NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT" list. I admire Emma's compassion for the less fortunate, and her devotion to her beliefs. That's...pretty much it. I'll be honest, this was a traumatizing on all levels. From personal decisions to global-political decisions, the trauma doth flow. I found this quote interesting to ponder with regards to free speech: "Free speech means NOTHING if it does not mean the freedom to say what others don't want to hear!"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucile Barker

    25. A dangerous woman: the graphic biography of Emma Goldman by Sharon Rudahl I have always been fascinated by Emma Goldman, (even naming a red Selectric IBM typewriter “Red Emma’), but I found this graphic biography a little too shallow. Goldman was told she was a terrible child, and I can relate to that so much. There was very little about her time in Canada, living on Spadina over United Bakers. The book didn’t reflect adequately on her brilliance and passion. Think I will get a proper biograp 25. A dangerous woman: the graphic biography of Emma Goldman by Sharon Rudahl I have always been fascinated by Emma Goldman, (even naming a red Selectric IBM typewriter “Red Emma’), but I found this graphic biography a little too shallow. Goldman was told she was a terrible child, and I can relate to that so much. There was very little about her time in Canada, living on Spadina over United Bakers. The book didn’t reflect adequately on her brilliance and passion. Think I will get a proper biography that is less oriented to her time in the U.S.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I continue to find graphic biographies to be a really satisfying and informative way to learn a lot about someone really quickly. This one is impeccably researched, full of detail and illustrative. Although it didn't have a bibliography I saw quickly that many of the quotes came directly from the writings of Emma Goldman and her comrades. If you are looking to learn about the life of Emma Goldman and quickly do not miss this book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Cornwall

    I've heard the name Emma Goldman before, but had no idea she lived such a strong and passionate life. Contains some adult themes and to me is an important alternate voice. I'm very grateful for her work in labor rights, free speech and contraception. At least in the opinion of the graphic novel's author, Ms Goldman really walked her talk.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reagan

    It's helpful to remember the world has been through upheaval before and revolutionaries have united people in their cause and fought and made progress and suffered and been disillusioned and grown and fought again and always remained true to themselves.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    It was hard to follow the order of the words and drawings. But it was very interesting to learn about her life and that time period.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Norwitz

    A quite good graphic biography of the famous anarchist writer and activist.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ken French

    Good overview of the great anarchist's life. The arrangement of the pictures and captions is a bit confusing sometimes, though.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James

    Emma Goldman is one of the big name names of American anarchists, as well as one of the earlier to contribute to free speech, birth control, and the labor movements. She was an amazing public speaker, something that is lost in this day of television and radio, and her writing still ranks amongst the classics of Anarchist thought for a free and just society. From her involvement in the shooting of Frick (though Alexander Berkman was a lousy shot) to free speech fights to labor struggles in Massac Emma Goldman is one of the big name names of American anarchists, as well as one of the earlier to contribute to free speech, birth control, and the labor movements. She was an amazing public speaker, something that is lost in this day of television and radio, and her writing still ranks amongst the classics of Anarchist thought for a free and just society. From her involvement in the shooting of Frick (though Alexander Berkman was a lousy shot) to free speech fights to labor struggles in Massachusetts to getting deported by Edgar Hoover, all the way to being amongst the first radicals to denounce the government of the Bolsheviks (which ostracized her amongst the left), and finally working to raise funds for the Spanish Revolutionary cause. She was jailed for fighting against the draft, advocating for birth control, and for “inciting a riot.” In a lot of ways, the stuff she said then was visionary for the time period. She remains one of the most amazing people in history, and someone who gave her all so others could be free and live in a just world. "Dangerous Woman: A Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman" can be best described as a graphic novel version of "Living My Life", and it’s a real treat. The artist, Sharon Rudahl, does a great job capturing Goldman’s turbulent and unique life, growing from a fiery Jewish peasant girl fleeing Russia to an active Anarchist speaker and organizer hated by the government, to the patron-saint of the American Anarchist movement, though small by the time of her death. She spares no detail, especially the parts about Emma’s sex life and her many partners over the years. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when she has been sent by her mentor, Johann Most, on a speaking tour “Against the 8 Hour Day” (it was too little and was too reformist and not revolutionary enough.) She encounters an older man in the Chicago stop of the tour who tells her that while he understands why young people would be impatient with small demands, but “I won’t live to see the revolution. Will I never have a little time for reading or to walk openly in the park?” After this encounter, Emma vowed never to let doctrine or ideology get in the way of a good fight that brought real change to real people’s lives. That’s a lesson that a lot of radicals then and now could learn and take to heart. Today, the closest we in the United States have to an Emma Goldman is academics in ivory towers, as loud mouth voices in the sea of state and corporate rule. The speaking tours of yesterday is the youtube, internet, music albums and television of today, which is much more controlled than speaking in public used to be, though less prone to violent disruption by people who disagree with the author. It’s hard to imagine a story like hers again where someone from such a humble beginning devotes her entire life, to the point where she refused to correct health problems like infertility, to the cause of fighting the existing order, and becoming such an international figure as she did. Maybe a new Emma Goldman of the internet or TV or music like hiphop will arise to become an inspiration to people’s movements everywhere, like Subcommader Marcos in Chiapas has, or elsewhere. It’s hard to say. Either way, check out Emma’s life in graphic novel comic form, because she’s a real life superhero in a way that Superman never could be.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Josephus FromPlacitas

    This was a decent survey of the life of one of my heroes, and certainly a lot easier to plow through than a thousand-page memoir. It did the job of conveying a biography and filling in a lot of life details in a brief, engaging way. But it did feel more like a job somehow, and not quite like a cohesive work of art, as in "Capital-A Art." I couldn't get over the feeling of how unfinished and cluttered the drawings felt. It did a great job of communicating events and the characters. Don't get me wr This was a decent survey of the life of one of my heroes, and certainly a lot easier to plow through than a thousand-page memoir. It did the job of conveying a biography and filling in a lot of life details in a brief, engaging way. But it did feel more like a job somehow, and not quite like a cohesive work of art, as in "Capital-A Art." I couldn't get over the feeling of how unfinished and cluttered the drawings felt. It did a great job of communicating events and the characters. Don't get me wrong--I know I'd never, ever be able to do as well. But the gray-washed tones, the anemically thin, single lines for noses or mouths, the wobbly feel of the art was distracting. It did a good job conveying information and tone and character, but it didn't move me. It's clear that every page had a ton of drafting and compositional work, but it somehow didn't appeal to my eye. I had the same feeling for the narrative. It was chronological, concise, clear, easy to follow...and somehow not entrancing. Now I'm reading Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography by Sabrina Jones, and it's a funny comparison. The story covers roughly the same time period, it also does the narrative labor of biography, and the art appears to be include roughly as much line work and similar page design. But it's much more trim. The fatter lines of Jones, ironically, give the story and art a much leaner feel! There's less explanation, less clutter, less mushiness to the look and narration of her book. This is only a stylistic complaint, not a complaint about substance. I guess I'm only saying that this wasn't a master work, which still leaves a lot of room for it to be good, but not great. The substance was strong and worthwhile, just not something I'd recommend to anyone who wasn't already interested in Red Emma anyway. (And who wouldn't be? You'd have to be boring and/or nuts not to want to know about the life and times of the most dangerous woman in America!)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    While I enjoyed the general subject matter of the book and loved learning more about anarcho-feminist Emma Goldman, there were some sticky points that bring me to only giving it three stars. First, let me say that Rudahl is a wonderful artist with a lovely style and obvious passion for the subject. However, this is the first graphic novel I've read that I found difficult to follow the flow. Generally speaking the pictures are supposed to lead you to the next frame, but I often got lost and found While I enjoyed the general subject matter of the book and loved learning more about anarcho-feminist Emma Goldman, there were some sticky points that bring me to only giving it three stars. First, let me say that Rudahl is a wonderful artist with a lovely style and obvious passion for the subject. However, this is the first graphic novel I've read that I found difficult to follow the flow. Generally speaking the pictures are supposed to lead you to the next frame, but I often got lost and found myself backtracking to get a missing piece from somewhere else but never finding it. The narrative structure was also confusing with small subplots interspersed and random depictions of everyday life. Looking back on this review, I feel I've been overly negative and if you are interested in Emma Goldman anarchism during this time period, this is a good place to start as opposed to Goldman's own 1000 page autobiography.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    What I like most about graphic novels is how the artist chooses to augment the story with his or her imagery. Whether it be by symbolism or just carefully constructed scenes. Dangerous Woman seemed to lack that purpose. It is primarily a crude pictorial sketch of Emma Goldman's life. Though I wasn't impressed with the form, it's quick. It's a comic so you don't have much time to really dwell on its flaws. And, to the author's credit, she strives for authenticity by supposedly quoting verbatim fro What I like most about graphic novels is how the artist chooses to augment the story with his or her imagery. Whether it be by symbolism or just carefully constructed scenes. Dangerous Woman seemed to lack that purpose. It is primarily a crude pictorial sketch of Emma Goldman's life. Though I wasn't impressed with the form, it's quick. It's a comic so you don't have much time to really dwell on its flaws. And, to the author's credit, she strives for authenticity by supposedly quoting verbatim from Goldman's speeches and autobiography. Goldman is well known for her anarchist beliefs. But what makes her most admirable is her willingness to carve out an existence in which to live out those beliefs. And this was in the early 1900's. An advocate for birth control, free love, experimental art; she was politically seditious (when one could actually be so) and a fervent individualist. I dig that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy VanGundy

    It's hard to articulate what I thought about this book. I'm not sure if I was turned off by the style of drawing which seemed very rough, crude, and edging on ugly to me or whether it was the person of Emma Goldman I was uncomfortable with. I was impressed by the way in which she lived her life which seems extraordinary for the times and social conditions she lived in. But I am sure that she would be a very uncomfortable person to meet face-to-face. Certainly opened my eyes to some new arenas of It's hard to articulate what I thought about this book. I'm not sure if I was turned off by the style of drawing which seemed very rough, crude, and edging on ugly to me or whether it was the person of Emma Goldman I was uncomfortable with. I was impressed by the way in which she lived her life which seems extraordinary for the times and social conditions she lived in. But I am sure that she would be a very uncomfortable person to meet face-to-face. Certainly opened my eyes to some new arenas of political and social thought. Would recommend people who are interested to have a look for themselves. It was unsettling to read, which maybe is a good thing to have happen from time to time. Hard to understand a woman not supporting the right for women to vote. Emma Goldman was certainly ahead of her time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    sweet pea

    although i love graphic memoir, i'm still not sure what i think about graphic biography. especially one which purports to tell an entire life (rather than a specific time period). mayhap the illustrations bring more people to the work? if that's the case, i don' think this graphic novel will do the trick. the illustrations, while adequate, are not appealing. throughout the book, i detest how emma's hair is drawn and the often disproportionately-drawn people. that said, there's a lot to be learne although i love graphic memoir, i'm still not sure what i think about graphic biography. especially one which purports to tell an entire life (rather than a specific time period). mayhap the illustrations bring more people to the work? if that's the case, i don' think this graphic novel will do the trick. the illustrations, while adequate, are not appealing. throughout the book, i detest how emma's hair is drawn and the often disproportionately-drawn people. that said, there's a lot to be learned in this book. for instance, i had never heard of Voltairine de Cleyre, a fiery american anarchist. so while i hope more people take the time to learn about emma goldman, i'm not so sure this work is the medium to get her history across.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Birss

    This is a great introduction to the life of anarchist Emma Goldman. Even better, the medium of comics combined with the genre of biography makes this a great introduction to the history and relationships within anarchist thought in the 20th century. By showing the books Goldman was reading, in Russian and in English, and the philosophies and lifestyles of those with whom she organized and otherwise related, the book puts together a concise and easily understood foundation for understanding the r This is a great introduction to the life of anarchist Emma Goldman. Even better, the medium of comics combined with the genre of biography makes this a great introduction to the history and relationships within anarchist thought in the 20th century. By showing the books Goldman was reading, in Russian and in English, and the philosophies and lifestyles of those with whom she organized and otherwise related, the book puts together a concise and easily understood foundation for understanding the roots of much of anarchist theory today. This may be especially true if one already has some familiarity with Kropotkin, Bakunin, Tolstoy, and Thoreau. If I had an anarchist distro, I would include this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    This was quick and entertaining. Plus, the sex scenes (taking place well into Emma's 50s) are brilliant—human, grotesque, ecstatic. This account of her life was actually kind of inspiring. It shows how fearlessness can create a great, memorable life, no matter how groping and sloppy the trip is. One thing that did strike me: the sheer number of people it took—from the random bohemian to the hardworking, responsible laborer to the enlightened rich—to keep this woman in lodging, food, lecture tour This was quick and entertaining. Plus, the sex scenes (taking place well into Emma's 50s) are brilliant—human, grotesque, ecstatic. This account of her life was actually kind of inspiring. It shows how fearlessness can create a great, memorable life, no matter how groping and sloppy the trip is. One thing that did strike me: the sheer number of people it took—from the random bohemian to the hardworking, responsible laborer to the enlightened rich—to keep this woman in lodging, food, lecture tours and lawyers. It just goes to show how unsustainable the world would be if everyone pursued a path like hers. What privilege. But she uses it for good, for the most part.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robert Wright

    A brief, interesting bio-comic that I picked up from the library as a change of pace. Interesting, but not amazing. Artistic style is not my favorite. I would have preferred something more realistic or expressionistic, rather than Rudahl's sketchy "underground" style. (Not quite sure that's a style itself, but the feel here is similar to what I get from the mileau of R. Crumb and those following in his footsteps.) Enjoyable read and the subject of the bio is not nearly well-known in pop culture to A brief, interesting bio-comic that I picked up from the library as a change of pace. Interesting, but not amazing. Artistic style is not my favorite. I would have preferred something more realistic or expressionistic, rather than Rudahl's sketchy "underground" style. (Not quite sure that's a style itself, but the feel here is similar to what I get from the mileau of R. Crumb and those following in his footsteps.) Enjoyable read and the subject of the bio is not nearly well-known in pop culture today, though she was infamous in her time. If, like me, you need a palate cleanser from your usual comics genre fare, this is a nice little read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emilia P

    Uck. Comics have the power to offer new, unique perspectives and interpretations. But the material for this came straight out of biographies and historical materials, and not in any particularly innovative way or with a unifying theme. Unless that theme was: agitate for agitation's sake without any real sense of the people you're agitating for, and oh yeah, isn't it neat that Emma Goldman had lots of lovers and got kicked out of some countries? I am sure there is an interesting biography of Emma Uck. Comics have the power to offer new, unique perspectives and interpretations. But the material for this came straight out of biographies and historical materials, and not in any particularly innovative way or with a unifying theme. Unless that theme was: agitate for agitation's sake without any real sense of the people you're agitating for, and oh yeah, isn't it neat that Emma Goldman had lots of lovers and got kicked out of some countries? I am sure there is an interesting biography of Emma Goldman, but this is not it.

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