Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant

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9780465017546: Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant

Always innovative, often provocative, 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. Heartbreak reveals for the first time the personal side of Dworkin's lifelong journey as an activist and a 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, Dworkin 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.

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About the Author:

Andrea Dworkin was the co-author, with Catharine A. MacKinnon, of civil rights legislation recognizing pornography as legally actionable sex discrimination. She wrote eleven books, including Pornography, Heartbreak, and Scapegoat. She died in April 2005 in Washington, D.C. Ariel Levy is a contributing editor at New York magazine, and the author of Female Chauvinist Pigs. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers 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.

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