Living My Life
April 1, 1984
Raymond Starr, Book Reviews Editor
Living My Life: An Autobiography of Emma Goldman. by Emma Goldman. Reprint Edition. Salt Lake City. Gibbs M. Smith, Inc. 1982. Introduction. Index. 993 + xvi Pages. $11.95 Paper.
No woman’s name in the history of American radicalism is as well known as Emma Goldman’s. A leading figure in radical movements from the Haymarket Riots of 1887 until the late 1930s, she campaigned all over the country for many causes which were radical at the time-anarchism, labor organization, free love, birth control, free speech, women’s emancipation, to mention but a few. What makes all of this pertinent to San Diego is that she visited the city three times, in 1912, 1913 and 1915. In her recently reprinted autobiography, Living My Life, Goldman describes those three visits. The first involved the IWW riots, which she calls “a veritable civil war.” On her second visit, she was subject to vigilantes, incarceration and what amounted to deportation. According to her account, the third visit was much less stressful. The autobiography thus contains colorful and interesting material on San Diego history; the only problem is that a grossly inadequate index makes it hard to find. Beyond San Diego, the book is a lively account of the life of a strong, colorful and significant woman, and through her, a half century of radicalism in the United States.