Monday, December 10, 2012

Paul Avrich and Emma Goldman

"Before his death in 2006, Paul Avrich, a distinguished historian of anarchism, asked his daughter Karen, a writer and editor, to complete this book. The result is an account, at once densely detailed and lively, that traces the pair from their births in what is now Lithuania to their deaths in exile in the shadow of World War II. With generous contemporary accounts and Paul Av­rich’s interviews with anarchists and their children, as well as Berkman’s and Goldman’s extensive writings, the book draws readers into the lives of its characters."  When I was an undergraduate at AUB back in 1981, I corresponded with Paul Avrich, who was a historian at Queens College.  I was then obsessed with research about the Kronstadt rebellion and wanted to write my MA thesis and later my PhD on the subject (Hanna Batatu and Rashid Khalidi wisely discouraged me because I did not know Russian and AUB did not offer Russian classes).  Avrich wrote me back and was very helpful and I always admired his scholarship on anarchism.