Alexander Berkman was a twentieth-century American revolutionary. Like the abolitionist John Brown before him, Berkman was hugely idealistic, ready to go to the furthest extreme of self-sacrifice and violence on behalf of justice and civil rights. He decided to assassinate industrialist Henry Clay Frick after reading in the newspaper that Pinkertons hired by Frick had opened fire on the Homestead strikers, killing men, women, and children. Berkman’s bungled attempt cost him fifteen years in a federal penitentiary. Upon his release, he became an effective agitator against conscription and was again imprisoned and eventually deported to Russia, where he saw at first hand the early days of Bolshevism. Berkman’s writings remain a lasting and impassioned record of intense political transformation.
Featuring a new introduction by Howard Zinn, Life of an Anarchist contains Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, Berkman’s account of his years in prison; The Bolshevik Myth, his eyewitness account of the early days of the Russian Revolution; and The ABC of Anarchism, the classic text on the nature of anarchism in the twentieth century. Also included are a selection of letters between Berkman and his lifelong companion Emma Goldman, and a generous sampling from Berkman’s other publications.
About the Author
Alexander Berkman was a leading writer and participant in the 20th century Anarchist movement. The young, idealistic Berkman practiced "propaganda by deed" attempting to assassinate Henry Clay Frick during the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892. While imprisoned, he wrote the classic tale of prison life Prison Memoirs of and Anarchist. After his release, Berkman edited Emma Goldman's Mother Earth and his own paper The Blast!. Deported from New York City to his native Russia in 1919, were he saw first hand the failure of the Bolshevik revolution and dedicated himself to writing the classic primer on Anarchism, What is Anarchism?.
Gene Fellner is an activist and artist living in Jersey City, NJ, where he edits and illustrates the GLF Occasional. He has been a staff worker for the Attica Brothers Legal Defense and a founder of the Cold Type Organizing Committee. In 1987 he was named Distinguished Artist by the New Jersey State Council of the Arts.
Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a historian, playwright, and social activist. His many books include A People's History of the United States, which has sold more than two million copies.