Sharon Presley on Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman


Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, the subjects of Paul and Karen Avrich's new double biography Sasha and Emma, were the two most prominent anarcho-communists of late 19th and early 20th century America. That is, they thought the state should be abolished but believed in communal ownership of the means of production. Individualist libertarians may not agree with their economic views, Sharon Presley notes in her review. But their ideas about the importance of individual liberty, their suspicion of the state, and a great deal of their activism should resonate, as should their efforts to expose the truth about the Bolshevik dictatorship in Russia. And the book itself is a scholarly triumph.