Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary

Martin Duberman. New Press, $29.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-62097-585-5
Bancroft Prize winner Duberman (Luminous Traitor) delivers an exhaustive, intimate, and admiring biography of feminist writer and activist Andrea Dworkin (1946–2005). He details Dworkin’s upbringing by socially conscious Jewish immigrants in New Jersey, horrific mistreatment by male prison doctors after being arrested for protesting the Vietnam War, and abusive marriage to a Dutch anarchist before tracking her “meteoric” rise in the feminist movement beginning with the publication of Woman Hating in 1974. Duberman highlights Dworkin’s reputation as a passionate—and sometimes shocking—orator, and documents her struggles to gain acceptance from her peers and mainstream publishers. He also notes her concerns over race and class divisions within the feminist movement, ties her presentation of gender as a social construct to an early understanding of trans issues, and categorizes her antipornography crusade as a pushback against the power of systemic patriarchy. Duberman defends against claims that Dworkin considered all intercourse rape, and discusses her relationships with men and women without shoehorning her into a queer identity. Selections from Dworkin’s letters and autobiographical writings bring her own self-assessment into the picture, helping Duberman to push back against detractors who saw her as a one-note antisexuality crusader. Through this empathetic and approachable portrait, readers will develop a new appreciation for Dworkin’s “combative radicalism” and the lifelong, unsteady truce she made with the feminist mainstream. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/14/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-62097-586-2
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