cover image Eyes to the Wind: A Memoir of Love and Death, Hope and Resistance

Eyes to the Wind: A Memoir of Love and Death, Hope and Resistance

Ady Barkan. Atria, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-982111-54-0

Activist Barkan relates in this candid memoir how, after receiving a terminal illness diagnosis at age 32, he had to negotiate his failing body as his political star rose. In 2016, Barkan was diagnosed with ALS and given three to four years to live. Fueled by anger over his “outrageous” situation, he sought to leave a legacy for his baby son and wife. A lawyer at the Center for Popular Democracy, Barkan initially resumed work on Fed Up, a campaign to encourage the Federal Reserve to enact policies beneficial to working-class Americans, but soon pivoted to health care, “bird-dogging” members of Congress in visits to the Capitol. Barkan was wheelchair-bound by spring 2018 yet he embarked on a six-week cross-country tour in support of Democrats in the midterm elections (a sincere conversation with Arizona senator Jeff Flake about how a GOP tax plan would affect Medicare was captured in a video that went viral), ultimately sharing the stage with Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders. Throughout, Barkan weaves tales of law school and clerkships with insights into community organizing (a national movement led by a single person could “never approach the transformative political power that would be unleased by genuine mass movement of organized working-class people”). Barkan’s powerful narrative gives great insight into the nuts and bolts of political activism at work. [em](Sept.) [/em]