Peter Glassgold (ed.)
For a brief period of time in the early years of the twentieth century, Emma Goldman was a well known figure in American society. She did lecture tours, speaking to audiences on a variety of subjects deemed uncomfortable to mainstream society (such as self-governance, birth control, and a number of other topics) and she wrote quite a bit on these subjects as well. Beginning in 1906, Goldman began editing and publishing a journal for anarchist ideas and social commentary titled Mother Earth, which ran until 1917. Mother Earth was a fierce publication that eventually blazed out of existence amid its calls against the United States involvement in the first world war and the US Postal Service deemed the final issue inappropriate for distribution through the mails. Goldman and her work was also the frequent target of law enforcement, and she was often prevented from speaking to audiences by police and was ultimately deported from the United States (along with her partner and lover, Alexander Berkman) because the anti-conscription stance taken in Mother Earth was deemed treasonous under the Espionage Act.
Peter Glaasgold, a contemporary poet and writer, edited this anthology of materials that originally appeared in Mother Earth. His anthology is structured around topics (such as the definition of anarchism) rather than chronology, although many of the topics considered, such as the aforementioned discussion of World War One, or the later Russian Revolution, have a strong historical component that imposes itself on the structure of the book (these topics come up towards the end of the anthology, just as they occurred towards the end of the journal's existence). Glaasgold always includes a contextualizing statement with each item, thus placing the item into its historical-social setting, and into a history of Goldman's journal as well.
Much of Anarchy! is made up of material written by Goldman herself, however a number of other writers are featured as well. Alexander Berkman is included, of course, and the work of many other notable anarchist voices of the early twentieth century, such as Voltairine de Cleyre, Peter Kropotkin, Hippolyte Havel, and even the Russian novelist and thinker Leo Tolstoy. The book also includes a number of reproductions of some of the original covers of Mother Earth, including a couple by the great dada-Surrealist photographer Man Ray (one of which is featured on the anthology cover).
|One of Man Ray's covers|