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Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years 1960-1975

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In 1968, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz became a founding member of the early women's liberation movement. Along with a small group of dedicated women, she produced the seminal journal series, No More Fun and Games. Her group, Cell 16 occupied the radical fringe of the growing movement, considered too outspoken and too outrageous by mainstream advocates for women's rights. Dunbar-Ort In 1968, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz became a founding member of the early women's liberation movement. Along with a small group of dedicated women, she produced the seminal journal series, No More Fun and Games. Her group, Cell 16 occupied the radical fringe of the growing movement, considered too outspoken and too outrageous by mainstream advocates for women's rights. Dunbar-Ortiz was also a dedicated anti-war activist and organizer throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During the war years she was a fiery, indefatigable public speaker on issues of patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism, and racism. She worked in Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade, and formed associations with other revolutionaries across the spectrum of radical and underground politics, including the SDS, the Weather Underground, the Revolutionary Union, and the African National Congress. But unlike the majority of those in the New Left—young white men from solidly middle-class suburban families—Dunbar-Ortiz grew up poor, female, and part-Indian in rural Oklahoma, and she often found herself at odds not only with the ruling class but also with the Left and with the women's movement. Dunbar-Ortiz's odyssey from dust-bowl poverty to the urban radical fringes of the New Left gives a working-class, feminist perspective on a time and a movement which forever changed American society. "Roxanne Dunbar gives the lie to the myth that all New Left activists of the 60s and 70s were spoiled children of the suburban middle classes. Read this book to find out what are the roots of radicalism—anti-racist, pro-worker, feminist—for a child of working-class Okie background."—Mark Rudd, SDS, Columbia University strike leader Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian and professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Hayward. She is the author of Red Dirt: Growing up Okie, The Great Sioux Nation, and Roots of Resistance, among other books.


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In 1968, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz became a founding member of the early women's liberation movement. Along with a small group of dedicated women, she produced the seminal journal series, No More Fun and Games. Her group, Cell 16 occupied the radical fringe of the growing movement, considered too outspoken and too outrageous by mainstream advocates for women's rights. Dunbar-Ort In 1968, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz became a founding member of the early women's liberation movement. Along with a small group of dedicated women, she produced the seminal journal series, No More Fun and Games. Her group, Cell 16 occupied the radical fringe of the growing movement, considered too outspoken and too outrageous by mainstream advocates for women's rights. Dunbar-Ortiz was also a dedicated anti-war activist and organizer throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During the war years she was a fiery, indefatigable public speaker on issues of patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism, and racism. She worked in Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade, and formed associations with other revolutionaries across the spectrum of radical and underground politics, including the SDS, the Weather Underground, the Revolutionary Union, and the African National Congress. But unlike the majority of those in the New Left—young white men from solidly middle-class suburban families—Dunbar-Ortiz grew up poor, female, and part-Indian in rural Oklahoma, and she often found herself at odds not only with the ruling class but also with the Left and with the women's movement. Dunbar-Ortiz's odyssey from dust-bowl poverty to the urban radical fringes of the New Left gives a working-class, feminist perspective on a time and a movement which forever changed American society. "Roxanne Dunbar gives the lie to the myth that all New Left activists of the 60s and 70s were spoiled children of the suburban middle classes. Read this book to find out what are the roots of radicalism—anti-racist, pro-worker, feminist—for a child of working-class Okie background."—Mark Rudd, SDS, Columbia University strike leader Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a historian and professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Hayward. She is the author of Red Dirt: Growing up Okie, The Great Sioux Nation, and Roots of Resistance, among other books.

30 review for Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years 1960-1975

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    I felt like I was in a fog the whole time I was reading this book. I am not sure but I think that was because Dunbar-Ortiz did a good job of giving enough context for what was happening in her life from 60-75, that I as someone who wasn't alive during those years could get a little lost, lose my bearings, especially when I tried to compare those times to these. The book made 60-75 seem like a very crazy time; and made me wonder why right now does not feel as crazy. The thing that I liked most abo I felt like I was in a fog the whole time I was reading this book. I am not sure but I think that was because Dunbar-Ortiz did a good job of giving enough context for what was happening in her life from 60-75, that I as someone who wasn't alive during those years could get a little lost, lose my bearings, especially when I tried to compare those times to these. The book made 60-75 seem like a very crazy time; and made me wonder why right now does not feel as crazy. The thing that I liked most about the book was how honest the author was about her own uncertainty about positions she took and choices she made. It was helpful to read on the one page that she was completely certain about an idea and then ten pages later that she was critical of it. That the author made decisions that seemed crazy and then would make a very different decision a few pages later. From what I have read and heard of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz today, she is pretty inspiring as a thinker and social change agent. It reminded me that none of us have to have it all figured out at anyone moment, that we get to keep figuring things out the best we can, acting on that understanding to the best of our ability, and learn and re-evaluate, and then act on the that understanding.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    A follow-up to Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie, Outlaw Woman covers Dunbar-Ortiz's life as a radical. I loved reading this so much - I often feel lonely in Oklahoma, without a lot of political shared reality. This memoir is hauntingly honest, and makes me want to return to read more of her work. When I first moved to Norman in 2007 she was speaking on campus, and she said something very smart about the question of "legality" when it comes to immigrants. That is to say, let's talk about the legality of A follow-up to Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie, Outlaw Woman covers Dunbar-Ortiz's life as a radical. I loved reading this so much - I often feel lonely in Oklahoma, without a lot of political shared reality. This memoir is hauntingly honest, and makes me want to return to read more of her work. When I first moved to Norman in 2007 she was speaking on campus, and she said something very smart about the question of "legality" when it comes to immigrants. That is to say, let's talk about the legality of United States rule of stolen lands, and the ignored treaties of the 1880s. Perhaps ironically, I stumbled onto this book in the biography section of the OU library, where I was looking up "Composing a Life" by Mary Catherine Bateson, a decidedly different kind of "women's" memoir that I had been assigned to me at a professional conference. Reading Bateson's text is like sitting in an uncomfortable chair at a seminar table of driven, ambitious academic feminists. Reading Dunbar-Ortiz is like sitting on a milk crate in a circle of driven, ambitious materialist feminists. I am neither driven nor ambitious, and I prefer cozy couches to the struggle. But I do like to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Wren

    A few short passages from this amazing book: These are the worst male chauvinists I have ever encountered, and they are supposedly leftist radicals. After being called a “bird” for the hundredth time, I told a fellow to fuck off at a party last week – caused an awful scene, really. I have started calling men “bats” – it has caught on rather well. It took several days for Flo to arrange the meeting with Valerie [Solanas], so T-Grace took me to women’s meetings in New York and introduced me to dozen A few short passages from this amazing book: These are the worst male chauvinists I have ever encountered, and they are supposedly leftist radicals. After being called a “bird” for the hundredth time, I told a fellow to fuck off at a party last week – caused an awful scene, really. I have started calling men “bats” – it has caught on rather well. It took several days for Flo to arrange the meeting with Valerie [Solanas], so T-Grace took me to women’s meetings in New York and introduced me to dozens of women’s liberation activists: some reformists, some radicals, some extremists. One was a young lesbian biologist who avidly supported Valerie, whom she took quite literally. She was researching viruses, hoping to identify a fatal one that would attack males only. She said that once males were eradicated, she planned to introduce chemical reproduction without sperm. Furthermore, women would no longer carry the fetus; rather, the process would take place in the laboratory. She chatted about this idea as if she were discussing the weather. Now I understood what Stokely Carmichael had meant when he said that young black militants in Chicago had called him “Uncle Tom.” When I challenged the young woman, she called me a “daddy’s girl,” Valerie’s term for male-identified women. Police surveillance and infiltration would only grow worse. More than half the fugitive’s on the FBI’s most wanted list were charged with politically motivated crimes. There were so many agent provocateurs and informers that it was thought that half the membership of some organizations were infiltrators. Even the alternative literary presses and moderate antiwar and peace groups were not exempt. The FBI, using provocateurs, was also partly responsible for the violent direction the movement was taking. Inexplicable suicides and accidental deaths were being reported among former participants of the Venceremos Brigades. In the growing atmosphere of surveillance and danger, the necessity to develop a clandestine structure began to seem like the only way to continue our work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Craig Werner

    Fierce and uncompromising, Dunbar-Ortiz tracks her personal and political journeys through the "long sixties." It's a story of awakening, breaking free, exploring options, making mistakes, self-criticism and, above all, unwavering commitment to the liberation of women, working class people, and the vast number of communities--domestic and international--struggling to live with dignity under the capitalist system. There are times--quite a few of them--when I was irritated with Dunbar-Ortiz's self Fierce and uncompromising, Dunbar-Ortiz tracks her personal and political journeys through the "long sixties." It's a story of awakening, breaking free, exploring options, making mistakes, self-criticism and, above all, unwavering commitment to the liberation of women, working class people, and the vast number of communities--domestic and international--struggling to live with dignity under the capitalist system. There are times--quite a few of them--when I was irritated with Dunbar-Ortiz's self-righteous tone, but I usually backed away from the initial response, putting it in the context of her own struggle--she *had* to be fierce to survive, and of the politics of a time when ideological correctness was seen not just as a necessity but as a virtue. It's not particularly well written--too many abstractions and jump cuts (which to some degree mirror her life). But it's useful, which I'm sure was her primary intent; she cites Marge Piercy's great poem "To Be of Use" as one of her inspirations. For those who didn't live through the time, Outlaw Woman gets the *feel* of radical politics right; in retrospect, mistakes were made, but they stemmed from impulses that remain legitimate. If you don't know the difference between the Revolutionary Union, the Socialist Labor Party, the Weathermen, or "political" and "cultural" feminists, this is an excellent place to start.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz makes history come alive while telling her story of left activism embued with a strong working class orientation, feminism, and commitment to internationalism. I found this book in the bibliography at the end of Dan Berger's book "Outlaws of America." Dunbar-Ortiz writes on page 251: I clearly stated what I thought then, and still think: I am a Marxist and a revolutionary and I don't believe that has to be contradictory to women's liberation. It is a given that women will not be Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz makes history come alive while telling her story of left activism embued with a strong working class orientation, feminism, and commitment to internationalism. I found this book in the bibliography at the end of Dan Berger's book "Outlaws of America." Dunbar-Ortiz writes on page 251: I clearly stated what I thought then, and still think: I am a Marxist and a revolutionary and I don't believe that has to be contradictory to women's liberation. It is a given that women will not be liberated under capitalism. No one will.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sezín Koehler

    A sort of sequel to "Red Dirt," that then delves into Roxanne's history as a women's liberation activist and revolutionary. I never knew that Roxanne and I share a love for Valerie Solanas, founder of the Society for Cutting Up Men and author of the brilliantly irreverant "SCUM Manifesto." Yet, once again, I was so reminded of my own mother's history as an activist and I really hope that one day she'll write out her experience of these war years and beyond. A sort of sequel to "Red Dirt," that then delves into Roxanne's history as a women's liberation activist and revolutionary. I never knew that Roxanne and I share a love for Valerie Solanas, founder of the Society for Cutting Up Men and author of the brilliantly irreverant "SCUM Manifesto." Yet, once again, I was so reminded of my own mother's history as an activist and I really hope that one day she'll write out her experience of these war years and beyond.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Burton-Rose

    One of my favorite memoirs of the '70s. I particularly appreciate the perspective of a militant who considered the guerrilla option but pulled back just in time. One of my favorite memoirs of the '70s. I particularly appreciate the perspective of a militant who considered the guerrilla option but pulled back just in time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    of dunbar-ortiz's three sequential memoirs, i liked this one the best. probably because it felt the most like she was just writing about everything that happened & not trying quite so hard to prove a point. there is a bit of point-proving in here (like the way she builds up her opposition to the vietnam war--why can't she just give it a rest & let her books speak for themselves?), but it's fairly minimal. the book opens with her youthful marriage disintegrating in california & roxanne deciding s of dunbar-ortiz's three sequential memoirs, i liked this one the best. probably because it felt the most like she was just writing about everything that happened & not trying quite so hard to prove a point. there is a bit of point-proving in here (like the way she builds up her opposition to the vietnam war--why can't she just give it a rest & let her books speak for themselves?), but it's fairly minimal. the book opens with her youthful marriage disintegrating in california & roxanne deciding she wants to be free of it & pursue a college degree. she starts attending university of california in berkeley & gets divorced right around the same time that the free speech movement stuff was happening on the berkeley campus, which leads her into anti-war activism, which leads her into feminism (due to the anti-war movement & the new left in general being pretty macho & uncool on the lady front). a good chunk of this book is about her realizing the huge impact that sexism has played in her life, how a burgeoning feminist consciousness helped her leave her marriage & finish school, etc etc. she kind of wastes a lot of time chastising other political movements for their lack of a feminist consciousness. dude, we know. that's why the second wave got going. i mean, it's not that she's not making a valid point. it just has this beating-a-dead-horse air to it, you know? & then when she gets into the petty (& occasionally not-so-petty) in-fighting among various feminists & radical women...for pete's sake. no wonder the ERA didn't pass. okay, maybe that's not fair. it's just that i get sick of every dunbar-ortiz memoir having an axe to gring against some other prominent political peer. it really just comes across as a bunch of petty jealousy that you'd thing she would have gotten over in the last thirty years. in this one, she lays into cathy wilkerson & accuses her of threatening members of roxanne's feminist collective. cathy wilkerson addresses this in her own memoir & says that she did no such thing & thinks it was an FBI trick. which, it probably was. roxanne was just so quick to point fingers. it bugged me. nonetheless, i'm glad i read it. very interesting stuff.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sharmeen

    4I read this book while I was traveling in Cuba this year, so it was the perfect companion of an autobiography of a feminist and revolutionary who went on the 3rd Venceremos brigade in Cuba and went through various struggles to make revolutionary work forefront in her life. My main problem with the book is that while she writes quite objectively about her failures, the mistakes she has made, there is very little writing on real critical analysis of these mistakes. One disturbing trend is her inv 4I read this book while I was traveling in Cuba this year, so it was the perfect companion of an autobiography of a feminist and revolutionary who went on the 3rd Venceremos brigade in Cuba and went through various struggles to make revolutionary work forefront in her life. My main problem with the book is that while she writes quite objectively about her failures, the mistakes she has made, there is very little writing on real critical analysis of these mistakes. One disturbing trend is her involvement in radical feminist work and yet, her constant return to abusive controlling men. She writes of the irony, but little detail as to what was going on for her politically. I sometimes felt that perhaps she was jumping from issue to issue based on the romantic image of the movements rather than an articulation of what they meant to her. She glossed over some important contradictions such as how the women's movement did not include women of colour and how she dealth with these contradictions. But with these contradictions and her honesty with her various journeys, this book was incredibly moving and inspiring for the reason that she does situate herself as a martyr or a hero. Although I was left more with questions. This is an accessible and engaging political autobiography with a lot of history and perspective. What I really appreciated was her writing on mass movement mobilizations with an internationalist perspective and how she dealt with the contradictions with various organizations, including some good pokes at the Weather Underground. Plus, it was an alternative read of the radical socialist organizing during the 60s and 70s that does not romanticize the tactics nor gloss over the failures. Probably most helpful were her excerpts of various revolutionary documents to contextualize her organizing. I look forward to reading her other books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    NOLaBookish aka blue-collared mind

    I have passed this name in more than a few 60s history, but not much detail except passages like " this seemed to be the outlook of radical feminists like Roxane Dunbar" etc etc. So, when I saw this on the shelf in Iron Rail in our excellent biography section, I was delighted to find it. Read it in a day, thought she got the high points-her evolution to Cell 16, her move to a more serious anti-establishment outlook and life lived among those historical events. I had no idea that she stationed hers I have passed this name in more than a few 60s history, but not much detail except passages like " this seemed to be the outlook of radical feminists like Roxane Dunbar" etc etc. So, when I saw this on the shelf in Iron Rail in our excellent biography section, I was delighted to find it. Read it in a day, thought she got the high points-her evolution to Cell 16, her move to a more serious anti-establishment outlook and life lived among those historical events. I had no idea that she stationed herself in New Orleans for the most radical period (and I am sure it seemed where better to amass caches of guns than in a third world city forgotten by America, even then?) The New Orleans stuff rings very true, so I am willing to buy the rest as a practical retelling of a activist's time in history, and one that I hope more newer versions of her take the time to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan Straughan

    This was an absolutely eye-opening book. I especially appreciated how straightforward the author was about her memories, she rarely provided analysis or explained how her thoughts had changed past the years the memoir covered. This allowed me to feel more immersed in the history and place this story in my own context. I'm embarrassed to say I was surprised over and over reading this book. I think my privileged millennial mind glossed over this era with a "activists in this time were heroes, lead This was an absolutely eye-opening book. I especially appreciated how straightforward the author was about her memories, she rarely provided analysis or explained how her thoughts had changed past the years the memoir covered. This allowed me to feel more immersed in the history and place this story in my own context. I'm embarrassed to say I was surprised over and over reading this book. I think my privileged millennial mind glossed over this era with a "activists in this time were heroes, leaders, etc." and never understood the complexities or specifics of organizing these movement. This was a thought-provoking read and will certainly cause me to consider history more thoroughly when crafting my own beliefs and actions as they relate to justice and activism.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ryan bears

    this was my first read during my first month/winter in pdx. i enjoyed reading this book. and it reads really fast. but a memoir offers the ability to reflect and i don't see alot of that in this book. two examples: first, when rita mae brown challenges dunbar as non inclusive of lesbians, dunbar doesnt really know what to say. which, when it happened, could be understandable. she was on the spot. but this is after the fact, why not acknowledge or engage rita mae brown's critiques. dunbar never do this was my first read during my first month/winter in pdx. i enjoyed reading this book. and it reads really fast. but a memoir offers the ability to reflect and i don't see alot of that in this book. two examples: first, when rita mae brown challenges dunbar as non inclusive of lesbians, dunbar doesnt really know what to say. which, when it happened, could be understandable. she was on the spot. but this is after the fact, why not acknowledge or engage rita mae brown's critiques. dunbar never does. second, if it was so important for dunbar to 'go underground.' why not take some time to explain what you saw in the underground and how that change significantly. lots of good cali history from the 60's to 70's

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Very candid and honest. This autobiography is "part 2" of a three book series by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This installment follows her awakening to feminism, involvement with militant organizations in the 60's and 70's and work up until the end of the U.S. occupation in Vietnam in 1975. An excellent and well documented work highlighting the activities of revolutionary organizations by a participant. The author has a very descriptive and honest retelling and recounts her own mistakes without shame o Very candid and honest. This autobiography is "part 2" of a three book series by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This installment follows her awakening to feminism, involvement with militant organizations in the 60's and 70's and work up until the end of the U.S. occupation in Vietnam in 1975. An excellent and well documented work highlighting the activities of revolutionary organizations by a participant. The author has a very descriptive and honest retelling and recounts her own mistakes without shame or self judgement. Excellent!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allee

    Really enjoyed this, devoured it in a couple days. Memoir traces Dunbar-Ortiz getting 'woke', as the kids would call it these days, and increasingly radicalized throughout the 60s and 70s. It felt very pertinent to where I'm at right now. Kind of depressing in the way that a lot of the shit they were figuring out then is still being figured out now (how to make mainstream feminism actually inclusive of all womens concerns rather than a province of white women, for example), and I felt like I rec Really enjoyed this, devoured it in a couple days. Memoir traces Dunbar-Ortiz getting 'woke', as the kids would call it these days, and increasingly radicalized throughout the 60s and 70s. It felt very pertinent to where I'm at right now. Kind of depressing in the way that a lot of the shit they were figuring out then is still being figured out now (how to make mainstream feminism actually inclusive of all womens concerns rather than a province of white women, for example), and I felt like I recognized a lot of the issues she was struggling through. Recommend to my fellow awakening women.

  15. 5 out of 5

    World Literature Today

    "Dunbar-Ortiz’s Outlaw Woman is an essential read for anyone on the periphery of society who yearns to resist the status quo. It is an even more crucial read for the privileged who may wonder what a commitment to a pluralist feminist politics entails." - Danielle Harden, University of Oklahoma This book was reviewed in the March 2015 issue of World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our website: http://bit.ly/1F5rzx2 "Dunbar-Ortiz’s Outlaw Woman is an essential read for anyone on the periphery of society who yearns to resist the status quo. It is an even more crucial read for the privileged who may wonder what a commitment to a pluralist feminist politics entails." - Danielle Harden, University of Oklahoma This book was reviewed in the March 2015 issue of World Literature Today. Read the full review by visiting our website: http://bit.ly/1F5rzx2

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Shourd

    Roxanne is a powerful example of the 60s-70s radical feminist movement in this country. This autobiography reads like a novel and makes me hungry for more of this obscured history. Interesting to examine how the women's movement has changed, then it was brave and sensational act to cut one's hair on television, it was almost too easy to be revolutionary. Now, the face of femininity has changed but women choose to sell-out to get political power. Roxanne is a powerful example of the 60s-70s radical feminist movement in this country. This autobiography reads like a novel and makes me hungry for more of this obscured history. Interesting to examine how the women's movement has changed, then it was brave and sensational act to cut one's hair on television, it was almost too easy to be revolutionary. Now, the face of femininity has changed but women choose to sell-out to get political power.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    Though a memoir, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz' Outlaw Woman roots autobiography in political context, widening the frame and scope of the book. Not only does Dunbar-Ortiz engage in some pretty cool actions (and other ones in which she later is not happy she participated), she exposes inner workings of radical activist movements with great insights that are relevant to dynamics in current activist scenes. Though a memoir, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz' Outlaw Woman roots autobiography in political context, widening the frame and scope of the book. Not only does Dunbar-Ortiz engage in some pretty cool actions (and other ones in which she later is not happy she participated), she exposes inner workings of radical activist movements with great insights that are relevant to dynamics in current activist scenes.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Muna

    In Greek the word for truth, "alethia", is not the opposite of "lie" as one would expect, but of "lethe", which means forgetting. So truth is unforgetting. "It is essential that we 'un-forget' these things as we engage in present in future struggles. We must tell ourselves and our children and our children's children our stories of the war years...." In Greek the word for truth, "alethia", is not the opposite of "lie" as one would expect, but of "lethe", which means forgetting. So truth is unforgetting. "It is essential that we 'un-forget' these things as we engage in present in future struggles. We must tell ourselves and our children and our children's children our stories of the war years...."

  19. 4 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    This book takes up where Red Dirt left off. This story is more radical and political, all about Roxanne's work in the women's liberation movement and the time she spent underground. Also an excellent, engaging read. This book takes up where Red Dirt left off. This story is more radical and political, all about Roxanne's work in the women's liberation movement and the time she spent underground. Also an excellent, engaging read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James Tracy

    Start with Personal Politics and then read this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This gave me a whole new insight into the history of women's liberation and radical politics. This gave me a whole new insight into the history of women's liberation and radical politics.

  22. 5 out of 5

    wheels

    i am grateful to learn from our elders about resisitance, repression, and long haul struggle.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Fasching-Gray

    Instead of clear-eyed hindsight, Dunbar-Ortiz drops right in it: Exciting, frustrating, and at times terrifying. Even as she gets involved in some pretty foolish situations, her intellect comes blazing through. One strange thing that I enjoy reflecting on: If Diane Arbus hadn't photographed Dunbar-Ortiz, would she have faced as much COINTELPRO hell? The whole thing about "stars" in the Women's Liberation movement takes on a decidedly more threatening character in this memoir. Have you ever had a f Instead of clear-eyed hindsight, Dunbar-Ortiz drops right in it: Exciting, frustrating, and at times terrifying. Even as she gets involved in some pretty foolish situations, her intellect comes blazing through. One strange thing that I enjoy reflecting on: If Diane Arbus hadn't photographed Dunbar-Ortiz, would she have faced as much COINTELPRO hell? The whole thing about "stars" in the Women's Liberation movement takes on a decidedly more threatening character in this memoir. Have you ever had a frustrating conversation with an RCP member, like, you are trying to have a conversation, but they are just trying to recite the correct bit of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist analysis from memory to fit whatever issue you've raised? Dunbar-Ortiz reveals some of the weirdness in that group's origins... Avakian and other radicals and reformers as well as Dunbar-Ortiz herself do not sail through this book coming out like saints. When people are jerks or are downright dangerous, she doesn't flinch. This book would benefit from an index. It would be nice to be able to easily flip back to pages where certain other activists or activist groups are mentioned, or certain locations as she road trips around the country and the "underground." Because Dunbar-Ortiz doesn't pretend to have all the answers, I think this would make an excellent book club choice.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chad Montabon

    It is over-long, at 400+ pages, for what you get. It reminded me of another 'over-long' book, 'A Taste of Power' be Elaine Brown who briefly headed the Black Panther party, but found a way to put herself as the hero of the whole movement. Dunbar-Ortiz story starts off with her leaving a family that she started too young. She mentions her daughter only a few times. Her first husband, 'Jimmy' gets the treatment, but to this reader he comes off as a saint. There is a lot of name dropping, but ultimat It is over-long, at 400+ pages, for what you get. It reminded me of another 'over-long' book, 'A Taste of Power' be Elaine Brown who briefly headed the Black Panther party, but found a way to put herself as the hero of the whole movement. Dunbar-Ortiz story starts off with her leaving a family that she started too young. She mentions her daughter only a few times. Her first husband, 'Jimmy' gets the treatment, but to this reader he comes off as a saint. There is a lot of name dropping, but ultimately Mrs. Dunbar-Ortiz was not all that committed. She did earn multiple degrees and was temporarily 'under-ground', but other than likely making a threat against Spiro Agnew this 'militant' didn't actually do much. It would be good if potential students at San Francisco State College could read this before taking her class, but ultimately that would be a lot to ask. It does read well in the final third of the book, but mostly it is dull (not reflective of the MFA she earned.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marek Eby

    Should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand US radicalism in the 1960s or (indirectly) its reflections and aftermaths today

  26. 5 out of 5

    Augustus

  27. 5 out of 5

    Raphaele

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bart

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen Roundtree

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