Emma Goldman: Background information when reading Biography of X

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Biography of X

A Novel

by Catherine Lacey

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey X
Biography of X by Catherine Lacey
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  • Published:
    Mar 2023, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Emma Goldman

This article relates to Biography of X

Black-and-white photo portrait of Emma Goldman, seated with book against indistinct background In Biography of X, author Catherine Lacey imagines a world in which Russian-born anarchist and progressive activist Emma Goldman had a legitimate political career in the United States, serving as governor of Illinois and then chief of staff to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In this capacity, Goldman ushered in profound systemic change, attaching amendments for same-sex marriage, prison abolition and immigrants' rights to FDR's New Deal, a progressive trifecta that inspired the southern states to secede. Lacey's version of Goldman was assassinated in 1945.

The real-life Goldman was born in 1869 in Konvo, Lithuana, which was then part of the Russian Empire. She moved with her family to St. Petersburg in 1881, where she was exposed to the ideals of Russian revolutionaries. She carried these ideals with her when she emigrated to the United States in 1885, settling in Rochester, New York. She got a job in a garment factory and came to know many pro-labor socialist and ...

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