An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre
by Paul Avrich Author and Robert P. Helms Foreword
When it was first published, An American Anarchist marked a trail historians of American anarchism are still following today. Narrative-driven like all of Paul Avrich’s works, it presents Voltairine de Cleyre and her fellow anarchists as complex human beings. De Cleyre (1866–1912) was the first prominent American-born anarchist. From her writings and speeches, through the illnesses that plagued her, the assassination attempt that left her clinging to life, to her early death at forty- five, she worked tirelessly for her ideal. Avrich places her squarely in her vibrant milieu, highlighting famous characters like Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman and the infamous, like Dyer D. Lum—Voltairine de Cleyre’s lover and the man who sneaked a dynamite cartridge into Louis Lingg’s cell so the accused Haymarket Martyr could die at his own hand and not the state’s. This edition includes a new introduction by historian Robert P. Helms.
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