This expertly chosen collection features the most important writings from the turbulent last four years of Emma Goldman’s life. Vision on Fire is the perfect complement to her celebrated autobiography, Living My Life, and for those readers inspired by her powerful collection, Anarchism and Other Essays. David Porter reveals Goldman’s struggles with the contradictions of the Spanish Revolution and her efforts to maintain integrity and vision in the heat of political activism. Contemporary readers will find Vision on Fire a high-caliber history book as well as an honest depiction of the complex world of libertarian revolution.
As an official representative of the CNT-FAI during the revolution, Emma Goldman made three trips to Spain to observe first-hand the most thoroughgoing social revolution in history. Her selected writings not only chronicle the debates, fights, and revolutionary zeal of the Spanish Revolution, but provide a sophisticated dialogue concerning revolution and social change—a dialogue which activists will turn to again and again as we confront these same issues in our own times, under new circumstances. The thematic chapters include: The Spanish Anarchist Movement; The New Society; Collaboration with Statist Forces; Communist Sabotage of the Spanish Revolution; The International Context; Anarchists, Violence, and War; The Role of Women in the Spanish Revolution; Overall Assessments of the Spanish Revolution; and General Reflections on Anarchism and the Movement.
“Anyone interested in the history of the Left in the 20th century, anyone sensitive to the terrible drama of the Spanish Revolution, anyone who responds to the trenchant charm of Emma Goldman’s mind will welcome David Porter’s book.”—Ursula Le Guin
“Vision on Fire is a historical treasure, in which nuggets of personal and political comment in Emma Goldman’s letters are interspersed with Porter’s rich background notes. I found the book fascinating in what it reveals, not only about Emma Goldman and the ideas of anarchism, but also about the Spanish Revolution, and the lives of so many extraordinary individuals who participated at that time in the world-wide struggle for justice.”—Howard Zinn
“David Porter has assembled an invaluable sourcebook on this important phase of Emma Goldman’s life and thought that until now has been badly neglected.”—Alix Kates Shulman
“Emma Goldman described the efforts of Spanish workers and peasants to build and defend an anarchist society ‘with almost bare hands and every hindrance in their way’ as ‘an inspiration one cannot easily forget.’ It is a rare and intensely moving experience to witness, through her eyes, their constructive achievements and their travail, caught between the Fascist hammer and the Communist anvil, ignored or vilified by Western ‘progressives.’ In the material he has found and presented, and in his own informative and insightful commentary, David Porter has made a very significant contribution to the never-ending struggle for freedom and justice.”—Noam Chomsky