Words on Fire


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The Life and Writing of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

by Rosalyn Fraad Baxandall

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964) lead a long, illustrious, heroic life, which spanned the violent labor strife of the early 1900s, the repression of World War I, the depression of the 1930s, the militance of the World War II period, the jailings of the McCarthy years, and the activism of the early 1960s. As one of the greatest orators of her day, Flynn organized for the IWW, and led many of the Wobbly strikes, including the famous Lawrence, Paterson, and Passaic strikes. She also led many free speech battles (and spent a good amount of time in jail as a result) , was one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union, and at the time of her death was chair of the Communist Party of America. Words On Fire is both a biography and the first major collection of her writings. Baxandall, who contributes a long biographical introduction and conclusion, tells Flynn’s story, both personal and political. Her life intersected at various points with Sacco and Vanzetti, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Greenwich Village bohemians. Following a brief marriage to another Wobbly, she had affairs with Carlo Tresca, a leading anarchist who was assassinated in 1943, with many members of the Communist Party, and with Marie Equi, a radical physician. Her writings include analyses of strikes and class struggle, Wobbly speeches, views on women’s rights, and articles on housework and fashion, as well as love poems and letters describing the daily life, joys, and sorrows of a leftist organizer.

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Weight 1.13 oz


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