Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel

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Basic Books, Sep 26, 2006 - Social Science - 549 pages
Set amidst the political upheaval of the McCarthy trials, the Vietnam War, and the rise of the women's movement, Intimate Politics is a courageous and uncompromising account of one woman's personal and political transformation, and a fascinating portrayal of a key chapter in our nation's history.
At eight years old, Bettina Aptheker watched her family's politics play out in countless living rooms across the country when her father, historian and U.S. Communist Party leader Herbert Aptheker, testified on television in front of the House on Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Born into one of the most influential U.S. Communist families whose friends included W. E. B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Bettina lived her parents' politics witnessing first-hand one of the most dramatic upheavals in American history. She also lived with a terrible secret: incest at the hands of her famous father and a frightening and lonely life lived inside a home wrought with family tensions.
A gripping and beautifully rendered memoir, Intimate Politics is at its core the story of one woman's struggle to still the demons of her personal world while becoming a controversial public figure herself. This is the story of childhood sexual abuse, abortion, sexual violence, activism, and the triumph over one's past. It's about FBI harassment and persecution, Jewish heritage, and lesbian identity. It is, finally, about the courage to speak one's truth despite the consequences and to break the sacred silence of family secrets.


Bearing Witness
A Childhood in Two Worlds
Upheavals in Berkeley
A Wedding a Trial and a War
Communist Life and the Movement to Free Angela Davis
Coming Out and Coming Home
An Opening of the Heart
Looking Forward

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About the author (2006)

Bettina F. Aptheker is professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has taught one of the country's largest and most influential introduction to feminist studies courses for twenty-four years. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her longtime partner, Kate Miller.

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