A Dangerous Woman

The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman

The anarchist and radical hero Emma Goldman, brought to vivid life in a graphic biography by an acclaimed artist with a foreword by Alice Wexler

“You are a terrible child and will grow into a worse woman! You have no respect for your elders or for authority! You will surely end on the gallows as a public menace!” —Emma Goldman’s childhood religion teacher

The revolutionary activist, speaker, writer, and feminist Emma Goldman is perhaps the world’s most famous anarchist and a legend among the left, best known for her public speeches from the Gilded Age through the Progressive Era and onward. Those who know her and those who don’t will be equally enthralled by A Dangerous Woman—and by how remarkably it captures the life of “Red Emma,” whose amazing legacy includes her multivalent presence in modern history.

Immigrating to America as a teenager, Emma Goldman quickly experienced firsthand the inhumane working conditions she would oppose for the rest of her life. Radicalized by the Haymarket martyrs, she moved to New York City and found revolutionary comrades—including her soulmate, Alexander Berkman. She was jailed three times: for “inciting a riot,” teaching contraception, and fighting conscription for World War I. Although forced to go underground after the anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated President William McKinley, Goldman nonetheless went on to found the Free Speech League, a precursor to the ACLU, and the magazine Mother Earth. She and Berkman were deported to Russia just after the Bolshevik Revolution; seeing the authoritarian side of the long-hoped-for workers’ uprising led her to write My Disillusionment in Russia. Later, she supported the fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Throughout her richly storied life, Emma Goldman always took the side of the oppressed against capitalism and militarism and was always at the forefront of struggles of the powerless against society’s strongest.

From her ever-evolving political sensibility to her scandalous love life, Goldman was a woman permanently ahead of her time, and the artist Sharon Rudahl’s lovely, energetic illustrations bring Goldman’s many facets and passions to new life. A Dangerous Woman is a marvelously compelling presentation of a woman devoted to revolutionizing her age.


“Bravo for the proliferation of graphic novels, which has freed us from the tyranny of superhero comics and given us such classics as Maus, Persepolis, and now Sharon Rudahl’s A Dangerous Woman. Beginning with the beautiful cover portrait, Rudahl’s biography of Emma Goldman is painstakingly researched, elegantly illustrated, and written with passion and wit. If threatening the established Boys’ Club of comics is an act of aggression, then Rudahl herself is a Dangerous Woman.”
—Trina Robbins, author of The Great Women Cartoonists and Go Girl!

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