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Heretic's Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution Paperback – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807070998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807070994
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Adler (Drawing Down the Moon, LJ 11/1/79), the New York bureau chief for National Public Radio, draws on her journals, correspondence with family and friends, and over 200 pages of letters she exchanged with a Vietnam soldier to chronicle her life in the Sixties. She discusses being the granddaughter of psychiatrist Alfred Adler, the only child of Communist sympathizers, a student activist at Berkeley during the Free Speech Movement and her resulting arrest, her summer of registering black voters in Mississippi, her firsthand experience of the Socialist revolution in Cuba, her experimentations with sex, and her antiwar activism. Adler writes powerfully and with a sharp memory for detail. She concludes that social activism brought real and lasting change. Many will recall Theodore Roszak's The Making of Counter Culture as they read Adler; still others might reject her philosophies and be alarmed by her candor. Recommended for public and academic libraries.?Susan Dearstyne, Hudson Valley Community Coll., Troy, N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Adler, the New York bureau chief for National Public Radio and author of Drawing Down the Moon (1987), remembers the 1960s not as a time of hedonism or rebellion but as an era of ideas and commitment. A vague but persistent urge to write about that period and her own intense political experiences became a consuming passion after she discovered a forgotten cache of journals and letters, the source of startlingly vital accounts of her years at Berkeley as a member of the Free Speech Movement, her voter registration work in Mississippi, her candid correspondence with an American soldier in Vietnam (the most arresting passages in this altogether moving book), and her sojourns in Cuba. An adept and fearless memoirist, Adler begins by profiling her complex parents, then traces her evolution from a dreamy, overweight child to a self-characterized "left-wing nun" willing to go to jail for her beliefs. Observant and questing, Adler has always eschewed political dogma, drawing, instead, on a deep sense of justice, and it is her spirituality and integrity that enable her, still, to witness humanity at its worst and yet remain optimistic and involved. Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Margot Adler is a long time NPR news correspondent, and the author of Drawing Down the Moon, the classic book on Contemporary Paganism, Wicca and Goddess Spirituality. She is also the author of Heretic's Heart, a 1960's memoir. She is the author of a recent Amazon Single: Out for Blood, which looks at why vampires have such popularity in our society right now. A longer book version of this essay, Vampires are Us will be published by Weisers in February.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I am a few years younger than Margo Adler--and I was always about four years years too young to experience the high points of the Sixties directly. Too young to hitch to Woodstock or go to San Francisco for the Beatles last performance, let alone the Summer of Love! Yet, reading Adler's book, I felt I was there. She is articulate and well-spoken, and can breathe life into those years for those of us who were a little too young to participate, and were always left out. Her correspondence with Mark Anderson made my hair stand up on end, not only because of its evocation of the era (and its "The Way We Were" pairing of two very different people), but because it played out like a precursor of a modern Internet romance. Despite the distance between Margot and Mark, despite the fact that they could not meet in person for years, they "connected," and formed formed a strong, passionate bond that enriched both their lives. I highly recommend this book for more reasons that I have space to describe here. Older boomers, read it to recall a time you lived through; younger boomers, read it to experience a time you may have missed; the rest of you guys, just read it! It's not "just" about the Sixties, it's about love and friendship having the power to transcend even a war that was tearing the country apart.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Collin on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ms. Adler's book gave me an insight into a time that (I am embarrased to say) I never cared about before. The era that my parents grew up in seemed totally unknown to me before I read this book. All I knew were antiseptic text book notations and footage from Vietnam that seemed less realistic that "Apocalypse Now." I can't thank Ms. Adler enough for letting us into her life, thereby making the 1960's a human experience for me.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I'm a few years younger than Margot Adler, and only got to the shores of the seas she swam in and observed so trenchantly, but what she writes agrees with my memories of what I saw. It was a time when black and white just wouldn't do any more,and when learning to see the greys of life could be an initiatory journey in itself. Margot's earlier book, Drawing Down the Moon, brought me to the feet of the Goddess. The new book will help me teach my students and coven members what it's like to live in two worlds at once. I'm profoundly grateful. And on a lighter note, the portraits of the Zells jibe quite well with friends of mine who knew them well (in all senses of the word). Thanks, Margot!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Magliocco on June 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is NPR correspondent Margot Adler's memoir of growing up in the 1950s and 60s as a red-(or at least pink-) diaper baby in New York's Upper West Side. The granddaughter of psychologist Alfred Adler, her father was an Austrian immigrant, a psychoanalyst and a leftist; her mother, the daughter of working-class Jewish immigrants. In a warm, personable and highly readable style, she narrates her unconventional childhood and her struggles to fit in. Readers will find much to identify with here, from her strong connection to her remarkable mother, to her pain over her parents' divorce, to her political activism in the Berkeley Free Speech movement, to her discovery of environmental and spiritual movements. Always an honest and courageous reporter, Adler turns the lens on herself with moving candidness and bravery. Readers will cheer for her all the way through.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Smith on May 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've listened to Margot Adler, seemingly all my life. I never really thought about her as a person, though. I stumbled unto Drawing Down the Moon, and then Heretic's Heart, and I'm glad I did. I was engrossed with her story. I cried and laughed, and in the end stood in deep admiration. Highly recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vicki Roberts-Gassler on June 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Many years ago I did some research on the theory of autobiographies; one major conclusion of theorists is that there is generally a disconnect between the reader's expectation and what the writer delivers, in that the reader wants to know what the writer is really like, whereas the writer wants to present a sanitized public face. In this memoir, Margot Adler is one of the few autobiographers to actually express her authentic self. She is amazingly open in conveying her thoughts and actions from her early childhood, analyzing how she developed into the person she is while giving a fascinating picture of the major social movements she was near the center of, including the civil rights and free speech movements and the flowering of nature-facing Pagan religions from the 1960s onward. This is an enjoyable read and a powerful experience.
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By Reader55 on August 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was prompted to seek out this book by the author’s recent, untimely death. I’ve long been a fan of Margot Adler’s NPR pieces and of her demonstrable curiosity about all things under the sun--and Wiccan moon!

The three-star rating is a composite of my reading experience. The first seven chapters of Heretic’s Heart were enthralling. In these chapters, Adler recounts her experiences at the epicenter of U.S. sociopolitical trends during the first half of the twentieth century. The granddaughter of psychiatrist Alfred Adler, Margot was born a red-diaper baby on the eve of McCarthyism. She went on to attend the progressive City and Country School and the High School of Music and Art. From there, she moved to Berkeley, where she was jailed for her participation in the Free Speech Movement. Between her freshman and sophomore college years, she enlisted in the Mississippi Summer Project of ’64. Throughout, Adler maintains a modest view of her own contribution to civil and human rights revolutions.

The book went south for me around page 172, where Adler inserts verbatim correspondence between herself and Marc Anderson, a reluctant soldier in Vietnam. Neither Adler’s nor Anderson’s observations about the war or the home front are particularly insightful. After that longueur, the book fast-forwards through the next three decades. My curiosity about how and why Adler chose journalism, got married, had a child, and converted from secular Judaism to Wicca were never satisfied.

If you’re interested in first-person accounts of growing up in the fifties and sixties, I recommend the first half of this memoir. However, if you’re looking for a better understanding of modern Wicca or feminist spirituality, seek elsewhere!
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