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America's Child: A Woman's Journey Through the Radical Sixties Paperback – October 1, 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Poet and playwright Sherman revisits her 20s in Berkeley and New York City when she emerged as a lesbian, antiwar activist and artist in her own right. She attended college at Berkeley in 1958, and lived on Telegraph Avenue with artists Diane Wakoski and La Monte Young, who would usher inviting new experiences for the author. She resolved to lose her virginity immediately, but her attraction to women caused emotional conflict within her. Two years later, she demonstrated against the House Un-American Activities Committee in May 1960 and experimented with psychotropic drugs. Moving to New York in 1961, she hung out with beat poets at the Deux Megots and the Metro Café, and began publishing her own poetry thanks to Denise Levertov and others. Sherman chronicles early iconoclastic work with the Hardware Poets Playhouse and La Mama ETC. Occasionally murky and erratic in structure, Sherman's memoir portrays the thrilling unreality of the times. (Nov.)
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Review

"America's Child is not only a chronicle of the sixties, it's a book of interior and exterior voyages, a book of transformations, a courageous, honest and illuminating book."-Claribel Alegría



"So much of this book touches on the events of my own life. The friends we made protesting that war--'Angry Arts,' The Deux Megots poets' cafe--might be with us still, the portraits are so vivid. This chronicle reads like an adventure story told with modesty and feeling." --Grace Paley


"A poet, a lesbian, a radical, Susan Sherman's life was shaped by the great sweep of change that was the 60s. In America's Child, in beautifully crafted language, she connects us all to her struggle to find her place in a chaotic decade. Her memoir is a moving, sensitive, and insightful look at both a remarkable time and a woman growing into wisdom." --Carol Polcovar
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Curbstone Books; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931896356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931896351
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Henry Berry on December 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
Sherman was not a child of the Sixties, but a voyager through them. A daughter of first-generation, working-class immigrants in Philadelphia, she did not have the sense of entitlements, keen political sense (which has since dulled considerably from what it was among the Sixties generation), and spirit of wild and sometimes reckless rebelliousness and abandon which characterized the mostly college-student members of the Sixties. She does not see the Sixties as a defining moment, but rather as part of "a historical continuum of struggle and cultural regeneration" of which the civil-rights advances of the previous decade of the Fifties, the labor movement of the mid 1900s, and the first meeting of the NAACP in 1909 were a part. "The Sixties was not an isolated era." Yet Sherman's interests, talents, and ambitions drew her to individuals, locations, and situations which typified the counterculture for which the 1960s are remembered.

At Berkeley, she met and was heavily influenced by Diane Wakowski and La Monte Young, a musician the noted poet and writer was living with. Wakowski gave inspiration and focus to Sherman's artistic bent. And it was as a student at Berkeley that the author first experimented with drugs, realized her lesbianism, and out of literary curiosity and proximity as much as sympathies began to pay attention to progressive politics; which political stripe at the time led to demonstrations and confrontations, and in some cases radicalism. After Berkeley, Sherman wrote plays which were performed and also poems and essays. Lesbianism became natural to her. She lived in New York and traveled to Mexico City and Cuba. She writes about her friendships, experiences, and observations in loosely-connected segments and chapters. She's not analytic, though sometimes explanatory.
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Format: Paperback
Susan Sherman gives us a unique, beautifully written, deeply introspective and analytical memoir of the Sixties. She evokes what it was like for a lesbian with Left politics and a radical Leftist who loved women to navigate the often painful territory bridging both nations of the heart. She demonstrates how closely culture and politics were woven then--and are today. From Berkeley to New York and then to revolutionary Cuba and back, Sherman's narrative does what many memoirs aren't able to achieve: she remembers how it looked, smelled, felt, was--while at the same time employing some retrospective analysis. This is a beautiful book, and a must read for anyone interested in what our lives were like back then.
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