WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT OUR LIVES by Barbara Deming

WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT OUR LIVES

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

You wish desperately that this heartfelt book did not appear so naive, so dated. Which is to say that it would be nice if Deming's unquenchable faith in the power of nonviolence and love to end racism, war and sexism still represented, as it did in the '60's, a plausible vision. Along with A.J. Muste, Dave Dellinger, Dave McReynolds, et al, Deming is quintessentially a part of the surging optimism that propelled the civil rights sit-ins and peace marches. She took part in the San Francisco to Moscow Walk for Peace in 1961; the demonstrations in Birmingham in 1963; Resurrection City and too-numerous-to-mention gatherings of the tribe at the Pentagon. It was an era when everyone seemed united spiritually if not politically, arms linked against police barricades, voices singing We Shall Overcome. About half of this moving, but, alas, scarcely credible book commemorates the beautiful camaraderie of those days, those events. The other half, more timely, more persuasive, deals with the women's struggle and Deming's own role in it as a gentle lesbian greatly disturbed by those angry and strident sisters who see men as The Enemy. Her own inclinations are toward androgyny -- women to reclaim their suppressed masculine qualities, men to rediscover the womanly part of their nature which needs to nurture and to mother. There is much to admire in this very honestly told struggle for self-realization in a peaceful world, and it is with chagrin that we must finally say that it presumes too much on benevolence, evades the ugly realities of power and idealizes both the struggle and those who carry it on.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1974
Publisher: Grossman