About the Book

Intimate Politics

Intimate Politics

How I Grew up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel
September 2006
Trade Paperback · 375 Pages
$16.95 U.S.
ISBN 9781580051606
Seal Press


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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.

About the Author

Bettina F. Aptheker is an activist, historian, and professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has taught one of the country’s largest and most inflluential Introduction to Women’s Studies courses for twenty-four years. She is the author of The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (Cornell University Press, 1997) and Tapestries of Life: Women’s Work, Women’s Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience (University of Massachusetts Press, 1982). She lives in Santa Cruz with her longtime partner, Kate Miller.