9781566398893: Hardback
Release Date: 29th March 2002

9781592132362: Paperback
Release Date: 15th August 2003

Dimensions: 178 x 254

Number of Pages: 392

Series Critical Perspectives On The P

Temple University Press


A Political Autobiography

Hardback / £63.00
Paperback / £23.99

A Note on UsageIntroductionPart I: BeginningsPart II: Becoming an AmericanPart III: Becoming an American RadicalPart IV: In the Eye of the StormThanksPhotograph gallery

Gerda Lerner, a past president of the Organization of American Historians, is Robinson-Edwards Professor of History, Emerita, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her eleven books in history include Creation of Patriarchy, Creation of Feminist Consciousness, Why History Matters, and Black Women in White America: A Documentary History.

"Gerda Lerner's absorbing memoir bears witness to the major events of the twentieth century....[She] is a gifted storyteller who writes with passion and clarity. This political autobiography is a must read!"—Joyce Antler, Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture, Brandeis University

"A spirited, eminently readable and unapologetic memoir of leftist life in a rightist era....[L]eaving readers hungry for more[,] Lerner's autobiography also makes a fine contribution to social history."—Kirkus Reviews

"Fireweed is made out of courage and wisdom. One of the finest historians of our time has written an eloquent memoir that makes clear how Women's History has grown out of lived experience. Read it as a story of a girl coming of age in dark times; read it as a story of a brave young woman who lives her progressive ideals in cold war America. I simply could not put down this loving, chilling and heartbreaking book."—Linda K. Kerber, May Brodbeck Professor of History, University of Iowa and author of No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship

"Gerda Lerner, a leading pioneer in Women's History...presents an especially vivid account of the connections between her ambivalent but loving relations with her parents...and her own escape from fascism and quest for both autonomy and a professional career."—Professor David Brion Davis, Director, Yale's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, and author of In the Image of God: Religion, Moral Values, and Our Heritage of Slavery

"[A] superb memoir... Lerner's power and precision as a writer makes this story read like a fast-paced novel."—Linda Gordon, Professor of History, NYU

"Most people become historians by going to school day and night for years. Gerda Lerner became a historian by working in her youth in social justice and women's rights movements that became history. Then, in middle age, she went to school day and night—finally becoming one of our preeminent writers and teachers of Women's History. Fireweed is a wonderful and inspiring story for young women."—Grace Paley

"[Fireweed] reads like a novel..."—The New York Times Book Review

"As a work of prose, this autobiography has a peculiar beauty. Some of the lines are magical... Perhaps the most striking aspect of Gerda Lerner's memoir, as of her many other publications, is the lucidity of her vision.... But, like the eloquent Simone de Beauvoir, who also told her own life, she has made it difficult for any would-be biographer to do better."—The Women's Review of Books