Cover image for Encyclopedia of political anarchy
Encyclopedia of political anarchy
Gay, Kathlyn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 242 pages ; 26 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HX830 .G39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

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The Encyclopedia of Political Anarchy charts history's most misunderstood social movement. Covering political anarchy worldwide for the past 300 years, the book also examines the ancient roots of the movement, spotlights key individuals, and explores important groups, organizations, events, laws, legal cases, and theories.

More than just a reference source, Encyclopedia of Political Anarchy also tells the interesting story of sophisticated and complex social and philosophical forces that left their mark on the world--from the 13th century Free Spirit movement against the oppressive power of the church in France to the present-day Zapatista National Liberation Army in Mexico.

Author Notes

Kathlyn Gay is a professional writer specializing in social and environmental issues, communication, and American history.

Martin K. Gay is a computer literacy instructor and professional writer. He has written and co-written several books for ABC-CLIO.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The preface to this volume opens with a description of anarchy as "history's most misunderstood social movement," and the balance of the text is devoted to correcting such misunderstandings with clearly written, well-researched, readable, browseable material. The goal is "to provide a reference source for others who are fascinated by the possibilities manifested in the actions, the dreams, the writings, and the people who influenced anarchism." This work appears to have found a niche; certainly there does not appear to be an abundance of ready-reference resources that cover the subject of anarchy. Among the 170 entries are Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798; anarchist songs; Black Panthers; Chomsky, Noam; Earth First!; French anarchism; Goldman, Emma; modern school movement; New Left; Wollstonecraft, Mary; and Zapatista National Liberation Army. Coverage is international in scope and ranges through time from Zeno of Citium (342 B.C.^-ca. 267 B.C.) to Internet anarchism, which is discussed in an appendix Entries are arranged alphabetically, and each provides see references and brief bibliographies (including numerous Web sites) that encourage and support the targeted readers, defined as "the curious student and the interested scholar." A general bibliography is offered, as is a well-developed index. The entries range in length from the single paragraph used to describe the Anarchist Cookbook as a book "filled with 1960s rhetoric and a great deal of incomplete or dangerously incorrect information" to the nearly two full pages allotted to Lucy Parsons: "History has often ignored [her], primarily because she was thought to have devoted her life to her husband, Albert, one of the eight Haymarket martyrs . . . but Lucy was a strong revolutionary activist and spent nearly 70 years fighting for the oppressed and the rights of women, workers, people of color, and political prisoners." This title is recommended for public, college, and high-school library users. In addition, it should also prove to be a very useful curriculum-support tool for high-school social studies, current events, and history teachers.

Library Journal Review

Anarchists see individuals as possessing the ability to create a society based on peaceful consensus rather than formal, top-down structures and use of force. Individuals from across the political spectrum, from Communists to libertarians, have embraced variations on anarchy as part of their philosophy. The Gays (Encyclopedia of North American Eating and Drinking Traditions) now give us the first English-language encyclopedia on the people, organizations, events, and ideas comprising political anarchy. Entries, which range from a single paragraph to several pagesÄcover topics from the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium (considered to be the first anarchist) through Mikhail A. Bakunin, Peter Alexeyevich Kropotkin, the Haymarket Affair, the International Workers of the World, modern groups like Earth First!, and various anti-government and militia groups. All entries provide cross references plus a bibliography, including numerous references to web sites. The work opens with an excellent essay on anarchism and closes with a comprehensive bibliography and detailed subject index. Intended for students and general readers, this well-written work nicely complements the second edition of The Encyclopedia of the American Left (LJ 3/1/99) in covering libertarian and right-wing anarchist subject matter. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄStephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The "only recent encyclopedic work that focuses solely on anarchism" is concerned with 174 anarchists and related organizations, events, and writings. The greatest number of entries treat individuals from all times and countries, e.g., Zeno of Citium (342-267 BCE), William Godwin, Alexander Beckman, Che Guevara, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Ricardo Flores Magon, Mary Wollstonecraft. Organizations make up the second largest number of entries (Black Panthers, political parties, movements). Other entries include Abrams v. US, the Communist Manifesto, events, and terminology. Finding guides consist of the table of contents, cross-references, and a detailed index. Entries vary from a paragraph to two pages in length; each has a bibliography of books and Web sites. A general bibliography of books and Web sites and an appendix, "Internet Anarchism," which lists newsgroups, mail lists, and more Web pages, supplement the text. Not themselves anarchists, the authors aim for neutrality. The work grew out of their biography Emma Goldman (1997), about the US's most famous anarchist. No other recent encyclopedias treat anarchy exclusively or are as comprehensive in covering individuals and related organizations and events. Paul Avrich's Anarchist Portraits (1988), a collection of biographical sketches of 15-20 leaders worldwide, is a good historical overview that includes some individuals the Gays omit (Gustav Landauer, J.W. Fleming, and Paul Brousse). The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries, ed. by Martin van Creveld (CH, Jun'96), is international in scope and covers major individuals but omits William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. The Encyclopedia of the American Left, ed. by Mari Jo Buhle et al. (1998), covers only the US. The Encyclopedia of Political Revolutions, ed. by Jack A. Goldstone (1998), contains an article on anarchism that mentions major people. The Gays' work fills a niche for this topic and is recommended for political science research collections. L. Treff-Gangler; University of Colorado at Denver