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Letterpress Revolution: The Politics of Anarchist Print Culture
by Kathy E. Ferguson
Duke University Press, 2023
Paper: 978-1-4780-1923-7 | Cloth: 978-1-4780-1659-5 | eISBN: 978-1-4780-2386-9
Library of Congress Classification HX828.F45 2023

While the stock image of the anarchist as a masked bomber or brick thrower prevails in the public eye, a more representative figure should be a printer at a printing press. In Letterpress Revolution, Kathy E. Ferguson explores the importance of printers, whose materials galvanized anarchist movements across the United States and Great Britain from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s. Ferguson shows how printers—whether working at presses in homes, offices, or community centers—arranged text, ink, images, graphic markers, and blank space within the architecture of the page. Printers' extensive correspondence with fellow anarchists and the radical ideas they published created dynamic and entangled networks that brought the decentralized anarchist movements together. Printers and presses did more than report on the movement; they were constitutive of it, and their vitality in anarchist communities helps explain anarchism’s remarkable persistence in the face of continuous harassment, arrest, assault, deportation, and exile. By inquiring into the political, material, and aesthetic practices of anarchist print culture, Ferguson points to possible methods for cultivating contemporary political resistance.

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