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200 × 130 × 14 mm
208 pages
30 illustrations
10 Aug 2020
Critical Lives

Rosa Luxemburg Dana Mills

As an economist and political theorist, Rosa Luxemburg created a body of work that still resonates powerfully today. Born in Poland in 1871, she became a revolutionary leader in Berlin, publishing works including ‘Reform or Revolution’ and The Accumulation of Capital. In this account of her short yet extraordinary life, Dana Mills examines Luxemburg’s writings, including her own correspondence, to reveal a woman who was fierce in professional battles and loving in personal relationships.

What is her legacy today, a hundred years after her assassination in Berlin in 1919 at the age of 47? Luxemburg’s emphasis on humanity, equality and her insistence on revolution gave coherence, as this compelling biography illustrates, to a fraught life story and a colossal economic and political legacy.

‘From today’s perspective, it is not unreasonable to suggest – as Dana Mills does in Rosa Luxemburg, a compact and admiring biography – that she is a potential role model to the woke generation, an icon to the feminist, environmental, equality and anticolonialist rebellions. Luxemburg is alive and well and speaking at a street meeting near you . . . [Mills] sees “the energy, resilience and humanism of Rosa Luxemburg re-emerging as a counter-force” in our times . . . Luxemburg deserves better than past categorizations. She was a unique revolutionary, self-made and self-critical, seductive and humane. You will meet the real Rosa here, and it’s a pleasure.’ — Norman Lebrecht, Wall Street Journal

‘Can there be anything new to say about Rosa Luxemburg? In this passionate, fast-moving and yet scholarly account Dana Mills shows us that there is.’ — Jewish Socialist magazine

‘In these days when NGO politics so looms over the left, the recall to the spirit and approach of an activist from the heroic days of the Marxist movement is refreshing . . . [a] warm and sprightly book.’ — Workers' Liberty

‘[Mills presents] us right from the first pages with a Rosa Luxemburg that the reader wants to sit down and talk with.’ — Katherine Connelly, Monthly Review

‘I was utterly transported by the drama and urgency of Luxemburg’s life, and the precarity of the world in which she lived and died . . . A polemic, divisive, and contradictory figure, the Rosa Luxemburg with which Mills presents us is ultimately a unifier, a whole and generous soul; her beliefs and pursuits cohered around a radical empathy and a willingness to give her life to the cause of universal justice. Regardless of how we feel about the specifics of her socialist politics, we can all take inspiration from her courage. The letter found in her handbag on the night of her assassination, addressed to lifelong friend Clara Zetkin, asserted: “One has to take history as it comes, whatever course it takes."’ — Women's Review of Books

‘The book is about both Luxemburg’s personal life and her political and economic ideas . . . an interesting and informative read.’ — Socialist Standard

‘Vibrant, meticulous and well-reasoned – at last we have, with Dana Mills’s new book, an English-language biography of Rosa Luxemburg which does credit to the life and work of its subject, one of the greatest economic and political minds of the twentieth century.’ — Kate Evans, author of Red Rosa

‘Dana Mills’ Rosa Luxemburg provides an impressive overview of Luxemburg’s life and work from a feminist standpoint – a task made newly relevant by the emergence of a new generation of activists and theorists in today’s movements for social justice and against racism, sexism, and imperialism.’ — Peter Hudis, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Oakland Community College and General Editor of The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg

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Dana Mills is a political theorist, lecturer, campaigner for socialist-feminism and anti-racism, dancer and the author of Dance and Politics: Moving Beyond Boundaries (2016).


1 A Clap of Thunder
2 Dress Rehearsal for the Revolution
3 The Last Two Men of German Social Democracy
4 The Countess of Wronke Fortress
5 Ultimate Revolutionary Duty
6 Discord Marching On

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