these are miscellaneous writings collected from throughout grace paley’s life, as a result, it doesn’t always retain a steady level of continuity. predictably the parts that were most interesting to me, in light of recent events, were about wars (mostly vietnam, but also an essay about the gulf war), as paley was very involved in those anti-war movements. the various prefaces to books are deﬁnitely worthwhile to be included in this random collection, but at times lacked a necessary context for me to get into them, most notably when they are about speciﬁc people i’ve never heard of before. it probably doesn’t help that i tend to read such “prefaces” after i’ve read the whole book, kind of to test to see if the impression that i developed reading their work aligns at all with the preface-writer’s.
this impression from the gulf war feels all to familiar:
Almost overnight, once the war started, the silence began. Having lived for sixty-eight years, a surprising number of them in some political consciousness, I must report that I’ve never experienced the kind of repression that set in once the air war started. It was not like the McCarthy period — that is, there were no personal direct attacks on well-known people of that kind. It was as though a great damp blanket had been laid over our country with little pinholes for American ﬂags to stick up into the public air.