When it was first published, An American Anarchist marked a trail historians of American anarchism are still following today. Narrative-driven like all of Paul Avrich’s works, it presents Voltairine de Cleyre (1866–1912), one of the first prominent American-born anarchists, and her comrades as complex human beings. Part of the free thought movement for many years, it was the Haymarket affair in 1886 that inspired her to adopt anarchism as a political philosophy. De Cleyre explored themes of freedom, unchecked political power, the subjugation of the individual, labor under capitalism, and feminism rooted in a practical anarchism that still speaks to us today. From her numerous writings and speeches, through the illnesses that plagued her, the assassination attempt that left her clinging to life, to her early death at forty-five, she worked tirelessly for her ideal. This edition includes a new foreword by historian Robert P. Helms.