A Memoir of Disobedience
in conversation with JACLYN FRIEDMAN
This event includes a book signing
April 23, 2019
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome activist and Marine Corps veteran ANURADHA BHAGWATI for a discussion of her debut book, Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience. She will be joined in conversation by JACLYN FRIEDMAN, author of Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All.
After a lifetime of buckling to the demands of her strict Indian parents, Anuradha Bhagwati abandons grad school in the Ivy League to join the Marines—the fiercest, most violent, most masculine branch of the military—determined to prove herself there in ways she couldn’t before.
Yet once training begins, Anuradha’s G.I. Jane fantasy is punctured. As a bisexual woman of color in the military, she faces underestimation at every stage, confronting misogyny, racism, sexual violence, and astonishing injustice perpetrated by those in power. Pushing herself beyond her limits, she also wrestles with what drove her to pursue such punishment in the first place.
Once her service concludes in 2004, Anuradha courageously vows to take to task the very leaders and traditions that cast such a dark cloud over her time in the Marines. Her efforts result in historic change, including the lifting of the ban on women from pursuing combat roles in the military.
A tale of heroic resilience grappling with the timely question of what, exactly, America stands for, Unbecoming is about one woman who learned to believe in herself in spite of everything. It is the kind of story that will light a fire beneath you, and inspire the next generation of indomitable female heroes.
“A raw, fearless, openhearted chronicle of one woman’s journey through the center of white male violence and out the other side. In confronting herself as unsparingly as the military powers she took on, Bhagwati has written the rare page-turner that will not only make you want to be a better person but also teach you how.” —Jaclyn Friedman, feminist activist and author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape
"Anuradha Bhagwati has written a captivating and vital book, one that seamlessly marries compelling, insightful personal narrative with her astute critique of how the systems that shape our lives are failing us. It’s a must-read." —Soraya Chemaly, activist and author of Rage Becomes Her
“Anuradha Bhagwati chronicles with admirable candor the examination and reconstruction of her identity, a journey taking her to Yale, the Marine Corps, and eventually the halls of Congress. If you want to understand the seismic changes in US military culture over the past decade, read this book.” —Elliot Ackerman, author of Green on Blue and Dark at the Crossing
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
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