In June 1985, Diana Block, her two-week old son and five companions - all of them active in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence - fled L.A. after finding a surveillance device in their car. Facing the
possibility of arrest because of her militant activities, Diana spent the next decade living underground, on the run from the FBI, raising two children and juggling security, solidarity and motherhood. In a perfect demonstration that the personal is political, Diana's memoir offers unique insights into the reasons why people turned to armed resistance against the U.S. government in the 1960's and 1970's in response to racism, male supremacy and war. The book also traces Diana's political development on either side of her time underground, offering a fresh look at the history of the 1970's and an analysis of the social terrain of the 1990's when she resurfaced and tried to reintegrate into a very different world.
Relayed with emotional depth and a poetic style, ARM THE SPIRIT brings a woman's perspective to a subject typically dominated by heroic, male discourse. The book paints a vivid, complex picture of underground life and its many challenges. What is it like to raise children who don't know their mother's real name and birthday? How does it feel to see your own history distorted on an episode of "America's Most Wanted"? Which aspects of underground life are terrifying, which are
stultifying, and which ultimately strengthen the spirit and will to resist? A captivating tale of struggle and solidarity - told from the inside.
Diana Block's Arm the Spirit is a stunning piece of work with pitch-perfect voice and strong writing. She gives voice to many of us who took up the vocation of revolution and have remained true to the vision of a radically transformed world.
Arm the Spirit is one woman's tale of wanting a better world, struggling to bring that vision to fruition and then literally having to flee for her life. This is a poignant and hard-hitting story, exploring origins, memory, the decisions of everyday life and the underlying issues of fear and accountability. It is a story of internal exile that holds lessons for us all, particularly in these times when a "war on terror" has so often become a war against our own best citizens. Block's telling is helped by beautiful poetry and resistance to dogma. This is truly a story for every reader.
- Margaret Randall, Author
Within these pages, Diana Block elaborates a true definition of solidarity - both in words and in deeds. As a life-long Puerto Rican independentista, I have struggled with many North Americans over this essential concept. This is a story of victory and the will to confront a difficult life without remorse or victimization. Block offers a snapshot of many pains, sufferings, and challenges, but most importantly, she articulates a powerful lesson: life is most fully lived, when lived for others.