Paretsky explores the traditions of political and literary dissent that have informed her life and work, against the unparalleled repression of free speech and thought in the USA today. In tracing the writer's difficult journey from silence to speech, she turns to her childhood and youth in rural Kansas, then evokes Chicago--the city with which she has become indelibly associated--from her arrival during the civil-rights struggle in the mid-1960s to her literary creation, the south-side detective V. I. Warshawski. Paretsky traces the emergence of Warshawski from the shadows of the loner detectives that stalk the mean streets of Dashiell Hammett's and Raymond Chandler's novels, and in the process explores American individualism, the failure of the American dream, and the resulting dystopia. Both memoir and meditation, this is a compelling exploration of the writer's art and daunting responsibility in the face of the assault on US civil liberties post-9/11.--From publisher description.
It begins with these words - 'One of my favourite books is Caught in the Web of Words, Elizabeth Murray's loving memoir of her grandfather, James A.H.Murray,who creator the Oxford English Dictionary. I'd like to steal her title for a memoir of my own life.