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Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs: A Midterm Report on My Generation and the Future of Our Super Movement Paperback – September 14, 2010

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Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs: A Midterm Report on My Generation and the Future of Our Super Movement + No More Prisons: Urban Life, Homeschooling, Hip-Hop Leadership, the Cool Rich Kids Movement, a Hitchhiker's Guide to Community Organizing, and Why ... Is the Greatest Art Form of the 21st Century! + Bomb the Suburbs: Graffiti, Race, Freight-Hopping and the Search for Hip-Hop's Moral Center
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936070596
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936070596
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs is a book for middle-aging youth activists who are still passionate about fighting for a revolutionary new society, but recognize the importance of a visionary long-term, sustained movement in achieving change. Simply put, Billy Wimsatt has grown up. [...] And he wants us to grow up, too."
--Pete Redington, CounterPunch

"Wimsatt's level of sincerity and enthusiasm is refreshing and bracing, and the book stands as a reminder that anybody who wants to help improve the world can find plenty of ways to get busy, and also have a great time doing it."
--Literary Kicks

About the Author

William Upski Wimsatt: William Upski Wimsatt is the author of two of the most successful underground classic books in a generation: Bomb The Suburbs and No More Prisons (more than 90,000 combined sold). A maverick graffiti artist, journalist, political and philanthropic organizer, Wimsatt has appeared in hundreds of publications and is a popular speaker at colleges and conferences. He founded the League of Young Voters, worked for Barack Obama in Ohio, coorganized the first ever briefing of social justice artists with the White House, and was honored as a “Visionary” by Utne Magazine, and “Power 30” by The Source. He lives in Brooklyn.

More About the Author

Social entrepreneur, philanthropic consultant, journalist, and political organizer, Billy Wimsatt recently released his new book, Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs: A Midterm Report on My Generation, and the Future of our Super Movement (Akashic Books, September 2010).

Wimsatt has written for Vibe, the Chicago Tribune and published five books with 100,000+ in print including Bomb the Suburbs, No More Prisons, and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office, winner of the 1999 Firecracker Book Award for Political Non-Fiction. He has spoken at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, and was named by Utne Magazine as "Utne Visionary" and to The Source Magazine's "Power 30."

As a 2010 Fellow at Movement Strategy Center, Wimsatt runs The Field 3.0 Project, a community dialogue and documentation effort to envision the future and drive innovation in movement building.

He also runs All Hands On Deck, a voter engagement program targeting likely drop-off voters, focused in key battleground states (ie. NV, MO, OH, PA, IL). All Hands On Deck coordinates a 12 Week Plan to organize volunteers in the lead up the mid-term elections.

All Hands On Deck also works in partnership with youth groups (; the Coffee Party (, Salsa Labs (, and runs creative programs such as: Local Voter Guides and Pennies For Democracy (

Previously, Wimsatt founded and ran the League of Young Voters (2003-2008) which organized 3000+ youth to create 300+ voter guides and impacted 29 state and local elections or pieces of legislation. In 2005, he co-founded Generational Alliance. Over his career as a funder and fundraiser, he has helped move more than eight million dollars to social change. In 2008, he created and ran the Ohio Youth Corps program for the Ohio Democratic Party/Obama For America, which trained and deployed 50 staff throughout Ohio.

Wimsatt has worked for Green For All, consulted for Rock The Vote,, the Hull Family Foundation, The DC Project, The Funders' Collaborative on Youth Organizing, and completed Rockwood's year-long course for executive leaders.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Overall this book is a delightful and fabulous read.
Even though I've lived through it, I haven't always been able to remember what an awesome generation we are.
Lydia L. Simas
How I wish I had it when I first entered the progressive non-profit field!
Dr. Pizza

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Hoole on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Strangely, books by insiders on their area of expertise usually don't have a lot of useful "how-to" information. They may throw you a few bones, but the subtext is that you don't have what it takes to do what they've done, and you certainly aren't going to get started by reading a book. The desired attitude from the reader is admiration.

Billy Wimsatt turns the usual formula of the expert account inside out, raking his history and his process and his assumptions over the coals for the reader to see. No doubt Wimsatt is an insider with deep experience that he shares generously. But reading "Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs," instead of taking the measure of Billy Wimsatt, I found myself weighing my own assumptions and actions and history.

Is my cynicism about electoral politics a copout? Have I lived up to my self-image as a right-thinking, politically-engaged person? Is "changing the world" something I'm responsible for? What concrete steps can I take in the next week or month or twenty-five years to help create the world I want my kids to grow up in (or even just stave off disaster)?

For me, the heart of the book is Wimsatt's take on our current political moment:

"It is good, absolutely necessary in fact, to push Obama and the Democratic Party to be more progressive. But we need to have a grown-up understanding of how to play the game. Too often our thinking about politics is intellectually and emotionally immature. So we love Obama, then we hate him. We get starry-eyed with hope, then depressed and demoralized when he doesn't turn out to be a savior."

In his analysis of the history of the progressive movement, his evolution as a part of it, and how the game of electoral politics is played, Wimsatt builds a case for action that I can't shake off.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Pizza on October 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Please Don't Bomb The Suburbs is imbued with a disarming generosity, extended to the reader, and even extended to the oft-maligned cultural backwaters of Suburban America. Unlike a lot of guides for progressive activists, Wimsatt's book is never willing to stereotype the other side.

Billy is simultaneously idealistic and pragmatic, committed to the grassroots but committed to building power. But it's not all electoral politics--Billy's equally concerned with inspiring us and sharing hard-won lessons on organizational management, self-care, and movement building for activists.

Billy's previous books--the masterful Bomb The Suburbs. (By the way, reading those books isn't a prerequisite for understanding and enjoying Please Don't Bomb The Suburbs, but to fully see the trajectory of his journey from graf artist to hiphop journalist to field organizer to strategist, they definitely deepen the experience.)

Billy gets to a level of specificity in talking about the role of money and power in progressive movement building that is almost taboo--another outgrowth of his radical honesty and tough love approach.. Some of this might not be relevant to people who aren't EDs of grassroots activist organizations--but on the other hand he might inspire you to become one!

If you're a young person interested in community organizing, you want this book on your shelf. If you're in the trenches already, you might consider it a lifeline. How I wish I had it when I first entered the progressive non-profit field!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By S. Mensah on October 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Please Don't Bomb the Suburbs" was truly an excellent read. I found it to be witty, engaging, and packed with interesting historical tidbits and useful strategies for progressive movement building. Wimsatt brings a fresh sense of urgency to the discussion about how people engaged in social justice work can be more effective (by showing up in every sector of society, from the grassroots to Congress). After finishing this book, I was struck by how deeply my thinking had shifted - not to new ideology, for I still believe that we live in a pretty corrupt system that needs to undergo massive change - but to new ideas about how to change this system for the better. I suspect that this was precisely Wimsatt's aim - not to deny that our society is in need of fixing, but to have the "radicals" among us take notice that by and large, we have only been trying to fix the system from the outside. We need to use all of the tools in the toolbox - including having some of us on the inside - to really reshape society in a way in which we all can eat and live whole lives.

Shortly after reading the book and letting the ideas settle, I was having a conversation with a friend about voting. Like my friend, I had always felt ambivalence towards voting. However, I experienced a bit of a change of heart after reading this book. "Why participate at all in a system that is corrupt?" asked my very skeptical friend. "Because," I answered, "the system is still currently intact and we need to tackle it from every angle. When politicians can make laws affecting our health, our employment, and our college access, they have a lot of control over us. We should have a say in these laws.
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