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RULES 4 RADICALS V736 Paperback – February 12, 1972


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Rules for Radicals
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 12, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394717368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394717364
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (393 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This country's leading hell-raiser...has set down some of the rules of the game. No one has had more experience or has been more successful at it than Alinsky.” —The Nation

“Alinsky's techniques and teachings influenced generations of community and labor organizers, including the church-based group hiring a young [Barack] Obama to work on Chicago's South Side in the 1980s.... Alinsky impressed a young [Hillary] Clinton, who was growing up in Park Ridge at the time Alinsky was the director of the Industrial Areas Foundation in Chicago.” —Chicago Sun-Times

 

“Alinsky is that rarity in American life, a superlative organizer, strategist, and tactician who is also a social philosopher.” —Charles E. Silberman

 

“He cannot be bought; he cannot be intimidated; and he breaks all the rules.” —The Economist (London)

 

“I consider him to be one of the few really great men of our century.” —Jacques Maritain

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

This primers tells the "have-nots" how they can organize to achieve real political power for the practice of true democracy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Saul Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 and educated first in the streets of that city and then in its university. Graduate work at the University of Chicago in criminology introduced him to the Al Capone gang, and later to Joliet State Prison, where he studied prison life. He founded what is known today as the Alinsky ideology and Alinsky concepts of mass organization for power. His work in organizing the poor to fight for their rights as citizens has been internationally recognized. In the late 1930s he organized the Back of the Yards area in Chicago (the neighborhood made famous in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle). Subsequently, through the Industrial Areas Foundation which he began in 1940, Mr. Alinsky and his staff helped to organize communities not only in Chicago but throughout the country. He later turned his attentions to the middle class, creating a training institute for organizers. He died in 1972.

Customer Reviews

If you want to understand Obama just read this book.
John G Ochs
So successful have radical front groups such as ACORN been, that it may not be long before the very same tactics can be used against the radicals themselves.
James R. Holland
Provided good insight into the develop process of community organizers based upon his experiences.
Jaybird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

468 of 526 people found the following review helpful By DACHokie VINE VOICE on May 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The purpose for my reading this book was self-educational and an effort to be open-minded about the broad political spectrum that exists today. I found Alinsky's book to be enlightening, thought-provoking, interesting and very relevant. In fact, I strongly feel that "Rules for Radicals" provides a great deal of insight to the current state of political discourse in United States. However, after reading the book, I found myself wondering if Alinsky ever imagined his "radicals" achieving success to the point in which they themselves ultimately become victims of their own methods.

"Rules for Radicals" is essentially a guidebook that encourages individuals to gather, organize and develop a battle-plan to spread a socialist agenda; there is even a list of tactics to be used. Alinsky has conveniently simplified the complex socio-economic landscape of the United States into three groups: The Haves (upper-class), The Have Some, Want More (middle-class) and Have-nots (poor). It is explained that the Haves are the minority that possesses all the wealth/power which is used to ruthlessly exploit the lower classes to enforce their status-quo and maintain their wealth/ power. The Have-Some and Have-nots are basically characterized as being numerically strong, but also mindless and weak ... forced to a life dictated by the Haves. Alinsky then introduces the "community organizer" ... the do-gooder ... the pot-stirrer ... the "social-conscience" ... the one who will fight for those who "can't" or "won't" fight for themselves ... the one who will "take it to" the Haves. Ironically, I found that Alinsky's book provided more explanation of what our current President did prior to being in public office than any media source has ever tried to convey.
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192 of 239 people found the following review helpful By PMS on March 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in the sixties, remembering and participating in school sit-ins I was eager to reacquaint my self with a long lost name from the past. Saul D. Alinsky has been in the news again over the past year because of the campaign of Barak Obama the Chicago community organizer, turned politician.

This book, "Rules for Radicals" is must reading for anyone who desires insight into what is ahead for this country. There are several sections of the book, which after you read them, you think isn't that just what happened, or oh that's why he did this. The book is a collection of ideas, situations and anecdotes spun into an easygoing yarn of the life of a community organizer. An organizer helps the have-nots get what the haves have, and then he goes and helps the have-not's get what the haves have and then ... well you get the idea.

A must read for the curious and politically inclined.
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695 of 893 people found the following review helpful By Charles M. Dean Jr. on May 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's well known that Obama's early years were seriously affected by his association with Bill Ayres and the teachings of Saul Alinsky which seem to be codified and laid out in "Rules for Radicals."

As an elderly citizen who is very interested in politics and extremely concerned about our country's direction I'm reading Rules for Radicals.
Watching Obama's run for election, his rhetoric and every one of his moves it is frightening to see how much Alinsky's words are like a playbook for every thing Obama has done and said.

I wish more Americans would read it if they could and understand it if they could but our present day under-educated government population couldn't handle it!

Very sincerely,
Charles M. Dean
Woodstock, Ga.
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104 of 133 people found the following review helpful By Glorybe on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I found this book very enlightening. I am not a politician but I wanted to know why people were comparing Obama to Alinsky! I beleive that this book is the blueprint and map that Obama used to get where he is now and God help us on where he is leading us!
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97 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas Chagouris on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book will reveal uncanny similarities in ideology and precise buzz words and phrases such as "Hope and Change" and "Yes We Can" between the author and our current president. Knowing that President Obama was an admirer and student of the original Community Organizer, Saul Alinski, I found this book a must read to arrive at an understanding of their methods and motive. They are clear: Tear down the entire system by any means necessary.

While I regret seeing book royalty money going to nefarious people and causes, I made the sacrifice in exchange of factual information and confirmation.
You doubt? Read it...and weep.
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530 of 691 people found the following review helpful By Philly Phool on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
That's right, Mr. Alinsky has perfected the art of stomping your feet until you get your way. At least that appears to be his method. It explains a lot of the 'spoiled brat' revolutions we see today. I am not saying that there are not any causes without substance. Just a lot that seem to follow the same recipe. You know, the victim mentality that surrounds us continuously and the idea that the rest of us are somehow complicit in someone else's woes.

Enough of that. There are two chapters that comprise the meat of this book: 'In the Beginning' and 'Tactics'. The chapter on 'Communications' is somewhat worthy as well. The rest is just a semantic argument that justifies the authors excesses. We ponder important questions like 'Does the end justify the means'? Could you believe: of course it does if your the one involved in the means! There is even a chapter on disseminating the meaning of certain words like 'power', 'compromise', and 'conflict'. He even quotes Nietzsche and his 'Tartuffery of words'. Talk about semantics!

But all is not lost. The book is actually quite informative and fun to read. You might even fancy yourself standing up to authority and saying 'No Mr. Mayor, We're not going to take it anymore'. And rules! Yes there are rules! Like my favorite: 'making the enemy live up to their own rules'. That one never gets tiring and is the source of endless amusement for those of us 'in the know'. In fact his list of rules is one of the most useful parts of the book. And knowing them can help those having to deal with people like Mr. Alinsky.

The bottom line is that the authors methods can be very useful although there is no guarantee that someone using them will do so for the common good. At one point as I read the book I saw myself rating it a 1 star and then at another, a 5 star. I settled on a compromise at 3 stars. Mr. Alinsky would be proud. Welcome to the revolution!
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