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Comment: Near fine trade paperback book, no dust jacket (as issued); the book is clean, tight, square, and free of any markings showing little to no evidence of having been previously read; book cover (wrap) shows a moderate crease to the top corner of the back panel and light shelf wear but remains in very good to near fine condition; 834 pages including index, lightly illustrated with black and white photographs.
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Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) Paperback – February 15, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Stokely Carmichael (known as Kwame Ture later in his life) died before his autobiography, Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael, could be completed, so much of the text was stitched together from extensive taped sessions by his long-time friend, Ekwueme Michael Thelwell. What remains is a sometimes uneven but always stirring record one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the Twentieth Century.

Carmichael was born in Trinidad, but his life as an activist began with his immersion in the Civil Rights movement at the Bronx High School of Science and then Howard University in the 1950s and 60s. At Howard he joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG) and later, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), through which he drove voter registration efforts in Mississippi and Alabama. Later, as chairman of the SNCC he moved beyond the teachings of nonviolent resistance and forged the Black Power movement, authoring one of its key documents, "Toward Black Liberation" with Thelwell. He became a nationally recognized figure, reviled by leaders on both the left and the right for his apparent abandonment of integration. Yet his vision for black self-determinism would empower a generation of African-American artists, scholars, and leaders to embrace a new vision of African and African-American identity that is still transforming black culture. Eventually, Carmichael settled in Guinea, where he became a member of the ruling party and spent his later years promulgating his vision for Pan-African revolution.

In the introduction to Ready for Revolution, Thelwell admits that, in keeping the story faithful to the recordings, he left it essentially a "first draft" of Carmichael's vision. Thelwell's intrusions in the text, whether his own points or thoughts of others whom he interviewed are bracketed--while this formal approach honors Carmichael's words, the passages are often distracting and would have been better left as endnotes. Further, Thelwell seems to let Carmichael's original text stand where some pruning would have been beneficial, notably in Carmichael's overly detailed recounting of his school days. That said, Thelwell has done a great service to African-American studies by shepherding Carmichael's controversial, quirky, and uncompromising autobiography into print. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The firebrand civil rights leader who led the call for Black Power in the 1960s looks back on nearly five decades of protests and freedom fighting in this passionate, posthumous autobiography. In collaboration with his friend Thelwell (a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts), Carmichael, who died in Guinea in 1998, traces his path from immigrant child of Trinidad to charismatic U.S. student activist and unrepentant revolutionary. The story is told largely in Carmichael's own stylish, often thunderous, first-person words and is named for the telephone greeting that the author used for much of his life. It covers the full sweep of events that shaped Carmichael's life: his years at the elite Bronx High School of Science and Howard University; summers spent registering black voters in Mississippi and Alabama; personal encounters with such leaders as Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and Malcolm X; and his sudden decision in 1969 to relocate to Africa and change his name to Kwame Ture. Carmichael also addresses controversial issues that surrounded him as a young civil rights activist: his splits with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers, and reports of ideological struggles with the pacifist King all "[u]tter, utter nonsense," he insists. While Carmichael's love for the African community and its traditions are infectiously passionate, the book's singular perspective, despite being intercut with other interviewees and sources, won't sustain every reader. The book is at its strongest when Carmichael recounts powerful I-was-there anecdotes (most notably from his days as a SNCC organizer in Mississippi) that civil rights historians will devour. At its best, this is a compelling portrait of a radical thinker who radiated charisma and practiced revolution to the end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684850044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684850047
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
W.E.B. Du Bois' prophetic tag about the color line in America being the problem of the 20th Century (still #1 with a bullet in the 21st)may be the great man's greatest understatement. I marvel that Stokely Carmichael(later Kwame Ture)was able to get his arms around the reality of his life and strange times as profoundly as he does. Fortunately for us, confidence was never his problem.

This book is a sustained narrative, in equal parts autobiography, historical analysis, and oral history.

Like SNCC itself, this work is focused, disciplined and deeply grounded in the freedom struggles of African people in communities like Cambridge, Maryland, Greenwood, Mississippi and Lowndes County, Alabama. Stokely's recap of events that made the walls of segregation come tumbling down is illuminated by luminaries like Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer. But it's the voices of the real stars of the Movement -- Mr. Hartman Turnbow, E.W. Steptoe, Victoria Gray, Annie Pearl Avery and Endesha Holland -- that, rightly, get pride of place in his retelling.

Thanks and praises to Ekwueme Michael Thelwell for midwifing a masterpiece. Show me a biography or an autobiography in which the text does not "stitch together" memory and chronology, fact and fiction, people and places -- and I'll assume you do your reading in the checkout line at the supermarket. Thelwell includes just enough of Stokely's vocal mannerisms to convey his live voice and real personality, without allowing them to become tics and distractions. His parenthetical asides may challenge readers with attention deficit issues, but personally, I found they captured Thelwell unraveling small mysteries about his friend. Check out the one where Thelwell muses about where Carmichael really was during the March on Washington.
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By A Customer on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have always felt that Kwame / Stokely did not get the appropriate historical recognition that he deserved. After his relocation to Africa he was all but forgotten in the west except for those that remembered his "Black Power" years. This is unfortunate! The man did so much work on the part of the oppressed that he should be remembered for the pioneer and visionary that he was.
This much awaited biography covers much of the gaps and unknowns regarding his work post-1970, but unfortunately one of the tapes which Kwame made about his work with the All-African Peoples Revolutionary party went missing and it is this work which I and many others might be most interested in knowing about. My hope is that this information will one day find the light of day.
Details regarding Kwame's associations with Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Martin Luther King jr, Huey Newton and others are illuminating and insightful, but I would have liked to know more about his political work with Yasser Arafat, Mommar Ghadafi and Oliver. Given the fact that time was running out for Kwame I am sure it would have been a much different book had the circumstances been otherwise.
I found the biography engaging and would recommend it to anyone interested in the revolutionary nationalist movements of the past 40 years. Kwame / Stokely was definitely someone that "arrived early and stayed late" unlike many activists of his generation.
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Format: Paperback
This opus is Stokely Carmichael's (Kwame Ture's) last known, wonderful, parting gift to us--his autobiography, covering his rich political career and adventurous life.

It explains his unique contributions to the 500-year,long, political Struggle of over 38 million marginalized Africans-in-America for liberty, equality, justice and freedom--in the face of brutal white-racist terrorism--supported (directly/indirectly) by America's elites who allowed "apart-hate" relations to persist in the country (while they blathered for decades about fighting wars to promote democracy and freedom abroad).

If you are old enough to have read and heard the plethora of vicious slanders against Carmichael--orchestrated by enemies of freedom operating in the mainstream media--you will now be able to correlate their untruths with details,facts and specific events provided in this 835 pages book to draw your own conclusion.

Carmichael rode the "freedom train" with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into the veritable pits of racist hell "down" South, as Americans struggled for civil rights during the 1960s, risking imprisonment, police beatings, water hoses, dogs and even life and limbs.

It is a miracle that he survived the treacheries of the period to tell this tale. Some of his great collaborators did not make it, including Malcolm X and Dr. King. They were among those criminally put down by assassins during the 1960s.

It is indeed a miracle that the well-known "Black Power" activist, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) wrote this big book, along with his life-long friend, Michael Thelwell, while dying from cancer. Carmichael died in 1998 at the age of 57.

Carmichael's book reads like an action-adventure novel, filled with chair-gripping dangers and humor.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an important document. Stokely Carmichael/Toure was a person you either loved or hated, no in-between, but he was indeed an important person of the Civil Rights era. E. Michael Thelwell, who edited this book, sat down extensively with the Stoke before his death to preserve his memoirs. The Stoke that appears here is not quite the wild man often quoted in the sixties. The rhetoric about "honkies," crude sexism, and xenophobia of some of his old speeches are absent here. Stoke clarifies his stands as being more of a socilaist humanitairan (as well as still being a Pan-Africanist), but he does not acknowledge many of his errors of that time. Some readers will have a problem with Thelwells' constant injections, which explain some of the names, people, and events that the Stoke talks about to those not familiar with the sixties. This may help some readers and annoy others, but it may be necessary since the generation who knew such things firsthand will soon be gone. In either case, it's an important document of an interesting era from one of it's major players.
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