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Reveille for Radicals Paperback – October 23, 1989

3.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

From the Inside Flap

First published in 1946 and updated in 1969 with a new Introduction and Afterword, this volume represents the fullest statement of the political philosophy and practical methodology of one of the most important figures in the history of American radicalism. Like Thomas Paine before him, Saul Alinsky, through the concept and practice of community organizing, was able to embody for his era both the urgency of radical political action and the imperative of rational political discourse. His work and writing bequeathed a new method and style of social change to American communities that will remain a permanent part of the American political landscape.
"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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (October 23, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679721126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679721123
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was Alinsky's first and most impassioned writing. In it, he shows in detail the techniques he employed in putting together much of his activism, which ended up being called the Alinsky doctrine later on.
Overall, I thought this book was great to impassion a reader new to the subject, yet as a guidebook for a new "radical", I thought his later (and less impassioned, though more passionate than 99% of other books) "Rules for Radicals" was much more clear minded. As he writes in the later book, much of Reveille was written during his time in prison, which shows.
Personally, I recommend reading Rules first, and then proceeding to Reveille. The reader will benefit from his clear minded analysis in Rules, to then better understand his arguments and passion in Reveille.
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If want to know what is driving President Obama's agenda, this book answers many questions regarding where his strategy originated. Saul Alinsky was a 60's radical and you will see the parallels between the two men very clearly. This is a short book, but a mandatory read for Americans who want to see where President Obama wants to take our country. Each reader can be the judge of the final outcome.
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I admire Saul Alinsky's passion as a true believer. He was the real deal wither or not you agree with his methods and philosophy. I enjoyed reading his work as literature/history/adventure of his life. I don't personal agree with all his thoughts.

This book is the precursor to " Rules For Radicals". You don't need to buy both ( as I did) . Rules For Radicals ( written years later) is basically the better version of Reveille for Radicals.
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Read as research on a follow up to a Conservative email. The email was a fabrication of what Mr. Alinsky stated. Though he refers to his social opposition as the enemy, he never refers to destroying America nor is he a Communist.
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Saul Alinsky terrified a certain segment of America. So much so that his legacy as an organizer is still talked about today, with part reverence, part wagging fingers. He fought for the people, the Have-nots, against the giants of the society, the Haves. The fight was/is inherently mismatched, like fighting a tank with stones and broken sticks. The poor may have power in numbers, but Alinsky had to be utterly objective in seeing the world to utilize that power - starting from where the people and circumstances are, not from where he would have liked them to be. All that tactics and strategies he hurled against the Haves had been transcribed in this book, though perhaps bit more coherently in Rules for Radicals.

I have huge respect for Saul Alinsky not only for his body of work, but also for his prowess as a writer. His prose feels like they are crackling every page. He had a solid grip on how human minds worked and could put them down on his page beautifully. On the side note, reading his books ironically helped me re-assess my political stance, to be in more middle lane. I was a staunch liberal years ago, forming my opinions based on the color of my flag. Now I understand that everyone, poor or rich, is moved by self-interest. This is neither good nor bad; just the way it is. Saul Alinsky knew that, and articulated it to himself honestly. But that's part of being objective, and another leap towards more power for his cause.

Regardless of where you stand politically, this is a solid book on strategies and power.
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A very good introduction to the mind of a rabble-rousing Marxist genius.
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By Dan Hale on December 29, 2015
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Saul is the man with the plan. So inspirational.
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This is a must read it you want to understand the mindset of those in power today. Check out Saul Alinsky's other book 'Rules for Radicals' it is the foundation of what is happening today.
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