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Reveille for Radicals Paperback – October 23, 1989


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Frequently Bought Together

Reveille for Radicals + Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals + Rules for Radicals Defeated: A Practical Guide for Defeating Obama/Alinsky Tactics
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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: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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


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

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Action and reflection.
Jules D Edwards
This has been a humbling read as well as very impacting in reinvigorating efforts to better understand his philosophical impact.
Keith Heck
This is a short book, but a mandatory read for Americans who want to see where President Obama wants to take our country.
Rob Weinhold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on April 5, 2003
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By john Lampe on September 18, 2013
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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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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By W. Fleming on April 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
It would be well advised to take caution with the "one star reviews" on this classic book as you first have to read the book in order to make informed comments. A simple, "it bored me," probably means you left a review based on your personal political views, and not based on actually reading the book. With that said, Saul's 1946 book is a kind of a rules for the road for activists/community organizers. Even though it was written in the industrial 40s, much of the information applies today, especially that there are certain factions of government and private entities that do not wish for the people to organize. An organized society, of course, means less power for those who are addicted to control and power. As the old saying goes, "If you want change, you have to be the change." And this, to me, is the essence of Reveille (and Rules). Society is a group of people working together and surviving together... together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dok Yun on July 5, 2013
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith Heck on April 25, 2014
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It is always refreshing to read someone who for years you have argued against, due to his societal impact, and to better understand the rationale for his influence. This has been a humbling read as well as very impacting in reinvigorating efforts to better understand his philosophical impact.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jesus Altamirano on December 31, 2013
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This is a wonderful read for anyone seeking to be a better organizer. Though the book may be a tad dated, Alinksky's methods ring true still.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rob Weinhold on May 18, 2013
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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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43 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Adams on May 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
With the vision of an idealist but the experience of a seasoned organizer, Alinsky presents a clear picture of both the unequal America he saw in 1946 and the democracy he believed America could be. He does not stop there, however. He also provides a blueprint for moving from the society of inequalilty and injustice into a land where the poor, powerless and disadvantaged are empowered and our democracy enriched.
That blueprint is this manual for building community-wide power in the form of People's Organizations. It was meant as an inspirational guide to community organizers interested in replicating what Alinksy had done initially in the Back of Yards neighborhood of Chicago and later in other cities across the United States including Buffalo and Kansas City. It has become a timeless text explaining both why and how to organize.
Alinsky draws on his experience as a community organizer to explain the role an organizer can play in the process of building neighborhood power. He also explains with insightful anecdotes what obstacles the organizer and the nacent organization he attempts to construct are likely to face as they take on the powers that be. He is a spellbinding storyteller.
Reveille for Radicals differs from the better known and more popular book that was to follow in the 70s, Rules for Radicals. It is more urgent, less cynical, and less humorous. In that sense it has a purer and more naive tone. But the simpler picture of America he presents is, if anything, clearer and more powerful. It strikes an especially loud chord today -- as the inequalities he addressed in 1946 have grown increasingly stark and apparent.
There are many books about social change and injustice that are more current, but none are more useful today than this one.
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