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Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. Paperback – 1972

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (1972)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000PYR23Y
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Critical thought on March 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
The first thing I did when starting this review is to look at the price printed on the front cover — $1.95, and Amazon is asking $15.98 for a list price of $25.00? Is that right? I also don’t remember the pages of my copy being so tan colored.

There are many war stories in the book, and that’s what turned me off. If all you want to do is to get political power and you don’t care how you do it, these tactics can bear fruit. But watch out, in winning the battle, in the long run you can lose the war.

I read years ago a history about one town’s efforts to integrate where there was so much bitterness over the tactics used, that when finally one of the top prizes to be integrated, the public swimming pool, was to be opened, there was no public swimming pool. The battle was won, the order sent out to integrate the public pool, but the war lost because the pool was no more. This history is not recounted in the book.

On another level, these tactics can backfire. If you are one of those like me who has no political power and no desire to get it, where the main conflict is the battle of ideas, the most powerful weapons mentioned in the book and the ones most central in the war stories recounted in the book — ridicule and personalization — will cause you to lose the war. Those are the tactics to make personal enemies who will hinder efforts to get ideas accepted. Those tactics listed in the book are tactics of hate, dishonesty and depersonalization, but the acceptance of ideas demands that people be treated with honor and respect as persons, even when arguing against them, and the ideas presented honestly and truthfully.

The problem with ridicule is that central to ridicule is dishonesty, in short, lies.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T.A.L. Dozer VINE VOICE on October 31, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Radical Rules...

David Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals" was a radical, and successful, community organizer who compiled these controversial organizational tactics in the 1970s. This primer is "The Prince" for the have-nots; it is firmly grounded in the politics of power with minimal ethical considerations. Several generations of community organizers from across the ideological spectrum have now utilized these tactics to help achieve their objectives. Alinsky explains that the first task of an outside organizer is overcoming suspicion and establishing credibility among the local population. After this first step has been accomplished, the organizer must then agitate the local population by stirring resentments and hostilities in order to overcome apathy and encourage participation. Recruitment is most successfully accomplished through established networks, like unions, gangs, churches, or other extant organizations. Lastly, Alinsky lists 13 "rules" for organizers that act more as general guidelines than hard and fast directives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By franck prissert on December 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extremely important book, small and quick to read. It is a guide to organizing, which has Saul Alinsky describes as the way for the "Have nots" to win over the "Haves". He is often described as a communist, which he was not, I myself ordered the book when I had to organize our HOA which is on the conservative side of things. Even there, a microcosm of Haves were using their established power to manipulate their brethren who as a result found themselves in the Have Nots camp. So the rules are valid in any type of circumstances where power needs to be changed.

One thing extra about this book. I was reading it while at the doctor's office waiting for a biopsy. Not exactly a place to sit back and relax. I was laughing so hard that people were looking at me as if I was at the wrong doctor. It is extremely "funny" as it depicts human behavior.
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By Molly on April 27, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh, UGH!!! I am not sure how many pages I tried to read before I felt like I was stuck in a puddle of sticky tar and sinking fast. I thought that I might get some insight into what all the "commies" are doing and what to expect from them as time goes on. But I guess that the spirit of whatever was in this man just continuously repelled me, and no matter how many times I tried I just COULD NOT get interested in this, or find that it had any ideas that even merited a moment's consideration of. Frankly, after several pages, I remember thinking that the man must have been on drugs when he wrote it. It seemed that "unavailable" to me (it was like babble...). I sort of like the lists these people (commies) give where they say things such as how they should attack and defame their enemies--they sort of go on and on about that and how to do it and so forth. But then, when I try to read more on it, once again, it just numbs my mind, for whatever reason. I guess I will have to be satisfied to read the lists of commie plans that other people reference in other books that make more sense, or on web sites where the lists are published and you can see how they have been carrying out their plans. This book is just not for me, not even for educational purposes, and it truly baffles me that anyone would find this man interesting or inspiring in any way. I will keep the book, just in case I ever want to look anything up, but I can't even use it just to see what the guy was like because it is just too weird for me.
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