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Rules for Radicals [Kindle Edition]

Saul Alinsky
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (599 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $8.02
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Book Description

First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.




From the Trade Paperback edition.


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 Trade 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.

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
123 of 132 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling, Disturbing and Eye-Opening August 25, 2014
Format:Paperback
First off, unlike most of the negative reviewers, I'm a pretty liberal guy. I first flipped through this book 12 years ago when I was involved in some progressive/anti-war groups in college. I was disturbed then, but I didn't pay it much mind, I just put the book away and found other ones that spoke to me. Several years later, I was working in the non-profit sector working with local community service organizations and someone recommended it to me. I knew that it had now gotten more mainstream attention since its affiliation with Obama, so I decided to take another look. Again, I was immediately turned off.

Now with the situation in Ferguson, I happened to read this book mentioned in my news feed. This time, I decided to read the whole thing. I was disgusted & appalled. What's most disturbing is how influential this book has been in leftist circles.

The book isn't about building communities, eliminating poverty and achieving social and economic justice. It's simply a guide on how to manipulate disempowered people by getting them angry at some external source, setting people up as "enemies" to be the object of people's hatred, whether they deserve it or not, and exploiting poor people for political gain rather doing a single thing that actually addresses their poverty.

I realize now, that this book is the worst thing to happen to the American left. The income gap has widened, schools are becoming as segregated as they were prior to Brown v. Board, and more poor people are in prison than ever. Dreams of a college education and home ownership, something that we made great progress in the 1960's are quickly becoming a fading fantasy. Part of this has to do with the push for privatization, and the rise of the prison-industrial complex, for sure.
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587 of 656 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Explains a Lot of Things ... 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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155 of 184 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Radical's Book September 18, 2009
Format:Paperback
This book is a methodical collection of thoughts, actions, and principles from the master 1930s-70s radical, Saul Alinsky, for maximizing opportunities to influence masses of people into rejecting and fighting the status quo. If you share Alinsky's basic and fundamental beliefs, this book is a great 'how-to' for becoming a radical and political activist. If you are opposed to Alinsky's political activism, born out of his negative outlook of and perspectives on our American way of life, this book can help you understand the methods and the 'madness' of those people and forces that disrupt and try to tear down our traditional societal norms.

This book was not an easy read for I disagreed strongly with what he said about my country that I love and his general outlook on life. Alinsky used the following terms interchangeably: "activist," "radical," "organizer," "agitator,"
"revolutionary," and "man of action." Another 'word group' used frequently was the many forms and variations of "organize" and "organizer" - some 356 times in 196 pages. I found his approach to change and reform crafty, cunning, deceitful, insidious, and disingenuous. His methods are masterfully designed to take advantage of our imperfect systems, and human weaknesses and tendencies. Another disturbing aspect of the book was the predominance of militaristic language when discussing the 'how' and 'why' of his logic: war, battle, attack, tactics, enemy, and strategy.

Alinsky was smart and well-read, but I believe he chose to put his intellect and energies to use for detrimental purposes. He offered many observations and perspectives that differed from my own beliefs and experiences, which was not necessarily a problem, but coming after his "acknowledgment to...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of wolves in sheep in sheep's clothing. He is the leader of...
It has been said that Saul Alinsky was absolutely brilliant but evil. I agree. A house divided against itself can not stand. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Michael Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight into how the left thinks.
Published 8 days ago by Gary Hurd
4.0 out of 5 stars A shocking book and insight to how the Left is using these techniques...
Shocking that the Left in our governement are using these tactics to run America. Too many similarities. If you are perceptive, you will see it.
Published 8 days ago by Gisele M
5.0 out of 5 stars A-1
Great people to deal with Thanks
Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Still revelant today
Watching todays events unfold is to read this book. This a guide to the lefts racist hate bating rhetoric such as Ferguson and Zimmerman.
Published 20 days ago by Andre Duclos
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this the Rush Limbaugh Strategy and Tactics Guide or what?
I read this book cause I heard Rush Limbaugh refer to it so much. I was surprised to find that even though this book is usually thought to represent tactics used by elements of... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Niucame
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Good read, kind of scary. Made me feel insignificant]
Published 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars The Game Plan for Social and Political Activists
Read it as a primer from a teacher on how some people should attack the systems from within rather than how to burn them down from the outside. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Bob Vanourek
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
now I see where the President gets his ideas
Published 26 days ago by phildt
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book for those interested in politics!!!!!
Published 1 month ago by RL Harriman
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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.

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organizing for america recommends this book to high school students
This is the current administrations ( president Obama's ) handbook. NO WONDER
Jul 16, 2010 by Dennis A. Thomas |  See all 5 posts
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