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The Activist's Handbook: A Primer Updated Edition with a New Preface Paperback – February 5, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0520229280 ISBN-10: 0520229282 Edition: First Edition, Updated Edition with a New Preface

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Updated Edition with a New Preface edition (February 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520229282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520229280
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[An] excellent resource guide for progressives." -Jordan Elgrably, Los Angeles View; "This is a unique book, wise, realistic, and enormously valuable for anyone interested in social change. It is practical in its advice, and inspiring in its stories of ordinary people successfully confronting powerful interests." - Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States; "The Activist's Handbook lives up to its title and will likely join the company of organizing classics. It is the kind of book that should be on every activist's reading list." -Chris Ney, Nonviolent activist"

From the Inside Flap

"Anybody researching or writing anything about contemporary U.S. political life should be familiar with The Activist's Handbook. Anybody attempting to influence local, state, or national political decisions needs it desperately. Politicians may read it and tremble a bit. For that matter, the rich and powerful will probably read it to see how smart some of their enemies are becoming."—Ernest Callenbach, author of Ecotopia

"Provides rare insight into the strategies and tactics environmentalists must use if they are to succeed in today's political climate. A must read."—Barbara Dudley, Executive Director, Greenpeace

"This is a unique book, wise, realistic, and enormously valuable for anyone interested in social change. It is practical in its advice, and inspiring in its stories of ordinary people successfully confronting powerful interests."—Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"The Activist's Handbook could not have come at a more opportune time. In an era when poverty is growing and national social programs are threatened, the Handbook is an invaluable tool for community groups wishing to mobilize efforts in the service of escalating human needs."—Ben Bagdikian, author of The Media Monopoly and Double Vision

"Randy Shaw gives us a serious and respectful treatment of the strategic problems and opportunities that confront grassroots activists. This is a dimension of contemporary politics that is rarely treated, and welcome for that reason. Moreover, in developing his analysis, Shaw draws on numerous cases of local struggles to remind us of what the media has come to ignore, the persistent and insuppressible popular activism that is part of American political life."—Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York

"The Activist's Handbook lives up to its title and will likely join the company of organizing classics. It is the kind of book that should be on every activist's reading list."—Chris Ney, Nonviolent activist

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David C N Swanson on December 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Even if you're not an activist and don't want to be, as long as you have any sort of interest in social change, this book will be well worth reading. Packed with examples of how movements have succeeded and failed, this extremely readable handbook will inspire through its analysis of strategies and tactics that can be used to accomplish what many of us desperately want. Most of us understand already that simply arguing for social justice will fail to achieve it, but -- as Shaw demonstrates -- Herculean efforts, if miscalculated, will just as surely fail. In this book, Shaw describes successful strategies for community organizers, effective relationships with elected officials, the use of coalitions, ballot initiatives, the media, lawyers, and direct action strategies. The most persuasive theme tying each of these discussions together is that the best defense is an effective offense, that a failure to aggressively pursue positive change is a strategy for worsening the status quo.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is highly readable and has GREAT examples and tips. The author shows examples where organizations succeeded and where they failed. As a novice activist, I found it to be very helpful. The examples are diverse so I think there is a great deal for more experienced activits to learn as well. The only drawback of this book is that it focuses only on domestic issues. For those whose causes are on the international level as well as the domestic level would find that to be the only draw back. Still, this is a useful book with great examples and ideas that any activist could use and relate to their own campaign.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra Norman on May 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't particularly care for the author's writing style. I had to do a few critical analysis from the chapters of this book and didn't find it too difficult to follow along.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book shares triumphs, as well as failures, in bringing about grassroots social change. It gives valuable incites into methods that work, as well as ones that don't. It is a historical document of the past 3-4 decades of "the people" bringing about change in society (or trying too). As a social change activist myself, it is very valuable tool!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on August 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am almost finished with the book, The Activist's Handbook, and I must say, it is the best book on the subject that I have read. Shaw's insights into why certain tactics and strategies fail when organizing a campaign are spot-on in my experience. His use of case-study examples for each chapters makes the book relevant for activists in any arena. Particularly when I was reading a news article today, I had a better understanding of all of the implications of the State Department giving the green light to the Keystone pipeline. Big fan of the book and would recommend it to anyone and everyone!
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