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Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion Hardcover – September 25, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

It is an irony of our human condition, writes David Horowitz, that the efforts by progressive radicals to make the world “a better place” have also been the chief source of human suffering from the beginning of time. Bestselling author David Horowitz, once a radical himself, has now written Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion—his ultimate reflection on radicalism and its inevitably tragic consequences, focusing his analysis not on abstract ideology but on the people who have embraced it.

Among those profiled in Radicals:

  • The witty and brilliant, if self-destructive, Christopher Hitchens, a friend who had second thoughts but couldn’t break with his radical faith
  • Bettina Aptheker, whose troubled life illustrates the totalitarian dimensions of radical feminism
  • Cornel West, a celebrity academic whose preposterous success is a reflection on the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the liberal culture
  • Saul Alinsky, the radical mentor of the most successful leftist politicians of our time, from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama

Incisive in its critique, and alternatively moving and devastating in its portraits of leading radicals, Horowitz’s book lays bare the roots of radicalism, how it is abetted by liberalism, and how liberals have utterly failed to learn from its repeated personal and political disasters.

From the Back Cover

Praise for David Horowitz:

“David Horowitz is one of America’s most important and interesting thinkers.”
Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias

“The most brilliant political mind in America.”
Dennis Miller, author of The Rant Zone

“David Horowitz is a national treasure.”
Roger Kimball, author of The Long March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America

Praise for David Horowitz’s previous book Point in Time:

“David Horowitz is so powerful a polemist that it is often forgotten how beautifully he writes.”
Norman Podhoretz, author of Why Are Jews Liberals?

“I have admired David Horowitz for decades. He has taught me many important lessons. But never have I been so moved by his writing as I am by this brief and profound book.”
Dennis Prager, author of Still the Best Hope

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; First Edition edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596988126
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596988125
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bernard Chapin on September 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I just got this sent to me in the mail by Regnery and I'm very pleased. Few people on this earth know the political left as well as David Horowitz. He is a meticulous and revealing historian of radicalism and continues to be one in these pages. The writing here is the quality of "The Politics of Bad Faith" and I'm glad to see that he penned it without a coauthor. All Horowitz, all excellence! These chapters are thoroughly fleshed out portraits of leftist regressives who so dominate and paralyze our country at present. Probably the best known in this collection are Christopher Hitchens and Cornell West, but I found his examination of the two feminist figures to be most enlightening as they characterize perfectly the dysfunction and mental disturbance that is feminism. The finest chapter may be chapter six concerning Saul Alinsky titled, "A Radical Machiavelli." However, every paragraph is educational and of value. Radicals is a must read in this election year. I hope the majority of Americans are able to "wake up" this November and end our nation's dalliance with socialism. David Horowitz continues to be a first class author long after the passing of his 70th birthday. That's great news to every conservative. In my view, Mr. Horowitz is an American monument.
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Format: Hardcover
"A map of the world that did not show Utopia", said Oscar Wilde, "would not be worth consulting." In this regard Wilde foreshadowed the preference of most of the characters described in "Radicals, Portraits Of A Destructive Passion" a new book by David Horowitz.

Horowitz has written over 20 books, numerous articles and has appeared on countless television programs. It is fair to say that he possesses a keen perception and an unusually incisive mind. As a radical during the 1960s, whose parents were staunch members of the Communist Party, he was the editor of Ramparts magazine and was involved in almost every cause dear to the heart of the Left. In his new book he reveals the tune the Devil is whistling and does so with a precision that comes from whistling it so long and so well himself.

The second paragraph of his introduction gives a hint of what is to come: "The desire to make things better is an impulse essential to our humanity. But taken beyond the limits of what is humanly possible, the same hope is transformed into a destructive passion until it becomes a desire to annihilate whatever stands in the way of the beautiful idea. Nihilism is thus the practical extreme of the radical project. Consequently, the fantasy of a redeemed future has repeatedly led to catastrophic results as progressive radicals pursue their impossible schemes."

To illustrate this Horowitz describes his dealings with, and knowledge of, a cast of characters some of whom had "second thoughts" but could never quite discard the squalid sort of romantic idealism that so often led to evil confirming Benjamin Franklin's observation that "inclination is too strong for reason.
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Format: Hardcover
Saul Alinsky, "dedicates his signature work, "Rules for Radicals," to the devil, the
first rebel."

Alinsky also preached "The American System should be burned to the ground, but to achieve this goal you must conceal your intentions. Conceal the goal and you can accomplish anything."

This is an important book about radicals written by a former radical who finally decided that utopian societies were only fantasies that could never actually exist.

In 232 pages and six chapters plus a short introduction David Horowitz shines a spot light on several important radicals including Alinsky and Obama. The six chapters are titled "The Two Christophers, Feminist Accuser, Cultural Decline, Pardoned Bombers, Liberated Woman," and "A Radical Machiavelli."

The last chapter is mostly about Saul Alinsky and his two most famous long-term practitioners and acolytes, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

"By profession Saul Alinsky was a `community organizer,' but like everything else in his political life the term was a calculate camouflage for his real agenda, which was a world-transforming revolution (the original title of his most famous book was "Rules For Revolution"). Alinsky's preferred identification was `rebel,' and his entire career was devoted to the destruction of America's social order, which he regarded as oppressive and unjust, and--in his words--worthy of `burning.'"

"Alinsky came of age in the 1930s, where he was drawn to the world of the gangsters he encountered while doing field studies as a graduate student in sociology at the University of Chicago.
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Format: Hardcover
This is another in a series of excellent books by David Horowitz on the destructive effects of Leftist/Radical politics by those who call themselves Progressives, but who are in truth Socialists/Communists, in eternal, but hopeless, search for the promised Communist Utopia or Promised Land. Horowitz offers compelling portraits of key figures in the Progressive pantheorn, such as Christopher Hitchens, Cornel West, Saul Alinsky, Bettina Aptheker, along with other lesser known radical actors like the bombers Linda Evans and Kathy Boudin, all discussed with penetrating, incisive insights into their motivations, rationalizations, and writings. It is a thoroughly engrossing book, hard to put down, and one of Horowitz's best in showing that the inevitable result of the Leftist revolutionaly aspiration is chaos, which leads inexorably to a totalitarian state.
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