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Reveille for Radicals Paperback – October 23, 1989
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—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.”
From the Inside Flap
"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
"I consider him to be one of the few really great men of our century."
-- Jacques Maritain
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Here's an example of Alinsky tactics at their best: teenagers are going to the gambling dens, and their parents don't approve. The community organizers discover who runs the gambling house (named "Honest John" for the purposes of the book), and that he craves respectability. So they create a juvenile deliquency committee, make Honest John the head of it, and have someone bring up the teenager problem. Honest John discovers that his desire to be respectable outweighs whatever money he gets from teenagers, and goes along with the rest of the committee.
Some of my fellow Republicans like to compare Obama to Alinsky, but it seems to me the comparison is quite absurd except in a very broad sense. Both Obama and Alinsky are progressives with vaguely similar ideological goals such as a more generous welfare state.
But Alinsky was most interested in the nitty-gritty of local politics and community relations; he wrote about how to bring together a coalition of neighbors around the narrowest of issues. Moreover, Obama is much more focused on broad national issues, and seems to me to be better at abstract logic than in the one-on-one human relations that Alinsky writes about. For example, if Obama had been the community organizer in the "Honest John" situation, he would have given a speech about how Honest John was obstructing progress, gotten nothing done, and moved on to the next issue.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wanted to know more about Saul Alinsky since he was Obama and Hilary Clinton's mentor.Published 1 day ago by jill l. myers
A very good introduction to the mind of a rabble-rousing Marxist genius.Published 6 months ago by Howard C. Mayberry, Jr.
Very insightful into what the other side thinks and makes it very easy to point out their inconsistencies.
But don't pay money for this garbage.
I read it online. Read more
Shocking that this is happening to our country.....thought provoking and upsetting.Published 15 months ago by Gisele M