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Revolutionary Suicide Paperback – April, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Paperback, April, 1995
$58.16 $3.42
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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From the Back Cover

In October 1967, one year after the founding of the Black Panther Party, Huey Newton was involved in a shooting during which an Oakland police officer was killed. Newton spent three years in prison before being released and having his charges dismissed, and his jailing brought cries of "Free Huey" from supporters around the world. This engrossing and well-written autobiography recounts the forming of a revolutionary and shows how the degrading and psychologically destructive penal system forged Newton's already growing spirit. When Newton was a child, his father instilled in him a sense of dignity and pride; as an adolescent, he was torn between religious principles and life as a hustler; as a young man, he founded the radical Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale, and finally, in solitary confinement in the Alameda County Jail, he reached deep within himself to find the strength to face adversity; and even death without fear. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Born the son of a Baptist minister in 1942 in Monroe, Louisiana, Huey P. Newton moved to Oakland, California, with his family at the age of three. Although functionally illiterate upon graduating from high school, he taught himself to read by studying Plato’s Republic. Newton enrolled at Oakland City College, where he campaigned successfully to have black history included in the curriculum. While at the college, he became familiar with the writings of Marx, Lenin, Frantz Fanon, and Chairman Mao. In 1966, with Bobby Seale, Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, an organization in which Newton served as minister of defense. Though perhaps best known for their community street patrols, which openly displayed loaded firearms, the Black Panthers also sponsored breakfast programs for poor children and provided shoes and health care for the needy in the black community. Convicted in 1968 of manslaughter in the shooting death of Oakland police officer John Frey in 1968, Newton spent more than a year and a half in prison before his conviction was reversed. After a series of mistrials, the case against Newton was voluntarily dismissed. After reaching its high-water mark in 1970, when it claimed several thousand members, the Black Panther Party steadily declined, undermined in part by the efforts of the FBI. Accused of another murder in 1974, Newton jumped bail and spent the next three years in Cuba, after which he returned to the United States to stand trial and was acquitted of the charge. Newton earned a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1980. He was shot to death by a gang member in 1989. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Writers & Readers (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863163262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863163265
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,294,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael C. Howard on August 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a white middle class generation x'er, I knew nothing of the Black Panthers or Huey Newton that was based on personal knowledge or experience. What I had heard was that they were radical, dangerous, and hated white folks. That seemed overly simplistic, so I decided to look into the black power movement for myself. Of all the books I read on the movement (Malcolm, Eldridge Cleaver, SNCC, Soledad Brother, etc...), Revolutionary Suicide was the best.

First off, Huey is the best writer of all the writers I read on the subject. That includes both the primary books and the secondary interpretive books written by historians. Huey's writing reflects his life philosophy, he lives for the people and therefore writes for the people. He doesn't seek to impress the reader with a fantastic grasp of the english language. He writes simply and matter-of-factly, much as a good journalist does. This to-the-point writing style more engrossing than any of the other books I read on the movement.

Second, Huey, unlike many other movement leaders, doesn't look to hog the glory for himself. He is very upfront about what he was responsible for and what he collaberated on with others. He passes the glory around liberally (some would say too much) to spread the power to the people.

Finally, this book will give you a primary understanding of who Huey P. Newton was and what he was really about. Did he hate white people? Did he advocate armed revolution? Was he a murderer and thug? Read it for yourself.
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Format: Paperback
If you're going to study the Black Panther Party, you of course must check out a story of its preminent leader. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. He gave me an understanding what it meant to be a radical Black activist during the 60s and 70s. It meant that you had to be courageous, committed, and five steps ahead of the cops, the FBI, and informants.
Of course, now, this is Huey's account of the Party. While his is seriously important, the works of other Panthers and scholars who are now publishing works about the Panthers must also be studied. For now that I'm reading a biography on another Panther leader, Geronimo Pratt, I'm very interested in understanding more about the political split that took place in the BPP. Why did Huey expell Pratt from the Party? Why did Eldridge Cleaver turn out to be so reactionary? I look forward to reading other books on the Panthers to answer these and other questions.
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of the first and only unaltered accounts of the Black Panther Party by somebody who was in it. The book is in Huey's compassionate voice. This book dispells rumors about the BPP Huey set the record straight. This is my favorite book of all time its a book for the ages.
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By Jim Watts on December 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the wake of the recent deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, a critical eye has again been placed on police in America. And in light of police response to Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins' support for Tamir Rice and John Crawford and the overt authoritarian attitudes of American police in general, Huey Newton's words are powerfully relevant today and an essential historical read.

Revolutionary Suicide is not only an excellent firsthand account of the Black Panther Party, as Newton himself was its co-founder, but is also a gripping coming-of-age story. Newton recounts his spiritual growth and psychological maturation often philosophically starting from the uncertainty and insecurity of childhood. He directs you through his personal and political actions encompassing the stages of his development as a human being, eventually solidifying, by self-realization, his place in the world.

My relationship with this book is especially sentimental because of its involvement in my own journey through adolescence into adulthood. For that reason, I recommend it to all young black men who would indubitably benefit from Huey's words as I've done ever since I first lifted the front cover.
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Format: Hardcover
What can I say, that hasn't already been said? Huey P. Newton was a very complex individual, and I find myself reading a section over a second time to digest what was written. It's worth it no doubt. When you start to read this book, you will not be disappointed, Newton sheds light on even personal matters like falling in love, and views on family. This is great if you want specifics on Mr. Newton himself, and not just the BPP as a whole.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have always known about Huey P Newton for as long as I can remember but this text brought to life the struggles of black or poor people's in this country and their and My own experiences in a raw way.

It does leave me wondering about Huey and his eventual succumbs to drug addiction. I wonder if he finally lost his spirit due to such demanding responsibilities and activities for the people.

Contrary to many of the reviewers, I do not see him as crazed or insane, nor as someone with a low IQ. I see him as a genius who had a rare combination of intelligence and determination coupled with action. A true revolutionary. It is sad so many see him as crazy. In reality he was courageous.

And FWIW, Huey mentioned how racists IQ test were in the past. Please research the history of IQ tests and you will see they were originally developed to measure the intellect of wealthier Europeans and so we're biased against other ethnic groups, even eastern Europeans, the Irish, and Italians. IQ tests have been revised to include measurements of different types of intelligence today, but just reading this text should show you the test on Huey was some bull.
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