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Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  103 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Revolution In The Air is the first in-depth study of the long march of the US New Left after 1968. It tells the story of the ‘new communist movement’ which was the most racially integrated and fast-growing movement on the Left. Thousands of young activists, radicalized by the Vietnam War and Black Liberation, and spurred on by the Puerto Rican, Chicano and Asian-American m ...more
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published June 17th 2002 by Verso (first published June 2002)
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James Tracy
Jan 10, 2008 James Tracy rated it really liked it
An anarchist friend of mine said that this book made him understand, and no longer hate, socialists and that is no small feat. Personally, I learned a lot from it, very important history of the trajectory of the New Communist Movement in the United States. This generation's activists will need to grapple with the exact same issues: empire, white supremacy etc.etc. etc. Thanks to Max Elbaum no one has to start from scratch.

All throughout, there were small details and large concepts I didn't know
Dan Sharber
i really liked this book thought i am not sure how to process it all. and more importantly what it means for organizing a socialist left in the here and now. if you are interested in radical history or the real project of organizing for a socialist future then you should absolutely read this book. there are lessons here - plenty of them too - but they are for you to mull over and for you to apply.
Dec 15, 2013 Zeke rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There is some useful work here showing the background and forces behind the upsurge of revolutionary movements originating in the 1960's United States.

But folded into that all throughout the book, in this indirect round-about method, so you have to get your pencil out read closely to figure out what is being said. Which is basically includes things like: Forget Marxism-Leninism. Don't build a vanguard party. Don't talk about revolution. Communism was bad. Don't use that word. Put all that aside
Oct 10, 2013 Micah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty remarkable book. It's a very detailed account of the New Communist Movement of the 1960s written by a central participant in it. But it's done not with a spirit of self-aggrandizement or rehashing and settling of old scores (these actually can't be found anywhere within the book), but to honestly take stock of what the NCM got right and wrong. Elbaum doesn't seem to hold back much on criticizing the sectarian nature of the movement (which, in my eyes, seem to be its defining cha ...more
Nov 23, 2007 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone intersted in the history of the New Communist Movement
Max Elbaum provides one of the first histories of its kind of what is called the New Communist Movement that emerged from the late-1960s and materialized in the 1970s in the US. It serves as a very good outline of general trends, though it lacks an in-depth view into different organizations. Similarly, it lacks a lot of depth into specific campaigns or watershed events when discussing major points in the movement.

Also, I do not agree with his poorly constructed analysis at the end of the book. H
Mar 02, 2008 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, movement, sds, racism
a thorough and interesting look at the New Communist Movement of the post-New Left 1970s. at first it was hard to relate to the protagonists of this book because of their Leninist/Maoist ideas and vanguardist tactics, but the author does a great job explaining why such philosophies and organizational structures fit the context of the time period, and does a fair job criticizing their sectarian and dogmatic natures. anyway, the benefit of this book for me was that it gave me a better understandin ...more
Mar 20, 2013 V rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1960s, communism
This is a good history of Communist parties in the late 1960s and 1970s and how they related to the activism and/or revolutionary politics of the 1960s. For the most part, it does what it sets out to do--tells a history of a bunch of obscure little parties that largely failed to have much of an impact. It does that well.

However, there are a few errors in the book--for example characterizing the Weather Underground as anarchist--and relatively little engagement with criticisms of the party-buildi
sonny singh suchdev
i just saw max elbaum at the brecht forum last weekend so it reminded me of this book, which is a great personal history of the U.S. new communist left of the late 60s and 70s -- a really honest and critical assessment of the revolution(s) that was brewing forty years ago. a whole lot to learn from the past. and if you want to know more about the sectarian U.S. left, this book is a great place to start.
Mar 02, 2008 Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elbaum is a sharp one. But I wouldn't recommend this book for people who aren't interested in the minutia of left political parties. The party names, splinters, mergers etc. get a little confusing. But it is interesting to understand differences in theory and strategy among left parties.
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