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Revolutionary Suicide

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  2,154 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews

The searing, visionary memoir of founding Black Panther Huey P. Newton, in a dazzling graphic package

Eloquently tracing the birth of a revolutionary, Huey P. Newton's famous and oft-quoted autobiography is as much a manifesto as a portrait of the inner circle of America's Black Panther Party. From Newton's impoverished childhood on the streets of Oakland to his adolescen

Paperback, 333 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Writers & Readers Publishing (first published 1973)
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Nicole Burton Hi Turkel!
'Revolutionary Suicide' will definitely give you a sense of what Dr. Newton envisioned of the BPP movement, and some of the underlying…more
Hi Turkel!
'Revolutionary Suicide' will definitely give you a sense of what Dr. Newton envisioned of the BPP movement, and some of the underlying philosophies that guided its members. However, if you wish for a more historical account of what organizing in the BPP looked like, I couldn't make a greater recommendation than to search out the first-hand accounts of former party members, male and female. Multiple accounts are important for understanding the scope and complexity of the organization and movement. Cheers!(less)
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Jan 04, 2009 Chante rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity yesterday to read this book (Yes, I read the entire book in one day and I'm a slow reader). A new version is coming out later this year and I was asked to help review the changes.

I knew Huey as a child and I didn't like him. In fact, I was afraid of him. I'd hide behind my father every time I saw him. From the time of his death until now, I've learned more about the man he was, before I was born, and the organization he created. Even still, I knew nothing. Revolutionary Su
May 24, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it
To think that this man was once illiterate up until college boggles my mind. Huey was one in a million, with a sharp mind, a loving heart, and a peaceful soul. His autobiography humanizes a man that many like myself idolize and often place on a pedestal. His book also provides a foundational understanding on the origins and development of the Black Panther Party since day 1 and his criticisms of it. In practicing criticism/self-criticism, my only issue with Huey is his patriarchal/male ...more
Apr 19, 2008 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in African American History
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this in college and alongside the Autobiography of Malcolm X, this book details what is like to define yourself on your own terms. Newton, along with X, was able to create his own identity after realizing the error of the identity that society had given him as a stereotypical young black man. This book really assuages a lot of the wrong stereotypes that exist about the black panther party to this day as well.
Kelly O'Dowd
I think this is something that people need to read.

I learned a lot. More than I can write here. Because this book creates a dialogue. You need to react to this book out loud. It begs you to argue with its ideas.

It also shows the contemporary reader how little things have changed in the police vs black man. And if this white woman can see that, I cannot even fathom how horrible the reality is.

Read this.
Jul 07, 2012 Wick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book rather fascinating. At times it seemed slow and at others I could not put it down. As a historical document it is substantial. Obviously Newton was an incredibly intelligent man regardless of what IQ tests told him. The insight into his early life and trials was fascinating. The media image of the Black Panther Party is still so pervasive that coming in a generation later I have not been as accurately informed on them as I would like to be.

I do wish that he had spoken more of
May 22, 2013 Louis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This man's dedication to the empowerment of the people for liberation through knowledge and not violence was truly an amazing aspect of his character as a human being. Many of my misconceptions about the Black Panther Party were of a racist group who killed and sought blood shed at any turn of the establishment, I personally couldn't have been further from the truth and my past ignorance to this is a welcomed change in my thinking and train of thought. Mr. Newton didn't see the racist police ...more
É F.K. O'Conghaile
Jan 15, 2016 É F.K. O'Conghaile rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, strategy
It's really interesting and educating to read this after Assata's Autobiography. They're well-connected, and even a bit similar. But different in some good ways. All the while, I may have had too high of expectations for this one, as I knew a bit about and it's like -the founder of bpp-, but even beside that, my criticisms are not as significant as they were for, say, Malcolm's X Autobiography.

One criticism I have is Newton's homofobia. It only comes up once, but it's also in a dismissive fashio
Raphael Nelson
Jan 31, 2013 Raphael Nelson rated it really liked it
Poetic, masterful and inspiration Huey's auto biography not only shows the progression of the Black Panther Party from a little group in Oakland to a national threat to white supremacy but also the personal ordeals he endured as revolutionary and his impressive commitment and passion for Black nationalism is remarkable. must read for anyone interested in black liberation theory
my name is corey irl
hard ttoo believe we've gone from overt racism in the oakland police force to borack obama, a black man, as president. the linear progression of freedom is truly a wonder to behold. grod bless america
Jul 04, 2014 Jbondandrews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Huey P Newton's book. I had not much knowledge about the Black Panthers or the pain they suffered by the authorities.
Mar 29, 2015 AC marked it as on-hold-for-now  ·  review of another edition
The first third is quite interesting. But one begins now to suspect a lack of empathy in this man...
Sait Cham
From total illiteracy & an insanely low IQ to a philosophical idealist who intelligently organised one of the most effective freedom movements.

Last year in the UK the government passed a policy that banned books being sent into prisons and after reading Revolutionary Suicide, this new law has saddened me even more than it originally did. A large chunk of Huey's book is dedicated to how Huey's exposure to books is what sparked and carried his change as a man. Just like Malcolm, the books thes
Sham Al-Ghazali
May 31, 2014 Sham Al-Ghazali rated it it was amazing
Incredible insight to one of the greatest men to have touched this earth. From the start of the book it never failed to touch me. From his own motivation to teach himself how to read with Plato's Republic to his perseverance in bringing equality for Black people, Huey did not fail to teach me. I even adored his opinion on the possessive aspects of a relationship and whatnot. I digress, this is an amazing outlook of one of the most amazing leaders of a very beautiful party.

Thank you Huey for tea
Apr 23, 2015 rae rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, seriously.
the man was a genius. his personal story is compelling, and his political and philosophical analysis ... well, take a look for yourself. the book begins with an account of his childhood and ends with eldridge cleaver's defection from the party, so the party's demise and his final year aren't documented here. it's amazing to see the process he went through forming the party and to read his account of the events around his cop-killer trial.
Jan 22, 2015 Maruk rated it it was amazing
Truly inspiring. This book annihilates many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding Huey and the Black Panther Party. After reading this I will definitely like to read memoirs/autobiographies from female Black Panther members. It would be noteworthy to look into sexism and female invisibility inside the party which resulted in the disintegration of the Panthers.
Nov 15, 2007 A-ron rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
It is good to read autobiographies by revolutionaries now and then. If nothing else, it can be inspiring. Huey Newton is certainly inspiring. With all the BS conjecture in the air about the Black Panthers I enjoyed hearing their story from their point of view for a change.

It is also tragic to realize what happened to this man later in life - and not covered by his book.
Oct 20, 2013 Emma rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most stimulating and interesting books I've read in a long time.

And further proof that IQ tests are bull.

And as a paying member of the anti-Cleaver club it was nice to meet the founder and President.
Jul 14, 2010 Jennpants rated it it was amazing
It's a shame how much I've relied on mass-media and various cultural forms to 'educate' myself on the Black Panthers. I'd never fully realized that until I read this book and got more complete idea of what the Black Panther were trying to accomplish when they first began. Amazing.
Aug 12, 2015 Gigi rated it it was amazing
A friend recommended this and I'm glad I picked it up, it was an eye opener. Now I found myself interested in history and non fiction books thanks to this
Ellen Lee
Jun 09, 2015 Ellen Lee rated it it was amazing
So this is kinda overdue since I finished reading it a few days back but y'all should read “Revolutionary Suicide”, Huey Newton’s autobiography. Newton was the founder of the Black Panther Party in the United States, a revolutionary, anti-imperialist black liberation movement that acted on Malcolm X’s idea that justice should be achieved “by any means necessary”. I talked to some housemates about him, and most of them didn’t know who he was, except for one who’d been taught at school to overlook ...more
The genius of this book does not lie within the writing. It is neither eloquently nor beautifully written. This book is not about the birds and the bees. It is not focused on similes and metaphors. This book is about real, deep truth. It is a reflection and response to the pain Black America has encountered at the hands of the oppressor. The genius of this book lies within the man, himself. In his passion, drive and ability to keep the living truth at his forefront. The genius is within his ...more
Jeremy Hermann
Dec 24, 2015 Jeremy Hermann rated it really liked it
When I first approached “Revolutionary Suicide” I had little to no knowledge whatsoever of the Black Panthers or Huey Newton that was based on personal knowledge or experience. The subject of the Black Panthers rarely came up in school, the black power movement itself was discussed very little, and the Civil Rights Movement was held as a standard as to how we should view the injustices of America. What knowledge I was told about the Black Panthers was that they were radical, dangerous, and an ...more
May 13, 2013 Aaron rated it liked it
This is the story of an idealist, and it is idealists who spark revolutions. I was saddened to read Newton reflect upon the vast numbers of incarcerated people (mainly poor people and people of color) at a time when our nation's prison population was but a fraction of what it is today. I wondered how Newton would feel if he lived to see the war on drugs in its full force. But one can lament about the "what ifs' until the sun rises. Some criticisms aside, I enjoyed the book and felt it gave me ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Teri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-in-2015
I enjoyed getting to know the man.

I found out about this autobiography a while ago in my quest to start reading more African American history/ literature and not wanting to read the guy’s that “everybody” has heard of. More specifically, I wanted to read the about the radicals, the extremists as well as make an attempt to read about the leaders on the forefront. In this quest, I knew I wanted to read more about the Black Panther Party and learn more about their ideologies and leadership. I figur
La Marr
Sep 22, 2016 La Marr rated it it was amazing
The quintessential epic story of the co-founder of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense will educate those who are unfamiliar with this organization; it will destroy any misinformation about the Party's reason for creating such an important community base organization. Huey takes you on a journey through his life and the impetus of his evolution into a revolutionary. It is a book worth investing the time and energy to understand why the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense needed to exist.
Kinsey Favre
A fascinating look into the mind of Huey P. Newton, co-founder and chief ideologist of the Black Panther Party, and an important primary source on a period of history by someone who was there making it. I find myself turning again and again to the passage explaining the meaning of Newton's concept of revolutionary suicide, from which the book takes its title, whether for myself or to share with others. Some days it's one of the only things that keep me going.

"A section in Dostoevsky’s Crime and
May 12, 2014 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Revolutionary Suicide is an autobiography written by Huey P. Newton, co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party originally published in 1973.

Huey Newton's Revolutionary Suicide stays with you long after completing the final page. As I read Mr. Newton's book thru his eyes set in the specified place and time in history, things are explained in a magniloquent and effortless voice. I kept reflecting on why our society hasnt evolved infinitely more than it has. Yes, we have come a long way but
Zana Bear
Sep 23, 2014 Zana Bear rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I've always been captivated by that iconic image of Huey P. Newton in a wicker chair, rifle in one hand and spear in the other. This book, "Revolutionary Suicide", gave me a peak inside his extraordinary brain. Listed as a autobiography, but I'd say it's more like a collection of memoirs. It's not a typical chronological recap of his life, but Newton does give us some glimpses of his upbringing. I enjoyed his telling of the genesis of the Party and his in-depth recount of his trials. ...more
michal "mj"
Sep 08, 2016 michal "mj" rated it it was amazing
Important foundations of Black struggle in America, Oakland and Bay Area history, the corrupt law enforcement and prison systems, and the early day's of Huey P. Newton as the head of the Black Panther Party. A powerful mix of personal and political narrative that allows us to get to know Huey on multiple levels.
Dec 20, 2012 Clayton rated it really liked it
Revolutionary Suicide was quite the trip. Similar to Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X the book chronicles the life of a revolutionary coming into his own. Newton paints a vivid picture of his early life and places a great emphasis on his ability to discern the truth for himself and surmount obstacles against the odds. The read was enjoyable and I rarely found myself to be bored with his storytelling, it emitted a sense of readability to me. Newton also reveals himself to be quite ...more
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Huey Percy Newton was co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a civil rights organization that began in October 1966.
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“Black men and women who refuse to live under oppression are dangerous to white society because they become symbols of hope to their brothers and sisters, inspiring them to follow their example.” 15 likes
“I do not think that life will change for the better without an assault on the Establishment, which goes on exploiting the wretched of the earth. This belief lies at the heart of the concept of revolutionary suicide. Thus it is better to oppose the forces that would drive me to self-murder than to endure them. Although I risk the likelihood of death, there is at least the possibility, if not the probability, of changing intolerable conditions. This possibility is important, because much in human existence is based upon hope without any real understanding of the odds. Indeed, we are all—Black and white alike—ill in the same way, mortally ill. But before we die, how shall we live? I say with hope and dignity; and if premature death is the result, that death has a meaning reactionary suicide can never have. It is the price of self-respect.

Revolutionary suicide does not mean that I and my comrades have a death wish; it means just the opposite. We have such a strong desire to live with hope and human dignity that existence without them is impossible. When reactionary forces crush us, we must move against these forces, even at the risk of death. We will have to be driven out with a stick.”
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