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Revolutionary Suicide

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,247 ratings  ·  64 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 adolescenc

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Paperback, 333 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Writers & Readers Publishing (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Chante
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...more
CB
Huey Newton was not an exceptionally bright man. As he acknowledges his IQ was ranked at 74 (albeit, the ability of the IQ test to really get at the ingenious essence of man is dubious). His philosophy, and philosophizing, is frequently superficial, layman, and lacking depth. To top it off, one would have to be extremely credulous to walk away from this book believing a lot of the things Huey Newton says, ranging from his deep understanding of analytic philosophy, to dialectical materialism guid...more
Joseph
Apr 19, 2008 Joseph rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Jay Espy
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 ideology which...more
Wick
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...more
Louis
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 off...more
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
rae
Oct 05, 2010 rae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone, seriously.
i was surprised to see that the troubled, eccentric character i found in the pages of other people's renderings of huey p. newton was nowhere to be seen in the brilliant, reasoned language of his own memoir. his writing is easy to read, too; not a slog at all.

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 pa...more
Shamam Murad
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...more
A-ron
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.
Jennpants
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.
Emma
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.
Jbondandrews
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.
Zana Bear
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
Melinda
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 hasn���t evolved infinitely more than it has. Yes, we have come a long way...more
Aaron
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 mo...more
Clayton
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 forg...more
Brittain
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mel Vincent
This book exquisitely chronicles the formation of Huey Newton to a fully fledged African American National Revolutionary, this book also humanizes him in a way that he expresses his thoughts, emotions, evils, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, strengths, memories and ideologies prior to his rise as a Black Panther.

We can see through this book that the multiple encounters and experiences that he endured throughout his life, from youth to adulthood laid the foundations to him becoming the cultural and p...more
Sean
A deep thinker but a poor prose stylist. Read it for the political observations. There was a time when people like him (and there aren't many) were reviled as hateful lunatics. In truth there has never been a saner man.
Katelyn
I'm sorry to say that I really didn't care for Huey Newton's autobiography. I definitely found everything about his childhood in Oakland interesting, probably mostly from a former TFA standpoint (it seems like education hasn't made the progress Newton would want in the past 70 years), but I found Newton himself really brash and arrogant as a narrator. It's hard to fault him on that considering all the injustice he faced before and during the Black Panthers, but there were many parts of the book...more
Chris brown
I had been searching for this book for a while when I found it on the shelf, at B&N of all places. The sad thing is, growing up in Oakland California and reading other books about Huey and the panthers, alot of this things written I already knew of or about.

I recommend this book to anyone whom comes across it, but have not read anything or little to nothing about Huey or the panthers. If you are in that unique position where you are searching for first hand information about Mr. Newton or th...more
Lobotomy42
Revolutionary Suicide is largely the autobiography of Huey P. Newton. Despite the promise of the Introduction, there is very little theory present. [return][return]Nonetheless, as autobiographies go, this is an intriguing one. Newton is a genuine Marxist-Maoist and his interpretation of how that ideology can benefit black Americans is not one that is spoken of much these days. Seeing him apply these ideas throughout his life and actually living his beliefs reminds one of how different the politi...more
Dave
I'm starting to develop a love/hate relationship with memoirs and autobiographies. It's so interesting to see how each author weaves their memories in with factual historical information, creating a new narrative that I then attempt to evaluate. How much is true? What parts conflict with other accounts? I'm most interested in the birth of the Black Panther Party and Newton's relationship with Cleaver, but even the very drawn out description of Newton's cop-killer trial was riveting reading. I th...more
Constance
An old African saying "I am we." If you met an African in ancient times and asked him who he was, he would reply, "I am we."
This is Revolutionary Suicide: I, we, all of us the one & the multitude.

Huey Newton lived as a revolutionary and died a revolutionary. Reading his words, I now understand the difference between reactionary and revolutionary, simply & eloquently stated by Huey Newton.
The gift of his story in this book have given me a full brain that I will sort through over the next...more
Ivana Ackie
This is an essential work, but it also serves as proof that there is no end to the self-examination of a revolutionary. I'm even more excited about immersing myself in Black female perspectives and wish there were more openly and critically queer insight on this particular subject.
Baron
i found the first edition in odegard library and decided to keep it for a couple of years til they made me turn it in prior to graduation. picked it up usually when i felt a sense of hopelessness as society attempted to squeeze the blood out of me. i guess this book served as an anti-venom serum to fight the pits of snakes within academic institutions. i found this book (first edition hardcover with book cover) for 10 bucks. this has been my greatest find in a bookstore so far.
David
Except for the first 60 pages, growing up in ghetto Oakland, this book is a solid chunk of the Black Panther Party story with clear explanation of BPP philosophy and 10 point program. This book is core autobiography, one of the best of this genre, interesting, a page turner, plenty of mystery left here, well told, written, you can see Toni Morrison's hand throughout. The perception he had of himself versus reports from people who knew him or many who wrote about him is a wild gap.
Edwin
Brilliant written work by one of the black panther party organizers. Challenges faulty popular opinion about the role of the party as cop killers and gun totters. Newton also critically examines the 1960's black social problem (similar to today's problems), including high rates of poverty, poor inner city educational institutions, and the fairness of the criminal justice system and prison life on the black individual. Great book...
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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.
More about Huey P. Newton...
The Huey P. Newton Reader To Die for the People: The Writings of Huey P. Newton War Against The Panthers: A Study Of Repression In America The Genius of Huey P. Newton Insights & Poems

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“‎"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.” 6 likes
“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.” 4 likes
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