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Reveille for Radicals

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  484 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Legendary community organizer Saul Alinsky inspired a generation of activists and politicians with Reveille for Radicals, the original handbook for social change. Alinsky writes both practically and philosophically, never wavering from his belief that the American dream can only be achieved by an active democratic citizenship. First published in 1946 and updated in 1969 wi ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 23rd 1989 by Vintage
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Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I actually have the 1969 version of the 1946 book, with an updated introduction and afterward by Alinsky. As Alinsky himself notes in his '69 introduction, he was full of much more piss and vinegar in this work than in his later Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. He plainly states his own ideology in Reveille, which he tries to avoid doing in Rules. Alinsky distinguishes his "radical" ideology from the liberal, the communist, the religious, and the conservative.

Lots of people read this back when it was first published, a million years ago. But it should be required reading for anyone trying to find their way out of the multinational corporate capitalist maze we currently find ourselves in. Particularly for anyone in the Occupy Movement. Saul Alinsky was a freakin' brilliant community organizer who had incredible results in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago, which he then replicated in various places all over the country. The cry for people- ...more
Mallory Johnson
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The original community organizing text. This book, originally published in 1946, sharply contrasts with today's reality, where unions lack power and some of the only groups making political demands are lobbying groups for corporations. Regardless, the undying belief in average people and their ability to change their own lives if given the tools to do so is refreshing and hopeful. I feel like I'll be looking back to this book for guidance in the future.
Mar 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great stories and lessons, from a great organizer. This book was more interesting to me than Rules for Radicals because stories and examples of resistant movements were used.
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
the literature of community organizing has many lessons for those of us who wish to try and make the world a better place.
Richard Wu
Alinsky’s infamous Rules for Radicals has sat on my reading list gathering dust for years now, and I figured it was about time to give it its day in the sun. But first came his first RoR, because—doesn’t ideological evolution also fascinate you?

A brief accounting of Reveille’s two poles will suffice for my review:

Skin in the game. If nothing else, Alinsky put his money where his mouth was and his feet on the ground, elevating him above the all-talk-no-walk babblers who continue to popul
Luke Peterson
Feb 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: organizers
Alinsky's follow-up to Rules for Radicals has more case studies, and appears to contain all the stuff that had to be edited out of Rules in order to keep it pamphlet-length.

Good book though, and still cheap and easy to read. No reason not to.
May 14, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: poltical scientists
Shelves: newoldclassics
how to organize. how organizing for social justice is a lot like organizing for tammany hall. how alinsky is a kook. it has been said, but Alinsky is like a neo-post-Thomas-Paine. he writes about the radical in a very common sense way.
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Written 20 years before "Rules for Radicals," and it seems about 40 years more dated. Mostly good for a sort of snapshot of the labor organization movement just after WWII and the beginnings of Alinsky's political thought.
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
one of the most inspirational books i read in college!
Oct 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Out of date for today's radicals, but an interesting look back on the liberalism that came out of WWII.
Theadora Davitt-Cornyn
a classic i always intended to borrow. finally just got my own.
Margaret P. Clarke
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
As you are captured in the first few pages you will continue to be as you progress through each and every page expertly laying out timeless descriptions and examples of the human condition.

"Do you like Catholics, Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, Mexicans, Negroes, and Chinese? Do you regard them with the warm feeling of fellow human beings-or with a cold contempt symbolized in Papists, Michks, Wops, Kikes, Hunkies, Greasers, Niggers, and Chinks? If you are one of those who think of people in these
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Democracy is a team sport! This well-written book draws on the author’s experience organizing communities in Chicago. Alinsky stresses the importance of obtaining buy-in from the various and disparate groups within a community, such as churches and labor unions, in order to effectively give the people a voice. His warning that democracy dies when people become apathetic and participate no further than voting is especially relevant today. Written in the 40s, with foreword and afterword added in 1 ...more
Chris Lane
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fifteenth book of the year. Written by the somewhat shady, yet highly influential Chicago-based radical community organizer Saul Alinsky during periods of incarceration throughout the 1940's, it's a series of case studies and raw critiques on the building and operation of People's Movements. Ya' may remember Ben Carson name dropping Alinsky once or twice during this years presidential campaign, referencing how he dedicated his most known work, Rules For Radicals, to the original radical, Lucifer ...more
Nathan Storring
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Reveille for Radicals is a passionate attempt by one of the 20th century's great community organizers to synthesize what he had learned over the course of years of practice. Alinsky's unique combination of fiery optimism and moral relativism still stands out as a unique voice in a time in which the latter is usually paired with cool cynicism. Also, Alinsky's insights into Chicago's Back of the Yards gave Jane Jacobs some of the fodder for her thoughts on social networks, political efficacy, and ...more
Chris Hansen
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
There are some great quotes from third party sources, but otherwise this piece is repetitive and droll. It was written for its time and has references to recent events, that minus some historical context is laborious reading.
Subhajit Das
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sweet and light read this one. Enjoyed completely and the title is really attracting. Recommending for sure.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Some good points but not as interesting as rules for radicals. The afterword is really good and eerily spot on though...
Sep 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: conflict, truetales
Reads largely like a low content rant. That is if one has not context, nor a glimpse. Plenty of the people vs. the man. Whether the man be the corporation or the government. Much of the rallying testimonials by those supposedly deep in the struggle sound precisely as the stories my older, and deeply union neighbor tells me. Same conflicts, passions, angers, aims.

Many of the stories of bringing the community together ring a little odd. On the one hand, it's sworn up and down no violence. Suddenly
Michael Lewyn
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
The beginning and end of this book, about Alinsky's ideology, are not that interesting; Alinsky was no political philosopher and really wasn't that much different from Bernie Sanders or millions of other progressives. The middle of the book is a bit more distinctive; most of it is essentially kind of a "How to Win Friends and Influence People" guide for people organizing in local politics, and many of Alinsky's insights could be just as easily applied by conservatives as by radicals.

Here's an ex
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book has had an affect on so many people and continued to have effects over the past 70 years.
It is not as well written as Ayn Rand, but it is conceptually similar in that it also has shaped politics, philosophies, and ideologies. Another way in which Alinsky and Rand relate is that both have faith in man and his ability to take charge. The former claims it is for the sake of all mankind and the latter often inferred that helping yourself was the best course of action. They both leave God o
Jay Roberts, CFP®, CRPC ®
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics
Sarah Palin once said being a small town mayor is sort of like [being] a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities. Looking back in hindsight, we all get that she had no idea what responsibility is or what community organizers do. But she was correct, politicians are often a lot like community organizers. Saul Alinsky could have been like many other community organizers out there. Instead, he published the playbook. Perhaps this is why politician’s like Palin likened him ...more
Jerome Willner
Nov 16, 2013 is currently reading it
Having just completed a year working as a Trainee Community Organiser, I would say this book is extremely relevant today. I am working on a transcript / review of this book, and will publish it as soon as my current commitments allow.

This is definately recommended, or should I say 'required' reading for anyone who is interested professionally or personally or perhaps both, in engaging effectively with communities.

This book was a struggle for me. It was written in a vocabulary I don't yet understand, in a tone that makes me uncomfortable, about causes I've never wanted to fight for.

That said, I find I involuntarily learned about what it is to be a community organizer.
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's a good read. Several stories of how people in history living in poverty and oppressive situations were able to rise up using non-violent actions to make social changes in their community; their city; their state; maybe, the nation.
Oct 26, 2010 added it
Another page turner from Alinsky
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: leftwing-theory
fairly basic 'community organizer' advice. maybe not necessarily 'radical,' but certainly a tactics for oppositional praxis.
Chris Brimmer
Just a refinement but a good back to back read.
Madeline Wilson
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Wonderful for community organizing and really pumped. Some things are a little extreme but then begs the question: in need of change, what is too extreme?
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Saul David Alinsky was an American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing. His organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across North America.

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