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Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In this new edition of his memoirs, Tariq Ali revisits his formative years as a young radical. It is a story that takes us from Paris and Prague to Hanoi and Bolivia, encountering along the way Malcolm X, Bertrand Russell, Marlon Brando, Henry Kissinger, and Mick Jagger.

Ali captures the mood and energy of those years as he tracks the growing significance of the nascent
Paperback, 403 pages
Published May 17th 2005 by Verso (first published 1987)
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Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, politics
I liked this and liked Tariq’s writing style. I saw Tariq give a lecture at the LSE I think in the early noughties and was impressed then as I was now with this book of his which he wrote in the late 80s. The book is about his political activism in the 60s when he was quite young. He went to Vietnam when things were kicking off then and returned to live the tale. The book covers some interesting tales of this well-educated (originally) Pakistani individuals time there and some of the time that ...more
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had worried this would be too Trot-y to enjoy, but it was actually quite enjoyable and mostly avoided too much in the way of self-celebration (but not name-dropping). In fact, what came through quite strongly for me was the profound importance of Mao, from his early criticisms of official Communism in Pakistan to the work on Black Dwarf and support for various guerrilla movements, all the more significant given Ali was presumably not setting out to emphasise it! There's a lot in this book that ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tariq Ali's memoir is a great read. Ali, an international socialist activist/intellectual, includes photos which add flavor: among journalists with Chou-en-Lai in Lahore, with Malcolm X in Oxford, visiting Regis Debray imprisoned in Bolivia, with the War Crimes Tribunal in Vietnam, speaking during 1969 insurrection in Pakistan, walking in the streets with May 68er Daniel Cohn-Bendit, celebrating Belgian Marxist Ernest Mandel, posing with Derek Jarman on the Wittgenstein set, dinner with Edward ...more
Obscuranta Hideypants
Oct 03, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: those who live in the past
Shelves: readanddisliked
I have a lot of trouble with Tariq Ali, and I think this book embopdies the majority of it- take some misguided protest-politics, mix in a bit of cult of personality and reminiscences about the Good Old Days and here we are. As has become his habit, Ali glorifies an era which, ultimately collapsed into the decadence of the eighties- driven in large part by ex radicals who were just along for the ride.

Protest politics is a dead end, something which needs to be studied, not glorified, and
Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen
Fascinating tales from one of British Trotskyism's most eloquent and forceful voices; an original soixante-huitard, Ali has known them all - Malcolm X, John and Yoko, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the list goes on and the prose is engaging at every level from charting his radical awakening as a youth in Pakistan, through following Che Guevara's final footsteps in Bolivia right up to the encroaching shadow of glasnost that was present upon the book's inital publication in 1987. The first chapter is a ...more
Very moving autobiography of Tariq Ali. I would have given it more stars but I was lacking in understanding earlier texts that he references about socialism and Trotsky. He is not afraid to admit to his mistakes and stays true to his views and values. I had no idea of the impact of USA losing in Vietnam sparked so many movements in other parts of the world. I guess this loss demonstrated the power of a country and people who had less technology, less backing, less financial resources but the ...more
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this after much reading then leaving to read something else and back again - so it took me a while to finish. Found it too difficult to concentrate on for late night bedtime reading, hence the need to dip out every now and again. An extraordinary first-hand experience of activism during the 60s.
recent interview:
Courtney Perry
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was dubious of this novel at first, having never heard of it & thinking the topic sounded rather heavy. I was also daunted by how thick the book was for what it was about but found I couldn't put it down once I started! I love those kind of surprise books that just sneak up on you & glomp you with awesome
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly relevant book, 30 years later. Ali goes into some detail about the various movements that marked the 60s in Europe and America, but does so from the point of view of a Pakistani-born activist who has a wide command of both the language and the issues of those fretful times. A book not to be underrated...
Putri Sari
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a fun read, even though I had to conclude by the end that TaRIQ is a bit of a narcissistic idiot. Seldom does he question any of his own opinions. He is convinced that he is on the right side of history and makes a series of wonderful career choices, and builds a fantastic network of connections with other international socialists. It reminded me of the title of Max Stirner's classic "The Ego and its Own". This is the tale of a semi-aristocratic Pakistani lord's journey to the capital ...more
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Tariq Ali (Punjabi, Urdu: طارق علی) (born 21 October 1943) is a British-Pakistani historian, novelist, filmmaker, political campaigner, and commentator. He is a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review and Sin Permiso, and regularly contributes to The Guardian, CounterPunch, and the London Review of Books.

He is the author of several books, including Can Pakistan Survive? The Death