Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Revolutionary Suicide” as Want to Read:
Revolutionary Suicide
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Revolutionary Suicide

by
4.41  ·  Rating details ·  4,049 ratings  ·  177 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
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Penguin Classics (first published 1973)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Revolutionary Suicide, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 phil…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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,049 ratings  ·  177 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Revolutionary Suicide
Chante
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Crazyarms777
Insightful for a Black Marxist revolutionary. So far I have read ''Souls of Ice'', ''Soledad Brother'' and ''Revolutionary Suicide'' and I am convinced the BP were controlled op funded by Zionists because of all the overly sympathetic references to the holocaust. This is a shame because previous Black Nationalists like Garvey and Malcom were overly cautious of the outside influences funding their community. Also note that the BP made an unholy alliance with white liberals during the 70s which m ...more
Joseph
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Kusaimamekirai
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who seeks to put a label on Huey Newton is going to have an exceedingly difficult time. Part small time criminal, fighter, revolutionary, self taught intellectual (Newton couldn’t read or write before he entered college and taught himself reading Plato’s Republic), polyamorist, Marxist, defender of the poor, and probably twenty other things on top of these. He was for me in some respects not always a particularly likeable person, but he was in all respects a remarkable person. “Revolutio ...more
Kelly Spoer
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Erik
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc-authored
"Revolutionary Suicide" is Huey Newton's, founder of the Black Panthers, memoir on his life before and during his time leading the the Black Panthers as a radical response to the police brutality and economic depressions imposed on the black community in the United States.

What is clear from the first page is that Newton's plan for the Black Panthers was rooted in a deeply researched understanding of ideas from canonical thinkers like Plato and Fanon. This makes sense given the realities Newton f
...more
Wendy Liu
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some of the social commentary doesn't quite stand the test of time, but his story is mesmerising nonetheless.
ayan
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Huey was truly one of the finest gems of the Black Panther Party. Not only he was ahead of his time in thinking, but someone who shunned idpol and built a coalition made of the victims of capitalism, racism, imperialism, classism, and gender violence. Rest in Power <3 ...more
Wick
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Christopher Iacovetti
'Life does not always begin at birth. My life was forged in the lives of my parents before I was born, and even earlier in the history of all Black people. It is all of a piece' (9)

'When I think back on the meetings in that storefront, it seems to me that religion made an impression in a more important, yet less direct, way. It has nothing to do with a personal system belief, but rather an awareness of what religious action can or ought to be. Something remarkable was taking place during every p
...more
Sait Cham
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
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 these me
...more
Matthew Wilder
Prison diaries can grip through their bottomless internality. The greatest of all of them, such as Epictetus and Gramsci, take us into the author’s vision of the world as viewed in the sensory and emotional deprivation tank of the penitentiary. Huey P. Newton’s book is on some level an ideological manifesto; it also aspires to inspire in that Newton’s devotion to his people led him through psychically excruciating solitary confinement. Unfortunately, it is largely a Perry Mason blow-by-blow of h ...more
Kobe Bryant
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book to read if you want Huey P Newton to tell you how cool and smart and great he was
AC
Mar 03, 2015 marked it as i-get-the-picture
The first third is quite interesting. But one begins now to suspect a lack of empathy in this man...
Kiana Olea
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
i wanted to insert a quote i really liked from the book in this review but then i realized i couldn’t quote a whole book so here we are

BUT i will include this one; “... the United States is an empire, not a nation, and the way prisoners and minorities are treated here has a definite relation to the way the American power structure treats people around the world.”

this autobiography is freaking amazing from beginning to end and this ~review~ isn’t gonna do it any justice because it was just that g
...more
PEUX
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible look at the life, thoughts, and struggles of Huey P. Newton. Beautifully written it describes the formation of the Black Panther Party, its development, and the many contradictions it faced both internally and externally.
For anyone interested in the Black Panther Party or are interested in the decadent, racist, and corrupt system of the United States of America this is absolutely a must read.
Rachel
I'm reading Crime and Punishment at the moment as well and lo and behold what book does Newton mention? He points to the character Marmeladov's death as being a "reactionary suicide," which has given me a lot to think about.

I thought this was a great, straight forward look at Newton's (and the Black Panthers) ideology and beliefs and how his party came together and what tore them apart, and his own experiences with the law and the justice system. I thought his voice was refreshing and feel sham
...more
Evelyn Woagh
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Louie
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Mohammed Morsi
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked it. Huey Newton's voice is distinct throughout the books. There are no cliches, just an insight into the history of the Black Panther's. It's also a story of fighting, of believing that life is rather lived than lived living dead.
Jbondandrews
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
I. Merey
Newton said: The reactionary suicide is "wise," and the revolutionary suicide is a "fool," a fool for the revolution in the way that Paul meant when he spoke of being "a fool for Christ." That foolishness can move the mountain of oppression; it is our great leap and our commitment to the dead and the unborn. We will touch God's heart; we will touch the people's heart, and together we will move the mountain.

This book was written fifty years ago--the descriptions of the despair and anger of Black
...more
Nikhil
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lucid and reasoned treatise in the rise of the Black Panther Party and the politics of the Black Liberation Movement. It chronicles the formation of the BPP and its eminently reasonable 10 point program, the subsequent efforts of the state to destroy the party and imprison its leaders, and the efforts of the party to survive. There are a few points of note:

The BPP’s major goals and actions are not consistent with violent overthrow of capitalism and the US government, despite the rhetoric some
...more
Benjamin Fasching-Gray
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Huey was kind of strange guy. This Black Panther autobiography is different than most because he wrote it in ‘72, so it is not as reflective as say Hilliard’s or Elaine Brown’s. He is still thinking of it as a recruiting tool or at least as something to raise consciousness in the community. His strange personality and keep-it-real Blackness make the book a fun read, although the details of the trial kind of slowed things down a bit. Although I know the general history of the Panthers in the peri ...more
Matt Shaqfan
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Black Panther Party organized a community centered around respect and perseverance. Food was provided for children. Safety was provided for families. They policed the police, ensuring officers operated under the legal guidelines and nothing more. They wanted equality for all, not just whites, not just Blacks, but for all. They were a movement of positivity and progressive ideas, fueled by generations of unjust oppression.

Huey's words are immaculate, and universal to anyone with a sense for
...more
Josh Curtis
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Was constantly impressed by the maturity of Newton's revolutionary commitments, pulling his comrades, and me, the reader, always away from the seductive prospect of pushing for armed revolution, which would fail to consider the unique concrete material conditions of the United States and how they differ from that of China, Cuba, Russia, etc. Instead, pushing for a violent war in the short term alienates the masses, and diverts resources from vital life-giving and community-building programs such ...more
Liz Estrada
3.5 stars
George Huxley
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Another piece of my revolutionary studies patchwork complete. This was a fantastic journey through the life of one of the most influential African-Americans in American history. I was appalled when I looked back on my high school history textbook and found only a meager sentence on this magnificent individual and his revolutionary party. Even that single sentence they managed to mess up, by portraying the Black Panthers as a black separatist movement hell-bent on bringing fear into t ...more
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Soul on Ice
  • An Autobiography
  • Nigger
  • Assata: An Autobiography
  • Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson
  • Live from Death Row
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton
  • A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story
  • Martin and Malcolm and America: A Dream or a Nightmare?
  • Blood in My Eye
  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther
  • W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919
  • They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America
  • Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements
  • By Any Means Necessary
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro
  • Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race From 4500 B.C. To 2000 A.D.
See similar books…
199 followers
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.

Related Articles

There is nothing like reading a history or biography book and being so completely transported to another time and place that you find...
60 likes · 20 comments
“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.” 24 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.”
22 likes
More quotes…