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Revolutionary Suicide

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,520 ratings  ·  129 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

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 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
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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.
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. “ ...more
Kelly Spoer
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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 14, 2013 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
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
Matthew Wilder
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
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 ...more
The first third is quite interesting. But one begins now to suspect a lack of empathy in this man...
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
Evelyn Woagh
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: strategy, 2015
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
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
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.
Kobe Bryant
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good book to read if you want Huey P Newton to tell you how cool and smart and great he was
Jun 27, 2014 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.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Matt Shaqfan
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
George Huxley
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...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
Sham Al-Ghazali
Apr 02, 2014 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
Mind of Monet
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-justice
I picked up this book as a reference for a term paper I was writing on the Black Panther Party. I wasn't expecting to read much of it or even enjoy it. But once I started, I could not stop. This book opened my eyes to a man I had never heard of before then. I can't believe all the years of schooling and learning about civil rights leaders and never once was Huey Newton ever mentioned. Revolutionary Suicide is one of the greatest books I've ever read.
Sep 02, 2010 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.
Raphael Nelson
Jan 31, 2013 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
David Kang
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book that gives insights on the ideology of the Black Panthers and Huey Newton, and the basic chronology of the events involved with them. The chapters are a bit disjointed in terms of content at times but are still very insightful. Changed heavily me preconceived sensationalist view I had of the Panthers
Apr 21, 2014 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.
Feb 11, 2007 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.
Jul 14, 2010 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.
Oct 19, 2013 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.
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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.
“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.” 22 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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