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Revolutionary Suicide

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  4,391 ratings  ·  209 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 adolesc

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

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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 Su
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 m ...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. “Revolutio ...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.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Wendy Liu
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the social commentary doesn't quite stand the test of time, but his story is mesmerising nonetheless. ...more
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
"For more than 350 years Black men in this country have been dying with courage and dignity for causes they believe in. This aspect of our history has always been known to Black people, but for many the knowledge has been vague. We knew the names of a few of our martyrs and heroes, but often we were not acquainted with the circumstances or the precise context of their lives. White America has seen to it that Black history has been suppressed in schools and in American history books. The bravery ...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
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 these me
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 h ...more
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
The first third is quite interesting. But one begins now to suspect a lack of empathy in this man...
4.5/5 A really interesting autobiography about Huey Newtons life up until 1971.

His parents sought solace in religion amongst an impoverished black community in Oakland, always burdened by the bills, the bills, the bills. He went through a racialised education system that stunted his sense of self, undermining his confidence and his ability to do well at school, and by the time he reached his last year of high school he was functionally illiterate. He admired his older brother Melvin, who awaken
Kiana Olea
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
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
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 fashio
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 off ...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
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 ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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
Benjamin Fasching-Gray
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
Josh Curtis
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 02, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
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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.

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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“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.”
“‎"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.” 14 likes
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