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Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) [Paperback]

Stokely Carmichael
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Aug 2008
By any measure, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) fundamentally altered the course of history. Published at the fifth anniversary of Carmichael's death, this long-awaited autobiography fills a yawning gap in the American historical record as it chronicles the legendary civil rights leader's work as chairman of SNCC, patriarch of Black Power, Pan-African activist, and social revolutionary. It is an unflinching, searing, often visionary testament to the man's legacy and joins the works of Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Nelson Mandela as a crucial and colorful contribution to contemporary history.As in life, the Carmichael in these pages is the definition of charisma and determination. In sharp prose full of Carmichael's candor, wit, irrepressible sense of irony, and undying love for his people, "Ready for Revolution" relates with clear-eyed intelligence the epic struggle for human liberation in our time. Carmichael -- who in 1978 changed his name to Kwame Ture in honor of his mentors, the revolutionary African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Sekou Toure -- recounts the course of his own experience and struggles, ranging from the prison farms and lynch mobs of Mississippi through the firefights and political intrigue of the African liberation wars to Black Power and Pan-Africanism. His transformation from immigrant child to impassioned activist is spellbinding. Populated with an international cast of luminaries, including James Baldwin, Fannie Lou Hamer, Miriam Makeba, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Toni Morrison, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro, "Ready for Revolution" captures, as few books ever have, the pulse of the cultural upheavals thatdefine the modern world.More than the sum of its parts, this book is the personal testimony of a supremely courageous and committed African-American freedom fighter, radical thinker, and warm and engaging human being. Regardless of whether one subscribes to Carmichael's politics and ideas, there is no denying the overwhelming influence he had on American lives and history. And his view from the eye of the black-struggle storm is invaluable.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st. Scribner Trade Paperback Edition edition (27 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684850044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684850047
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.9 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 532,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Mary KingFormer SNCC worker and author of "Freedom Song "Located midway between Gandhi and Lenin, Stokely engendered fierce love from his fellow SNCC workers -- something inexplicable to onlookers who reviled him. No one seriously interested in the U.S. civil rights movement should be without this book. The provocative is made plain, the enigmatic clarified, and the elusive becomes sensible -- with Stokely's unique voice, wit, and verve. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Paperback
"Ready For Revolution" is a beautiful, deeply moving account of a great liberation warrior, a man who is frequently overlooked in the narratives of the time. If you are at all interested in the heritage of Malcolm X, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, you will have to buy Stokely Carmichael's memoirs. What stands out is the man's commitment, his fearlessness, his great intelligence, insight, sense of revolutionary strategy and his good nature.

My only reservation is the editing, which is confusing at times : Ekwuame Thelwell,the editor, has added a lot ( I mean a lot ) of explanatory matter and ultra-detailed minutiae bang in the middle of the text that perhaps would have been better placed as footnotes or appendix end notes. It sometimes informs, but more than frequently breaks the flow of the narrative and prose.

Besides that, it is an essential book to buy. Thrilling, moving, enlightening and deeply inspiring;it is one of those rare books that has the soulful intensity, courage and ideological power to change the reader.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book About the Movement, Jack! 8 Feb 2005
By Rob Robinson - Published on Amazon.com
W.E.B. Du Bois' prophetic tag about the color line in America being the problem of the 20th Century (still #1 with a bullet in the 21st)may be the great man's greatest understatement. I marvel that Stokely Carmichael(later Kwame Ture)was able to get his arms around the reality of his life and strange times as profoundly as he does. Fortunately for us, confidence was never his problem.

This book is a sustained narrative, in equal parts autobiography, historical analysis, and oral history.

Like SNCC itself, this work is focused, disciplined and deeply grounded in the freedom struggles of African people in communities like Cambridge, Maryland, Greenwood, Mississippi and Lowndes County, Alabama. Stokely's recap of events that made the walls of segregation come tumbling down is illuminated by luminaries like Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer. But it's the voices of the real stars of the Movement -- Mr. Hartman Turnbow, E.W. Steptoe, Victoria Gray, Annie Pearl Avery and Endesha Holland -- that, rightly, get pride of place in his retelling.

Thanks and praises to Ekwueme Michael Thelwell for midwifing a masterpiece. Show me a biography or an autobiography in which the text does not "stitch together" memory and chronology, fact and fiction, people and places -- and I'll assume you do your reading in the checkout line at the supermarket. Thelwell includes just enough of Stokely's vocal mannerisms to convey his live voice and real personality, without allowing them to become tics and distractions. His parenthetical asides may challenge readers with attention deficit issues, but personally, I found they captured Thelwell unraveling small mysteries about his friend. Check out the one where Thelwell muses about where Carmichael really was during the March on Washington.

Readers should be told that this autobiography is a page-turner, it reads like a thriller. High School and College students will learn what all the excitement of the Southern Civil Rights Movement was about. Godwilling they'll be motivated by Stokely's example. There is high literary art in the way Carmichael and Thelwell capture the sweep of events that shaped our own life and times. The stories and homilies are so archetypal, you'll imagine they happened to you -- until you catch yourself realizing that that was Stokely, not you, who fell in love with Miriam Makeba over the radio and then married her in real life.

The chorus of voices reveals black and white folks willing to give their lives working for something at the core of our shared humanity. I always knew there were those who do not share that humanity. Stokely's autobiography teaches us that the struggle is so desperately important because they will never stop trying to enslave others by denying them their humanity. You cannot read this narrative and not share Stokely's love for and belief in the struggles of Africans, and indigenous peoples, everywhere.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stokely Speaks 20 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have always felt that Kwame / Stokely did not get the appropriate historical recognition that he deserved. After his relocation to Africa he was all but forgotten in the west except for those that remembered his "Black Power" years. This is unfortunate! The man did so much work on the part of the oppressed that he should be remembered for the pioneer and visionary that he was.
This much awaited biography covers much of the gaps and unknowns regarding his work post-1970, but unfortunately one of the tapes which Kwame made about his work with the All-African Peoples Revolutionary party went missing and it is this work which I and many others might be most interested in knowing about. My hope is that this information will one day find the light of day.
Details regarding Kwame's associations with Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Martin Luther King jr, Huey Newton and others are illuminating and insightful, but I would have liked to know more about his political work with Yasser Arafat, Mommar Ghadafi and Oliver. Given the fact that time was running out for Kwame I am sure it would have been a much different book had the circumstances been otherwise.
I found the biography engaging and would recommend it to anyone interested in the revolutionary nationalist movements of the past 40 years. Kwame / Stokely was definitely someone that "arrived early and stayed late" unlike many activists of his generation.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ACTION-ADVENTURE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A GREAT "BLACK POWER" REVOLUTIONARY 7 Nov 2007
By Roy Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This opus is Stokely Carmichael's (Kwame Ture's) last known, wonderful, parting gift to us--his autobiography, covering his rich political career and adventurous life.

It explains his unique contributions to the 500-year,long, political Struggle of over 38 million marginalized Africans-in-America for liberty, equality, justice and freedom--in the face of brutal white-racist terrorism--supported (directly/indirectly) by America's elites who allowed "apart-hate" relations to persist in the country (while they blathered for decades about fighting wars to promote democracy and freedom abroad).

If you are old enough to have read and heard the plethora of vicious slanders against Carmichael--orchestrated by enemies of freedom operating in the mainstream media--you will now be able to correlate their untruths with details,facts and specific events provided in this 835 pages book to draw your own conclusion.

Carmichael rode the "freedom train" with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. into the veritable pits of racist hell "down" South, as Americans struggled for civil rights during the 1960s, risking imprisonment, police beatings, water hoses, dogs and even life and limbs.

It is a miracle that he survived the treacheries of the period to tell this tale. Some of his great collaborators did not make it, including Malcolm X and Dr. King. They were among those criminally put down by assassins during the 1960s.

It is indeed a miracle that the well-known "Black Power" activist, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) wrote this big book, along with his life-long friend, Michael Thelwell, while dying from cancer. Carmichael died in 1998 at the age of 57.

Carmichael's book reads like an action-adventure novel, filled with chair-gripping dangers and humor.

Carmichael, the Black Power activist was clearly more like Dr. King, a non-violent revolutionary and a great story teller.

After picking up this book, you will set it down later only to discover that you have read its 800 pages without noticing the time expended.

See also:

The Harder They Come

In-Dependence from Bondage: Claude McKay and Michael Manley: Defying the Ideological Clash and Policy Gaps in African Diaspora Relations

Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Document 14 Nov 2003
By Andre M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an important document. Stokely Carmichael/Toure was a person you either loved or hated, no in-between, but he was indeed an important person of the Civil Rights era. E. Michael Thelwell, who edited this book, sat down extensively with the Stoke before his death to preserve his memoirs. The Stoke that appears here is not quite the wild man often quoted in the sixties. The rhetoric about "honkies," crude sexism, and xenophobia of some of his old speeches are absent here. Stoke clarifies his stands as being more of a socilaist humanitairan (as well as still being a Pan-Africanist), but he does not acknowledge many of his errors of that time. Some readers will have a problem with Thelwells' constant injections, which explain some of the names, people, and events that the Stoke talks about to those not familiar with the sixties. This may help some readers and annoy others, but it may be necessary since the generation who knew such things firsthand will soon be gone. In either case, it's an important document of an interesting era from one of it's major players.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VERY COMPELLING, WELL WRITTEN ACCOUNT OF A LIFE ...THAT COULD OF BEEN PUT TO BETTER USE 19 May 2010
By Jacqueline Joseph - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was excellently well written. The author has written this book demonstrating excellent writing skills. Anyone who is attempting to write can learn a lot from the writing techniques. Pounctuation, grammer, spelling, every thing was well fashioned. As for his life story, 'VERY INTERESTING'

I am originally from the island of Trinidad, the same country in which he was born. I had heard of him and became interested in his writing just before his death. His life should be made into a movie. Great reading everyone. You will not want to put down this book.
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