REBELS GUIDE TO GRAMSCI, A Paperback – 6 Oct 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
However, if you are looking for a book that covers the theories and writings on Gramsci, you will be disapointed.
But if you are looking for a short story about Gramsci's life, as a precursor to some heavier stuff, then it is enjoyable. The manner of writng is certainly very easy.
All in all, a nice enjoyable bit of fluff.
If you want something more in depth try Gramsci and Marxist theory by Chantal Mouffe
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first 3/5 of the book deal exclusively with the history of Italy. The history is told primarily from the point of view of left-wing radicalism, generally around Southern Italy, and covers momentous events like WWI, impacts of the Russian Revolution, and the rise of Fascism. Gramsci is one of many names mentioned - and barely mentioned more than others. Mussolini - who was a former Socialist - comes up quite a bit, about as often as Gramsci. The history aspect of the book ends around 1935 at the same time Gramsci dies, after being released from a Fascist prison, in order to prevent his mind from promulgating propaganda. Most of Gramsci's life he was a sickly man, with a rotting spine, so after a decade in prison, death was expected.
The next 1/5 of the book actually deals with what Gramsci thought. This section is rather underwhelming, because it fails to mention his theory of Hegemony and his thoughts on the Organic Intellectual. Hegemony is mentioned passively, meaning the author expects the reader to already know Gramsci's theory, without him having to go over it. The only fruitful discussion to be had was between Gramsci's theory of common sense (historical ideology, often reactionary), and good sense (the actual interest of the working class), and how most proletarians are walking contradictions, filled with bits of both. Gramsci wanted to establish a theory that could shift the proletariat to good sense, with a stable transition that would not cause overload from cognitive dissonance surfacing. This is done through organizing, propaganda spreading, teaching, and establishing of good sense institutions, when the working class is ready.
The next 1/5 of the book deals exclusively with contemporary British matters, and how the left is slowly dying out. The author believes left-wing intellectuals and activist must learn from Gramsci's approach to good sense, to help rid the working class of common sense, which people like Tony Blair prey upon. Moreover, he hopes the contemporary British reader can also read Gramsci to learn what good sense is.
Thus, 4/5 of the book having nothing to do with that Gramsci thought, and the majority of history dealt with in this book does not focus exclusively, and only partially, on Gramsci.
Despite the false advertising of the title, the book still deserves 3 stars because the history is interesting, and well documented. Overall though I would not recommend this book to anyone looking to learn about Gramsci. His Wikipedia page is more informative.