Magazine August 30, 2010, Issue

A Complicated Rebel

(Hennie Stander/Unsplash)
Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky, by Nicholas von Hoffman (Nation Books, 237 pp., $26.95)

Nicholas von Hoffman’s short, breezy, and informative sketch of Saul Alinsky — and of the decade he spent with him working as a community organizer — offers us a very different take on the legendary activist than the narrative we are accustomed to. This is especially the case for those conservatives who consider Alinsky close to the devil. Alinsky made the comparison himself, invoking Lucifer, along with Thomas Paine and Rabbi Hillel, in the epigraphs to his classic, bestselling 1971 guide, Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals. As Alinsky put it, clearly facetiously, Lucifer was “the very

Ronald Radosh — Mr. Radosh, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute and a contributing opinion columnist at the Daily Beast, is a co-author of Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War and the author of Commies: A Journey through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left.

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