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Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement, and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-12
- Reviewer: Staff
”Why did revolutionary black nationalism—and Black Power mobilization generally—become so influential in the late 1960s, and why did it unravel so disastrously in the 1970s?” Historians Bloom (collection editor of the Black Panther Newspaper Collection) and Martin (No Coward Soldiers) undertake the formidable task of a comprehensive history of the Black Panther Party and a theoretical analysis of “revolutionary ideologies” in the U.S. A prodigiously researched work, utilizing academic literature, personal memoir, and conversations with former Black Panther members and associates, the book offers a densely detailed account of the transformation of “a scrappy local organization” into “a major international political force.” While the authors’ primary concern is the “evolution of political practices,” their vivid renderings of scene make this scholarly tome thoroughly accessible; a “you are there” tone adds immediacy to the ideological concerns underpinning Black Panther Party history: armed resistance, anti-imperialism, gender roles, the war in Vietnam and the draft, community service projects, and government repression. While the authors conclude that “there is no movement like the Panthers in the United State today because the political context is so different from that in the late 1960s,” they make comprehensible both the movement and the times. 50 b&w photos. (Jan.)