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From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist [Paperback]

By Bob Avakian (Author)
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Item description for From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist by Bob Avakian...

Spanning some of the most tumultuous and storied decades of American history, this account of one man's political life touches on what it takes to lead a revolution and how such a leader is made. Bob Avakian, radical activist and communist leader, takes readers into his 1950s, middle-class past with tales of attending an integrated high school, an experience that profoundly altered his worldview. From there, he traces his path into the heady whirl of 1960s Berkeley, where he engaged with revolutionaries of all stripes. Revealing insights gained from politics, music, sports, study, and late-night bull-sessions, this dissection of the experiences that formed and informed Avakian looks back at a galvanizing history, and forward to a possible future of revolutionary change. His story offers a rare picture of what it is like to lead a revolutionary party in the most powerful country in the world.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Insight Press, Inc.
Pages   468
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 5.7" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   1.38 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2006
Publisher   Insight Press, Inc.
Edition  New  
ISBN  0976023628  
ISBN13  9780976023623  

Availability  0 units.

More About Bob Avakian

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bob Avakian is the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. He is the author of "Democracy: Can't We Do Better Than That; From Ike to Mao and Beyond; Phony Communism Is Dead: Long Live Real Communism; "and "Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About;" and the co-author of "Marxism and the Call of the Future: Conversations on Ethics, History, and Politics."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Political
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
4Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > 1945 - Present
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics

Reviews - What do customers think about From Ike to Mao and Beyond: My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist?

Beyond politics?  Apr 29, 2006
The importance of critical thinking is an important theme of "From Ike to Mao and Beyond." This approach influenced Bob Avakian's development in the transformation he went through as an individual. He was going along with his life, with a middle class background, and then he began to change.

There were 3 main themes that influenced his life: communism, socialism, and the civil rights movement (that caused Avakian to critically assess the differences between true human rights and those countenanced by the forces of familial and popular social custom).

Bob Avakian's lived experiences illuminate situations that one can learn from: not readily accepting whatever one is told or observes others doing, but questioning such practices. Does one want a better quality versus more quantity out of life? Should simple human dignity not be at the forefront of this demand for a better quality of life? Avakian's book illuminates how one individual learned to want more out of life - did not know how to get it - and eventually found a way to have it.

One example of Bob Avakian looking for the truth was described in the book when Kennedy made a speech during the Cuban Missile Crisis incident in Cuba. He said the U.N. charter forbade the Soviet Union from having missiles in Cuba. Bob Avakian went to look up the U.N. Charter, read it several times and found out he had been lied to.

As a professor, I want my students to be critical thinkers and question lies masked as concerns for the "common good." In order to become critical thinkers, I believe that my students must be exposed to all - and I mean all - opinions regardless of the issue. This book can open people up to an approach of how to look at things with a critical eye: be self-reflexive and examine the footprints that the mere practice of one's own culture might leave upon others, and ask and answer truthfully, whether or not this is the impression that one seeks to leave.

My mom who is from the South has commented that growing up there you understood where you stood because people would just come out and say what they thought. People like George Wallace (an extremely racist former Governor of Alabama) would just outright say he thought Blacks were inferior. Whereas in the North there would be a covering up of how people thought. I have experienced the latter myself in California.

During the Civil rights period, people felt deeply that there needed to be a change and they were willing to do something about it. They had to "step outside of the box" and be willing to go out and dare to struggle for something different with different people. They did not know the outcome of what would happen if they did this. That is what is needed today. People need to take risks and not accept what's going on, especially where the common good is concerned. Bob Avakian did this with his life. He was looking for the truth and he has pursued that, not knowing where that would lead him, taking risks.

I was talking to a friend about the memoir, and my friend said, "Dude. This is communism you're talking about." I said, "Look into it. Did you ever read the Communist Manifesto? Communism on paper is a beautiful thing, just like capitalism;however, what the sleeze that people engage in in practice tells more about the problems of the system than the system itself. Just because things happened in Russia or China that weren't good, you shouldn't reject it. Is there not a capitalist counterpart? Capitalism has very wealthy people, a middle class, but a lot of people are two paychecks away from poverty. Under capitalism there are a few people who hoard all the wealth and incredible numbers of homeless." After this back and forth, my friend is now reading the book. I believe people can get drawn into the story from a humanistic approach (regardless of whether or not they are communist).

If you go through Bob's story, you get to see how he came to discover socialism and communism, and how the positives of these systems that might benefit people in this country in practice; hence encouraging the creation of new humanistic models for the improvement on life for all Americans. The students need to read this. While they may not agree with Avakian's politics - and it is not written anywhere that they have to - they may agree with the humanity that Avakian found by questioning and sifting through the hidden evils of unexamined social custom.
A Communist Cultist  Jan 8, 2006
Bob Avakian's memoir has its moments, but they are all at the beginning before Avakian is twisted into accepting Maoist Communism.

The author, still a revolutionary Communist today (who really thinks a revolution is going to happen), accepts a brand of Marxism known as "Maoism" for its complete adherence to the thoughts of Mao Tse-Tung.

The memoir tracks his thinking from, as the title suggests, "Ike to Mao." It may be hard to believe there are people who think Mao was a great man - but here is one.

Avakian comes across in his writings on "racism" as a racist himself. Bottom line: he hates white people. Yet, Avakian himself is white! His philosophy can be summed up pretty simply, take the bottom-feeders of society who live off handouts from the government (the same government Avakian seems to hate so much) and twist their thinking into accepting a bizarre, cultish Communist organization. He likes to be called their "Chairman"....sound familiar?

Like I said, the book has its moments at the beginning and slowly degrades into a long explanation as to how he became a Maoist Communist with beliefs that most will have a hard time believing are still even around today.

I rate this a 1 for promoting silly ideas that most of us outgrow by age 19 or so. This book is the life of an aging hippie who never grew up and clings to the ideas of the Black Panthers of the sixties, a group which he praises and thinks is wonderful.

I'll give the first couple of chapters a 3. Some of it was interesting. But the rest is just plain weird from the "Chairman" of The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

absolutly incredible  May 2, 2005
Just finished it, and I must say, this is the most fun I've ever had from learning so much. Avakian really goes into explaining his entire development of thought, while at the same time taking you through the really exciting experiences of his life.
Really, really good  Mar 8, 2005
The writing style is easy to read, yet it is also very deep, the way he brings in the broader world that is affecting his development as a youth, the way he deals with his life-threatening illness (spoiler - he doesn't turn to God), and the entire last third of the book where he lays out his becoming a revolutionary, including his serious questions about communism and how people argued with him. It really shows a development of a human being and a Revolutionary Party.
As a second note, I've never seen a Memior that is quite so, well, personal, as some of the things he includes in his life most people would dismiss or not admit too, yet they all add up to his whole appraoch to life. And some of the things which he makes note of are really quite funny!
Cornel West  Feb 22, 2005
"Bob Avakian is a long distance runner in the freedom struggle against imperialism, racism and capitalism. His voice and witness are indispensable in our efforts to enhance the wretched of the earth. And his powerful story of commitment is timely."

Cornel West, Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion, Princeton University

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