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Published in: Journal of African American Studies 4/2021

01-11-2021 | BOOK REVIEW

Revolution or Death: The Life of Eldridge Cleaver, by Justin Gifford. Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill Books, 2020. $28.99 Hardback. 331 Pages

Author: Zachary Manditch-Prottas

Published in: Journal of African American Studies | Issue 4/2021

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Excerpt

Scholars most often consider Eldridge Cleaver in relation to his brief time in the national spotlight as author of the best-selling essay collection Soul on Ice and prominent member of the Black Panther Party. Cleaver, a towering man with a gift for interlacing the profound with the profane and an unflinching willingness to confront that which he deemed unjust, embodied a brash magnetism that many found compelling, others found dangerous, but that few could ignore. Certainly, in the late 1960s, Eldridge Cleaver was larger than life—a consequence of his captivating persona that, as a historical figure, was simplified to the symbolisms of iconicity. Indeed, iconicity, be it in the interest of valorizing heroes or damning villains, is a warped historic lens, possessing the twin effect of enlarging and narrowing its subject. Yet, Justin Gifford’s biography, Revolution or Death: The Life of Eldridge Cleaver, offers a fuller account of Cleaver’s life. Revolution or Death is a compelling read that deepens and contextualizes the mythic Cleaver of the radical 1960s in a longer, more complicated life of committed activism, political permutations, and personal demons. …
Metadata
Title
Revolution or Death: The Life of Eldridge Cleaver, by Justin Gifford. Chicago, IL: Lawrence Hill Books, 2020. $28.99 Hardback. 331 Pages
Author
Zachary Manditch-Prottas
Publication date
01-11-2021
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Journal of African American Studies / Issue 4/2021
Print ISSN: 1559-1646
Electronic ISSN: 1936-4741
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-021-09555-1