Rhetoric for Radicals concludes on a hopeful note, with the wish that its activist readership will internalize the book’s rhetorical tools and tactics, and will be that much better equipped to become “the rhetors of the past who created the future.” And indeed, there can be but little doubt that this thorough, well-organized, accessible—and even personal—little handbook is the best instrument imaginable for fulfilling this purpose.
Frank gives an overview of the book:
by Frank Kaminski
Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for Twenty-First Century Activists
By Jason Del Gandio
235 pp. New Society Publishers – Nov. 2008. $17.95.
Radical activists are in the midst of a crisis. They have important messages to share, but they don’t do nearly a good enough job of communicating those messages to the general public. And their messages and actions too easily fall victim to the distortions of skewed, corporate mass media and the remonstrations of political pundits. In short, radical activists find themselves in a rhetorical crisis—one that urgently needs to be addressed if they are to have any chance of changing the world.
That’s the assessment of Jason Del Gandio, himself a longtime radical activist and professor of rhetoric and communication at Philadelphia’s Temple University. In his book Rhetoric for Radicals, Del Gandio entreats his fellow radicals to recognize the importance of effective communication, and then proceeds to outline the basics of writing, public speaking, body rhetoric and other rhetorical mainstays.
Rhetoric for Radicals is intended for college-aged activists and organizers, and for the most part it’s written in a relaxed, approachable style. It does get a bit cerebral and academic in places—in demonstrating how the book builds on the previous literature—but this material is kept to a minimum. On the whole, Rhetoric for Radicals is an invaluable, comprehensive how-to book that will greatly benefit beginning and seasoned rhetors alike.
I knew that I wanted to be a writer by the age of thirteen. While the other kids were playing outside, I was always holed up in my room working on my latest short story or attempt at a novel. I had other artistic pursuits as well—I did a lot of drawing, sculpture-making,...