Cover Image: An Abolitionist's Handbook

An Abolitionist's Handbook

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

An Abolitionist’s Handbook by Patrisse Cullors is an inspiring guide with a holistic focus on ourselves and pursuing abolition. It is part instructional book, part memoir, and part biography of others in the movement past and present. I found it fascinating and so helpful to consider the elements of what makes ourselves stronger and better at helping. We all come from different places, but many of us struggle to heal from past trauma and need to learn how to communicate courageously. The focus is on care, for ourselves and for others. I listened to the audiobook which was wonderfully read by Ariel Blake. I loved the presentation of this book and have learned so much from it. 

Thank you St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan Audio for providing this ebook / audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
<b>"You begin where you are".</b>
That seems simple doesn't it? Begin where you are - to make the changes in your own life that need to be changed, to work to change the injustices around you, to change the conversations that you and others have that may not be supportive or abusive [the chapter on this and what really constitutes abuse was EXTREMELY eye-opening to me and has made me take a hard look at my own life and how I respond to different things around me], to support those around you who are marginalized - all very important things that we ALL should be doing. Yet, this is not as simple as it sounds. For many people, it involves changing behavior that is second nature and has been for probably their whole life. It involves being stronger than one ever thought they could be in standing up for the injustices that they see around them. It involves possibly alienating those who may be family members, close friends and co-workers in standing up for what should and should not be said and behavior that is and isn't okay and then remaining strong when those very people, who either don't want to change or are afraid to change, turn on you and/or walk away from you. Being an abolitionist is not easy. It is not fun. It can be amazingly rewarding. It WILL change how you see everything, especially when you make the commitment and start doing the right thing and being the ally you should be. 

This is a very important book. Everyone should be reading it [even the ones who don't think they need it] and doing the questions in it and then reevaluating their lives and just where they stand. Because there will be people who read this and it won't make a difference to them [and that is something that is more than likely expected, but it is one of the saddest things I have had to write in a long time]. Then, there are the people who will read this and see that they can begin where they are and start making the change and will realize just how amazing it is to do the right thing. Then there are people who are already allies, but know they can do more [this is where I am] and there are still things in their lives that they can change [I had several moments of being smacked in the face with knowledge that I had never even considered and I know I have work to do ahead of me] and they want the tools to begin that. And then there are the people of color that this is truly written for - how to look at their own lives, how to address issues in their own lives and how they can begin to heal from the hurts and pain that have been inflicted on them and their people for hundreds of years. This is a book for all these people. Everyone can learn from this. Everyone. 

I plan on buying this book and reading it again with the idea of taking a chapter a day and doing all the work that is in the book [there are questions and readings etc at the end of the chapters that encourage the person reading it to make changes] - the kindle is not a good tool to accomplish this [IMO]. I think that it is good to read through a book like this and just absorb it and get a feel for it and then read it again and start applying what needs to be applied and start the work. I know that won't work for everyone, but I have found, with books like this, this is one of the better  ways to approach it. 

I was able to get the audiobook, read by Ariel Blake, and that really opened up the book for me [I think I am really an auditory learner, though in doing this book again, I plan on read reading it]. She does the narration so well and it made me pay attention to more things that were being said than I might not have in just reading it. I highly suggest that those who plan on reading this and doing/starting the work, listen to it at least once. It is a really great experience with a narrator that doesn't flinch from the subject matter and really does the book and the topics justice. 

Now, go read this book, but if you do, plan in it changing your life. Plan on it making you want to begin new journeys. Just begin where you are, and then move forward. 

Thank you to Patrice Cullors, Ariel Blake [Narrator], St. Martin's Press, Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for providing this ARC and audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
While I’m grateful this text, it was often confusing who the audience was intended to be. The author seems to alternate between addressing young Black organizers and an white public new to abolition without explicitly coding it that way. It never particular seems she regards the audience as her peer. The interview with AMB at the end was an absolute delight and a highlight of the text for me.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley.. I really appreciated the format of this book as a handbook for abolitionists. If you are hoping to learn more about what abolition means, you might look elsewhere, but if you want to figure out how to navigate the messiness but hope that come with abolition work (or any work for radical change), this is a good primer, I think. It's also a fast read. The book provides helpful examples and suggestions for navigating tough conversations, especially with allies who sometimes disagree, which I will definitely be taking with me in my own activism and advocacy.
Was this review helpful?
I dare you to read this book and not get excited. 
And that sentence came to me right away after just reading the first few pages. . There is a brave new world out there. Grab it! 
This book is a badly needed revelation. Read it!
Was this review helpful?
A wise and practical handbook for making change and fighting injustice. AN ABOLITIONIST'S HANDBOOK will inspire individuals seeking to make change and serve as a useful text for a wide range of groups and organizations seeking the same. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this book to read via requesting on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I requested to read Cullors new book because I admired her first book, When They Call You a Terrorist. This book provides a framework for how to attain an abolitionist mind-set and to put the self to action. It covers 12 steps, including "Respond vs. React", "Commit to Not Harming or Abusing Others", and "Embrace Non-Reformist Reform" to create impactful social justice reform. Abolitionists today fight to dismantle prison systems, surveillance and policing systems, and other entities that fuel oppression. Abolitionists fight every day so that everyone can be free. Stepping into the shoes of abolition can be difficult to understand and interpret, and this book helps to provide a humanist approach. "Abolitionist practice is also about establishing a system that is rooted in dignity and care for all people" (Introduction). I thought Cullors did a great job in unpacking these principles and helping the reader to understand why a firm foundation in communication, conflict resolution, and self-actualization are important for abolitionists. This is not an academic, heavily-researched book, but rather an anthology of wisdom coming from someone who has devoted their life to social justice reform. There is a lot of perspective within these pages from others doing movement work and beyond, and Cullors does a great job in providing examples of how these 12 principles can find space in the real world. I recommend this book to those invested in or curious about entering the realm of transformative justice, as Cullors provides fantastic advice on growing our minds both personally and professionally in order to build stronger relationships and communities.
Was this review helpful?
This book had excellent information about being an abolitionist and was written in a familiar, comfortable manner. I could really hear the author's voice come through as she spoke to the reader much like a friend. I was confused, however, who the audience for this book is. As a white person, I thought it would teach me about supporting Black abolition but the author seemed to flip between addressing people like me and addressing Black people already in the abolitionist community. Putting aside the issue of audience, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others wanting to know how to support and promote abolition.
Was this review helpful?