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the lives of those it organized. “Today San Antonio is one of the most open cities in America,” said Cortes at the group’s 10th i anniversary. “It is a place where the values of pluralism, family, and freedom of speech and assembly have become a reality.” Although the subject of Cold Anger is powerful, the book is not without defects. Rogers’s admiration for her subjects often results in overwriting. And her work seems to suffer from a lack of organization; Rogers seems unclear about what she wants the focus of the book to be. We first meet Cortes, the organizer, with a group of farmers in”Dallas in 1986. In the next chapter we’re in La Meza, Texas, at a colonia with State Treasurer Ann Richards and several other state officials, meeting with residents to discuss the lack of water and sanitation. Next it’s Austin’s Texas French Bread Bakery and Deli and Cortes is back, talking about power and politics. With the little context or background that is provided, readers unfamiliar with Texas politics and the IAF organizations are likely be lost in the dizzying jumps. It is only in the second half of the book, where the reader learns about the organizations that Cortes and other IAF activists have built, that the filst chapters begin to make sense. Perhaps ColdAngerjust attempts too much: it includes elements of a biography of Cortes; a history of Saul Alinsky, Ed Chambers, and the IAF; a consideration of how religion and politics mix; profiles of the many leaders and campaigns of the IAF groups in Texas. Ultimately, the book is the story of Cortes and his struggle to empower the state’s poor. And while any biography of Cortes would have to include all of these topics in order to attempt to explain the man, without more focus, the variety of issues here makes the book seem scattered. Instead of proceeding to a conclusion, the book seems to run in tangents. Yet despite its flaws, Cold Anger is a good place to begin to understand the new type of political organizations that Cortes and the IAF are building in Texas and across the United States. And, as Bill Moyers observes in his introduction, it is a “wonderful reminder that the American revolution is not over.” Organization Man BY DAVE DENISON LET THEM CALL ME REBEL: Saul Alinsky His Life and Legacy By Sanford D. Horwitt New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989, 595 pages 5 ANFORD HORWITT tells us he’ first became acquainted with Saul Alinsky one afternoon in a univer sity library when he picked up an interview published in Haiper’ s in 1965. Before he had finished reading, Horwitt says in his book’s introduction, “Alinsky had leaped from the pages, ten feet tall, the most fascinating person I had ever encountered.” It is a tribute to Horwitt’s skill as a biographer to say that Alinsky who was in reality just under six feet tall leaps from Horwitt’s pages at about five feet eleven-and-a -half. The author makes no pretense that it has been an easy task to render accurately the history of a man who so enjoyed cultivating a larger-than-life reputation. As he was making a name for himself as one of the premier political organizers of our time, Alinsky welcomed press portrayals of him as a savior of American democracy. He seemed to relish just as much his enemies’ certainty that he was a truly dangerous man. He seldom tried to discourage either opinion. Added to that, he loved to tell stories. “As the years rolled by and the Alinsky stories accumulated,” Horwitt writes, “the line between fact and fiction often blurred.” Like most good storytellers, Alinsky had a tendency to embellish. But he was also outlandish enough that what may have sounded like just another yarn was often a true account. Alinsky “was a character,” Horwitt says. Dave Denison, former editor of the Observer, is now a writer at large. “But even his close friends were often not quite sure which character he was.” There is enough here about Alinsky the man to satisfy the reader, but this is not a character study. The bulk of the book examines his major organizing drives his relentless efforts to make democratic participation work for ordinary city dwellers, most of them in machine-controlled or longneglected ghettoes. Horwitt has written a detailed, even meticulous, account. He begins with Alinsky’s roots as a young sociology student investigating youth gangs on Chicago’s West Side in the 1930s, then takes us through the innumerable battles that were part of Alinsky’s community organizing in the next three decades, until his death in 1972 at the age of 63. Throughout the book, Horwitt is careful to sort fact from fiction; he seems to be as much, or more, concerned with the historical record as with a seamless narrative. And yet the narrative is good. The depiction of Alinsky is sympathetic without being tendentious. Horwitt has no interest in defending his subject on all counts. Indeed, he says at the outset that he thinks Alinsky’s life suggests “that one can be heroic without being saintly.” Y THE END of the book the reader can hardly fail to admire Alinsky’s heroism. He worked year after year attempting to be a catalyst for democracy in one hostile climate after another. His world was not one of romantic ideals; his world was the city of Chicago, where the Poles didn’t like the Irish, the Catholics didn’t like the Protestants, the whites dreaded and resisted the black migration, and political power was the last thing any of them would expect to taste for themselves. Alinsky went into the teeming, stinking, Southwest Chicago neighborhood known as the Back of the Yards in the late 1930s. The area, immortalized by Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, was dominated by the meatpacking industry, which was reliant on the cheap labor of immigrants, most of them Polish. Alinsky helped build an organization the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council which over the next few years gained attention as a promising experiment in community activism. With funds from the wealthy Chicago merchant Marshall Field, Alinsky established the Industrial Areas Foundation in 1940 to support his organizing efforts. Through the decade Alinsky preached that the success in the Back of the Yards could be repeated in communities across the nation. He foresaw a movement of “People’s Organizabons” that Would transform capitalism by shifting power to ordinary citizens. He outlined his vision in Reveille for Radicals, published in 1945. With varying degrees of success, Alinsky’s methods were put into practice in other parts of Chicago, and then in California, Minnesota, and New York. He recruited talented young organizers such as Nicholas von Hoffman and Ed Chambers. And Fred Ross and Cesar Chavez launched a group of Community Service Organizations in California before Chavez split off in the 1960s to organize the United Farm Workers Union. As the civil rights movement was beginning to pick up steam, Alinsky and von Hoffman were behind the Temporary Woodlawn Organization on Chicago’s south side, which a writer for Fortune magazine described as “the most important and the most impressive experiment affecting Negroes anywhere in the United States.” Alinsky firmly believed in gradual integration of urban areas. He believed that if different racial and ethnic groups could begin to perceive common economic interests, they would all end up with a bigger share of the 26 NOVEMBER 22, 1990