Books That Inspire 2002

The Radical Vision of Saul Alinsky
P. David Finks

I read this book when I was a sophomore in college and it had a dramatic impact on my intellectual career. Finks coherently and vividly captures the essence of Saul Alinsky's social contributions. Alinsky, an activist sociologist, organized dozens of powerless urban neighborhoods into self-help communities. I knew early in high school that I wanted to be a sociologist, and this book provided a good example of how sociology can be used to make the world a better place. It also demonstrated that an education and social activism are closely linked. Alinksy wrote that "social change happens only when ordinary people working together possess the power to make it happen." I hope that my sociological work contributes to the democratic enterprise and to a better world, one of "more beauty, love, laughter, and creation." Fink's account of Alinsky's vision is inspirational reading for anyone concerned with social justice.
Margaret Kelley
Assistant Professor