Soul on Fire (1978)

Over the course of the book, Cleaver discusses his activities with the Black Panthers, his exile and above all his religious conversion. The introductory chapter to this book is particularly important because it gives a characterization of the nineteen-sixties, right up to 1968, when he left the country, and the changes he observes after his return. After this, the rest of the book is mostly an autobiographical account, starting with his childhood, followed by an impression of his time in prison, how he ended up in the black power movement and came to lead the Black Panthers. He also discusses their goals, strategies and influences at length. The rest of the book deal with his exile, his disillusionment with communism, and finally his return to the United States as a born-again Christian. Although disliked by critics for its unappealing writing style (Gillman), a waste of talent, the book is an interesting historical source. Most importantly, it gives a good impression of the way Cleaver reflected on the sixties as a whole and the civil rights movement and rise and fall of the Black Panthers more specifically.

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