This book examines the ideas of two of the most controversial radical heroes of adult education, Antonio Gramsci and Paulo Freire, gauging their significance for the development of a radical politics of adult education in the post-Soviet, post-apartheid new world order. Gramsci offers a noble vision of the role of adult education in the creation of revolutionary Marxist hegemony; but the cause he lived and died for has all but collapsed. Nevertheless, his distinction between common sense and good sense, his theory of the intellectual and his concept of hegemony bear scrutiny today. In Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed, the relationship between leader and followed, teacher and student, is problematic and this book questions whether his pedagogy has the liberating potential he envisioned. The author considers and rejects the linkage of Gramsci’s and Freire’s ideas in the adult education literature. Nonetheless, Gramsci and Freire have huge symbolic importance as radical heroes in an under-theorized and marginalised field. The study highlights a problem with the radical hero phenomenon: when individuals become icons, their ideas cease to be open, and new insights do not emerge as challenge becomes inadmissible and debate dies. While neither Gramsci nor Freire can provide us with answers, Gramsci helps us address the difficult questions of purpose and content in the politics of adult education.