The Wretched of the Earth
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Frantz Fanon (1925-61) was a Martinique-born black psychiatrist and anticolonialist intellectual; The Wretched of the Earth is considered by many to be one of the canonical books on the worldwide black liberation struggles of the 1960s. Within a Marxist framework, using a cutting and nonsentimental writing style, Fanon draws upon his horrific experiences working in Algeria during its war of independence against France. He addresses the role of violence in decolonization and the challenges of political organization and the class collisions and questions of cultural hegemony in the creation and maintenance of a new country's national consciousness. As Fanon eloquently writes, "[T]he unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps."
Although socialism has seemingly collapsed in the years since Fanon's work was first published, there is much in his look into the political, racial, and social psyche of the ever-emerging Third World that still rings true at the cusp of a new century. --Eugene Holley, Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The writing of Malcolm X or Eldridge Cleaver or Amiri Baraka or the Black Panther leaders reveals how profoundly they have been moved by the thoughts of Frantz Fanon. --"The Boston Globe"
"Have the courage to read this book."--Jean-Paul Sartre
"This century's most compelling theorist of racism and colonialism." -Angela Davis
"The value of The Wretched of the Earth [lies] in its relation to direct experience, in the perspective of the Algerian revolution. . . . Fanon forces his readers to see the Algerian revolution--and by analogy other contemporary revolutions--from the viewpoint of the rebels."--Conor Cruise O'Brien, "Nation"
"The Wretched of the Earth is an explosion."--Emile Capouya, "Saturday Review"
"This is not so much a book as a rock thrown through the window of the West. It is the Communist Manifesto or the Mein Kampf of the anticolonial revolution, and as such it is highly important for any Western reader who wants to understand the emotional force behind that revolution."--"Time" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
While Fanon tracks the stages in the evolution of a radical anti-capitalist consciousness in the underdeveloped world, there is no question of his endorsing or advocating violence. One has only to read the final chapter on the psychological effects on both the colonizer and the colonized to see that Fanon is acutely aware of the brutality for all concerned of the Algerian War, even or, indeed, especially, for the oppressors themselves. There is certainly no question of his endorsing the indiscriminate horrors committed that were committed by the FLN against their oppressors.
The other thing, of course, that the petulant, anti-intellectual, ahistorical reactionaries who have shared their opinions here conveniently ignore is the violence inherent in the settler colonialism Fanon was addressing.Read more ›
reveiling the tragic symptoms and by-products of colonialism, such as the
belief that violence must be met with violence to liberate a nation. The
mindset of the oppressed and the culture of an oppressed people is written very
plain, universal language (thanks in some part, no doubt, to the translator)
and there are themes and ideas in this book that ring true today because of
this style of writing.
Fanon writes about the need for having a "national culture" and the promotion
of national identity in order to provide a cohesion to people exiting
colonialism into the more covertly cruel world of free markets, total
independence and possibly neo-colonialism (such as what goes on in a lot of the
poorer Asian, African and South American countries today with sweatshops,
plantations and diamond mining). This idea that a national unity and recognized
common interest is not an option, it's totally necessary, if a group of people
wants to truly take power for themselves can be applied to all types of groups
today: gay people, the impoverished, the political Left, those in occupied
countries, religious minorities worldwide, etc.
So why would I only give the book 3 stars? I feel that while a lot of the
philosophy in the book is timeless, it takes lot of wading through dated
accounts of 1960s African politics, Fanon's psychiatric conclusions (one-fifth
of the book is devoted to this) and some mediocre round-about philosophizing.
The back of the edition I read claimed that "The Wretched of the Earth" had
surpassed other books of the era about colonialism and become more than just a
historically interesting artifact.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
No complaints - I received this book in good condition. Very satisfied.Published 4 months ago by Aubrey Kellawan
Discussion about psychological oppression, poverty, mindlessness and patronisation starts with this book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by MJeri
His statement, not much Marx in it, was that both the tortured
and the torturers needed therapy. Read more
Fanon asserts that violence is necessary for colonized and opressed people to achieve liberation. Have none of the readers of this book ever heard of Gandhi or Martin Luther King? Read morePublished on April 29 2003
Most powerful and relevant book on the earth - read it, re read it and recommend it. It will change your outlook on the African continent or help you to see something not studied... Read morePublished on March 12 2003
A great backdrop for a perspective on colonialism. This book in some cases can be applied to many cultural issues today.Published on Oct. 19 2002 by Clare Webb
I pulled the title of my review from page 130, which states, "This lumpenproletariat is like a horde of rats; you may kick them and throw stones at them, but despite your best... Read morePublished on May 2 2002 by JB