THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH by

THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

That part of the French Left centered around Sartre and the policies of Les Temps Modernes is probably the most curious intellectual phenomenon of the Cold War. All those tortuous turnings to follow the ""wave of the future,"" to keep in step with neo-marxism, to revivify the ""revolutionary conscience"" -- what a nervous spectacle it is! ""Do you think I can read Robbe-Grillet in an underdeveloped country ?"" asked Sartre recently, warning in his best J'accuse manner that the writer who isn't ""on the side of the two billion starving"" is ""at the service of a privileged class, and like that class, an exploiter. "" The work here came out in France at the height of the Algerian war; the author, a young Negro psychoanalyst, born in Martinique, died of cancer in 1961. His book develops various stirring concepts--the use of terrorism, the overthrow of colonialism, the opportunities and dangers of nationalism, culture as a project of liberation-all within the purview of a political philosophy which adamantly rejects Western civilization and posits a tiers monde or Third World made up of a newly-awakened world peasantry or proletariat. His views--hot blooded, excessive, exhertative--range from a denunciation of the white man's history to an appeal for African transcendence, a new way of life as the only hope of mankind. Aside from its socialist basis, how this is to happen or what it will constitute, is not mentioned. A vital, moving, very provocative document, more than a little fraudulent or naive, from the Trotsky of the F.L.N.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1965
Publisher: Grove