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Resistance, Rebellion and Death Hardcover – Dec 1964

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd (Dec. 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241905621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241905623
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,920,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
In these hard hitting texts, which are still highly relevant today, one of the greatest writers of all time, Albert Camus, gives his outspoken opinion on man, on crucial social issues, on art and the artist and on the role of the intellectual in our world.

Mankind
For Albert Camus, our world has no ultimate purpose. But, something in it has without a shadow of a doubt a meaning and that is man. For him, `man is not naturally good. He is better or worse. Man is not by nature a social animal. But, he cannot live outside society, whose laws are necessary to his physical survival. The final justification of the laws is the good they do or fail to do.'

Human society, politicians, the media and liberty
Human beings need a society based on reason (intelligence). The all important issues in a human society are truth, freedom and justice. There is no freedom without reason. `When reason is snuffed out, the black night of dictatorship begins.' And, `if someone takes away your freedom, you may be sure that your bread is threatened.'
For the politicians, Albert Camus has a strong message: politicians should be there `not for power, but for justice; not for politics, but for ethics.' And, `contemporary intelligence seems to measure the truth of doctrines and causes solely by the number of armored divisions.'
For Albert Camus, `neither individual nor party has a right to absolute power or to lasting privileges.' And, no privilege, no supreme reason can justify torture, terror, violence or murder.
And we need free speech. But, `freedom of the press (the media) is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the gradual degradation of the idea of liberty. The press (the media) has its pimps and its policemen.
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2 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
Camus' essays, while often recondite and impenetrable, do offer insight into the human condition. In his essays, our existential and absurd freedom are defined. Consequently, the human condition is vindicated, suicide is deemed inviable, and human life is elevated to perpetual resistance, rebellion, and inevitable death. But remember, as they say on the Simpsons: Camus can do but Sartre is smarter!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
An essential to the library called your mind 31 Jan. 2003
By Jesster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For nearly 30 years I have carried this book with me virtually everywhere. No, it's not "an easy read" - but it is worth buying (owning)and treasuring - if only for the FOURTH LETTER (to a German Friend)- it is the most moving argument/declaration for humanity and choosing it that I have ever seen anywhere.
Some (like Sartre?) might call it a "rationalization". But even those who have resigned themselves to the religions of cynicism and despair - could find a remnant of fight and even "goodness" (yikes!) inside themselves. Camus' words remind us that resignation and the inevitable indifference and inhumanity that follow are the ultimate betrayals of life.
While there is nothing "cheerful" or even optimistic about these writings - you'd have to be cold-blooded, heartless and completely beyond repair or redemption not to be inspired by the wistful aspirations that Camus exudes from his admittedly battered heart and soul.
I disagree with the reviewer (who did praise this precious book) Sartre is smart - but so is Camus - and Camus exudes the humanity that Sartre can't even see or imagine.
Sartre would tell us that we always have the freedom to at least rattle our chains (at least theoretically) - but Camus has the power to inspire us to want to.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The agony of a humanist 7 July 2005
By Vinay Varma - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This collection of essays is the most brilliant one of Camus' diverse smaller non-fiction writings. The bulk of this book concerns his journalistic writings on the Algerian Revolution, Soviet Union etc. Through these essays, you understand the pain of Camus. Camus' ethics doesn't agree to mindless violence for the sake of power. He makes an impassioned plea for tolerance and humanitarian solutions to the problems of war and peace.

Camus is not necessarily logical or politically correct. His stand on the issue of independence of Algeria is a compromised position between French imperialism and Algerian aspirations for freedom during that period. However, in his passion for diagnozing the problems of his time and addressing them, he hits upon a lot of interesting insights and arguments.

Particularly brilliant for both its analysis and its conclusion is Camus' landmark long essay 'Reflections on the Guillotine' which occupies a fair part of the book. In this essay, Camus systematically demolishes all legal or quasi-moral justifications for capital punishment and answers the third aspect of the question - Whether human life is worth taking?

In his 'The Myth of Sisyphus', he had argued against self-murder. In 'The Rebel', he argued against murder and genocide. In this essay, he argues against legalized murder. But unlike his earlier works where he offered weak arguments after a brilliant analysis, here he hits the mark by demolishing the justifications for capital punishment, totally. This particular essay deserves to be considered a classic in the philosophy of law and justice.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Bracing clarity 2 Dec. 2004
By Jonathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It has provided me with the strongest, most clear-headed confidence in the face of unrelenting hypocrisy and struggle. Camus was on the side of the angels for all of the conflicts of his time, a time that saw the darkest face of humanity. His arguments for compassion and justice are utterly transfixing and revelatory, and written with a clarity and insight that are simply breath-taking.

I challenge anyone that supports the death penalty to read "Reflections on the Guillotine" and walk away with their arguments intact. In this piece Camus utterly demolishes every argument for state-sanctioned murder while defending the right to live with dignity, a right that can easily encompass the self-defense by combat necessitated by circumstance.

Camus was a moral, intellectual, and physical hero, and reading these essays one is almost overcome by his sense of humilty, justice, and compassion. His writing is so crystalline, it's almost jolting. This is a powerful tonic for all those that despair of creating a place for the best qualities of the human race in times of utter darkness. A must-read.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A good book..... 21 Aug. 2000
By J. Michael Showalter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Camus' essays are obviously more difficult to read than hisstories, and quite possibly more difficult to read than his philosophical investigations as well. Should they be read? Of course. In them, he speaks of similar topics (i.e. what to do in the face of absurditiy, human moral dilemmas, etc.) as he does in the other books, though in a more precise, more direct fashion. His views on the death penalty shaped my own almost completely.
What you get in this book are coherent arguments by a coherent, nuainced thinker. Is Sartre smarter than Camus? Camus knew enough to fear most -isms and -ologies where Sartre did not... (not that I recommend ignoring Sartre either! )
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
"In the service of truth and the service of freedom." 4 April 2001
By Elderbear - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"I step onto the podium only when forced to by the pressure of circumstances and by my conception of my function as a writer." (p. 132) From the circumstances of Fascist Spain and Nazi occupied France, to the circumstances of the Hungarian and Algerian struggles for freedom, Camus' essays demand involvement, require action in the face of hopelessness. He never offers a moment's peace for couch-potato complacency. "Freedom is not made up principally of privileges; it is made up especially of duties." (p. 96)
To read these essays is to step into the world of a man who said to Christians "I share with you the same revulsion from evil. But I do not share your hope, and I continue to struggle against this universe in which children suffer and die." (p. 71) And "Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children." (p. 73)
Camus is recalled to the podium, in a day when children are tortured and die in Chiapas while most turn a blind eye and complain that sitcoms just aren't what they used to be. These essays, possibly his most accessible work, demand an active response from the modern reader. Our struggle today, although not against Nazi minions, still must echo his "There are means that cannot be excused. I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice." (p. 5) [See Jamal's Live from Death Row and Peltier's Prison Writings, elsewhere on Amazon.]
Camus is outspoken about capital punishment, too. "It is obviously no less repulsive than the crime, and this new murder, far from making amends for the harm done to the social body, adds a new blot to the first one." (p. 176) His "Reflections on the Guillotine" is the longest essay in book. He views capital punishment, even in "free" societies, as an act of totalitarianism.
Camus proclaims the call to justice and the struggle for freedom found in the Old Testament, especially in the minor prophets. But he does so in a modern context, where God is silent and man is the maker of his own destiny. Although he sees no messianic age, he proclims the hope that by continuous effort evil can be diminished and freedom and justice may become more prevalent.
Five stars for courage, five stars for clarity, five stars for consistency. After the abortion of democracy on December 9, 2000, every freedom and justice seeking American needs to read this book.
(If you would like to respond to this review, click on the "about me" link above & send me email. Thanks!)
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