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The Wretched of the Earth [Hardcover]

Frantz Fanon , Constance Farrington
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 1965

Frantz Fanon's seminal work on the trauma of colonization, The Wretched of the Earth made him the leading anti-colonialist thinker of the twentieth century. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is translated from the French by Constance Farrington, with an introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Written at the height of the Algerian war for independence from French colonial rule and first published in 1961, Frantz Fanon's classic text has provided inspiration for anti-colonial movements ever since, analysing the role of class, race, national culture and violence in the struggle for freedom. With power and anger, Fanon makes clear the economic and psychological degradation inflicted by imperialism. It was Fanon, himself a psychotherapist, who exposed the connection between colonial war and mental disease, who showed how the fight for freedom must be combined with building a national culture, and who showed the way ahead, through revolutionary violence, to socialism. Many of the great calls to arms from the era of decolonization are now of purely historical interest, yet this passionate analysis of the relations between the great powers and the 'Third World' is just as illuminating about the world we live in today.

Frantz Fanon (1925-61) was a Martinique-born French author essayist, psychoanalyst, and revolutionary. Fanon was a supporter of the Algerian struggle for independence from French rule, and became a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. He was perhaps the preeminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.

If you enjoyed The Wretched of the Earth, you might like Edward Said's Orientalism, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'In clear language, in words that can only have been written in the cool heat of rage, he showed us the internal theatre of racism'


--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Distribution Services; First Edition edition (Sep 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0261631187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0261631182
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,334,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"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." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Frantz Fanon (1925 - 1961) was an author from Martinique, essayist, psychoanalyst, and revolutionary. He was perhaps the preeminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
National liberation, national renaissance, the restoration of nationhood to the people, commonwealth: whatever may be the headings used or the new formulas introduced, decolonization is always a violent phenomenon. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925 and trained as a doctor (specializing in psychiatry) in France. He was assigned to a hospital in Algeria during the uprising against the French. He chose to throw in his lot with the "rebels" and became one of their most articulate spokesmen. He did not live to see the French leave Algeria as he died of leukaemia at the age of thirty-six.

In this book, Fanon provides an insight into the true nature of imperialism. He details the mental, economic and physical degradations that characterize the relationship between "the settler" and "the native" and how violence is a central feature of this relationship. Fanon explains how violence is central to the de-colonization process and the forging of a unifying consciousness amongst the colonized populace. He provides further insights into the organization of colonial struggle, the different roles played by town "elites" and rural people and also, very interestingly, the impact of the violence that characterized the colonial order on the mental health of everyone involved.

I found this a fascinating read. The evils of imperialism are often glossed over in many accounts and Fanon majors on destroying this myth. These are the considered opinions of a man not afraid to call it as he sees it. Colonial struggles are a thing of the past now. However, Fanon's analysis of the relationship between the "First" and the "Third" World is still quite relevant.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
...Sarte's introduction had me hooked and I couldn't wait to begin reading Fanon's comments. I was a bit disappointed at first, but as I got into the text I began to realize that I couldn't put it down. Fanon is very insightful as to what happens during an anti-colonial struggle. He explains how the anti-colonial struggle is divided between the rural areas and the towns, whereas most Westerners see the movement as a coherent body. In Fanon's opinion, violence is the way forward. Many are quick to criticize this opinion, citing Gandhi as an example of how a non-violent movement can work. However, violent and non-violent movements must be examined on a case by case basis and Fanon shows how violence is important to the nation to establish itself as a truly independent nation that will not endure Neo-Colonialism. It is also essential towards building a national solidatory, something difficult when the area is usually composed of different tribal groups that have different cultures and who have been encouraged to fight each other by the colonial authorities.
In conclusion, you should read this book if you want to gain an insight into the philosophy of the anti-colonial struggle. This book has truths that are still relevant to this day and which will continue to be relevant for some time to come.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
...which should certainly be viewed as an appropriate response. Frantz Fanon was a Black psychiatrist who was born on the French island of Martinique. During the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) he worked in Algerian hospitals, and developed a strong sympathy for the struggle of the native Algerians (who were not of European origins!). Fanon died in 1961, far too young, at 36, stricken by leukemia. Alistair Horne wrote the classic, dispassionate account of the Algerian War, entitled A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (New York Review Books Classics). Fanon wrote his own classic masterpiece, a cri de coeur, literally on his death bed. This book would be an essential inspirational text for those who fought in the remaining anti-colonial wars as well as the Black civil rights movement in the United States. The book also contains an introduction from Jean-Paul Sartre.

In the introduction, Sartre says in his indubitable style: "The European elite undertook to manufacture a native elite. They picked out promising adolescents; they branded them, as with a red-hot iron, with the principles of Western culture; they stuffed their mouths full with high-sounding phrases, grand glutinous words that stuck to the teeth. After a short stay in the mother country they were sent home, whitewashed. These walking lies had nothing left to say to their brothers; they only echoed." Sartre is utterly oblivious. Willfully oblivious? How many of those "natives" who were educated in European "rights of man" values went back to lead the revolts against their colonial masters? A minority, for sure, but surely a majority of those who actually revolted, from Ho Chi Minh to Pol Pot. And is Frantz Fanon himself a "walking lie"?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Must read' in 2009 25 Feb 2009
(review also published on Amazon.com). This extraordinary book, first published in 1961, must be read now in 2009. Fanon's African "settlers" could refer to Israeli occupiers, or to US military occupiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; the 'natives' would now be the Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan people.

The phrases 'colonial' could refer to today's corporate fascists. "In spite of the huge sums swallowed up by military budgets,international capitalism is in desperate straits." Economically, "the mass of people strugggle against the same poverty, flounder about making the same gestures and with their shrunken bellies outline what has been called the geography of hunger.... What counts today, the question which is looming on the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity must reply to this question, or be shaken to pieces by it." Read it?!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to understand the psychology of the oppressed? Begin here.
Again not a book I love - but using it as a post war analysis of Iraq to understand how the counter insurgency arose this book is invaluable, as it details how Abu Ghraib times x... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles
1.0 out of 5 stars Amazon says order delivered yesterday, not here!
I have looked on my orders, and apparently this book was delivered yesterday Wednesday 23rd October at 928am. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Axl
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Fanon is insightful and notes the key factors that maintain settler dominance in his account of colonisation. Great read, fast pace and rewarding to read!
Published 14 months ago by Rida
3.0 out of 5 stars A gift
Again, it wasn't for me, but bought as a gift, so cannot really rate it!
I am sure that the recipient enjoyed it!
Published 15 months ago by Duke of Sheffield
5.0 out of 5 stars Item & Service
All round (item & service) very good. I'd like to know how items are priced though. transparency is the key!
Published 19 months ago by akhk10
4.0 out of 5 stars Impassioned analysis of colonialism, imperialism and capitalism
Fanon wrote this in 1961 when the world was locked into the Cold War between the USSR and the USA, and postcolonialism was in its infancy. Read more
Published on 30 Mar 2012 by Roman Clodia
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful
coming from a former British colony I found this book to be a great read. I believe every person from a former colony should read this book to understand how terrible the colonists... Read more
Published on 7 Feb 2012 by Esoo Limes
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading
it is a good insight into the minds of the oppressor and the oppressed. The understanding can be the basis for negotiating and making peace.
Published on 26 May 2010 by Mk Opoku
5.0 out of 5 stars THE HATE THAT HATE PRODUCED
I have given this five stars - not because I agree with its contents - but because of its indispensable insight into the anti-colonial/anti-imperialist mindset of much of the... Read more
Published on 21 Feb 2010 by S. O'Donnell
3.0 out of 5 stars an impassioned plea, historically past its best-before date
While this book had been on my shelf for years, I never got beyond the Sartre preface to read the whole thing until this month, after watching The Battle of Algiers on a movie... Read more
Published on 9 May 2009 by DavidW.
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