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The Latest Outrage from France: The Screed from Stephane Hessel

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Posted on March 15 2011 3:59 pm
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The new “publishing phenomenon” in France, as Elaine Sciolino calls it in The New York Times, is Stephane Hessel’s manifesto, Indignez-Vous, or as it is called in the new American publicationA Time for Outrage. A scant 14 pages of text, the pamphlet — a more accurate name for it than a book — has sold 600,000 copies in France in a three month period that began last October.  One can also read it in a recent issue of The Nation, although the magazine has it behind a firewall. The introduction to the book by Charles Glass, however, isavailable at their website.

Indeed, the book has become a world-wide phenomenon. It has sold a total of 1.5 million copies by now in France, and has been translated in many countries including Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Korea, Japan and Sweden. Why has it been such a success?  Sciolono answers that it was a popular Christmas gift among “left-leaning intellectuals, [and] parents struggling to inject political activism into their children.” It also resonated in France because Hessel has a bona fide history as one of the remaining heroes of the World War II era — he is now 93 years old, and was not only an opponent of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime during the war, he fled France to work with Charles De Gaulle and his government in exile in London. Then, he parachuted into occupied France in 1944 to help the underground Resistance. Caught by the Gestapo, he was tortured and sent to two different concentration camps, and sentenced to hang. He switched identities with an inmate who had died, and escaped while being sent to yet a third camp.

Read the rest at Pajamas Media.

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