Paris is firing all its ammunition into the August night. Against a vast backdrop of water and stone, on both sides of a river awash with history, freedom's barricades are once again being erected. Once again justice must be redeemed with men's blood.
Albert Camus (1913-1960) wrote these words in August 1944, as Paris was being liberated from German occupation. Although best known for his novels including The Stranger and The Plague, it was his vivid descriptions of the horrors of the occupation and his passionate defense of freedom that in fact launched his public fame.
Now, for the first time in English, Camus at 'Combat' presents all of Camus' World War II resistance and early postwar writings published in Combat, the resistance newspaper where he served as editor-in-chief and editorial writer between 1944 and 1947. These 165 articles and editorials show how Camus' thinking evolved from support of a revolutionary transformation of postwar society to a wariness of the radical left alongside his longstanding strident opposition to the reactionary right. These are poignant depictions of issues ranging from the liberation, deportation, justice for collaborators, the return of POWs, and food and housing shortages, to the postwar role of international institutions, colonial injustices, and the situation of a free press in democracies. The ideas that shaped the vision of this Nobel-prize winning novelist and essayist are on abundant display.
More than fifty years after the publication of these writings, they have lost none of their force. They still speak to us about freedom, justice, truth, and democracy.
"As Camus at 'Combat', a new collection of his editorials . . . makes plain, the experience, first, of the Nazi occupation of France, and then of the struggle of Algerian independence against France led him to conclude that the 'primitive' impulse to kill and torture shared a taproot with the habit of abstraction, of thinking of other people as a class of entities."--Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
"France's preeminent Camus scholar before passing away in 2004, here presents 165 of the articles Camus wrote . . . for the clandestine French Resistance newspaper Combat. The later articles are less enthusiastic than the earlier ones, reflecting Camus's gradual belief that there were three failures of French democracy after the war: France's inability to deal with war crimes and criminals; its failure to bring democracy to its colonial possessions, Indochina and Algeria; and the incapacity of the French press to remain free of outside influences."--Bob Ivey, Library Journal
"The value of this comprehensive (and exhaustively footnoted) volume is to exhibit the quotidian political thought of a great humanist as he turned his attention from the triumph of the Resistance to the much messier task of building a new France out of the war's detritus."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Albert Camus called the 20th century 'the century of fear', but he may as well have been writing about the 21st. Although written more than 50 years ago, his editorials for the Resistance newspaper Combat in the postwar period are uncannily resonant today."--Fiona Capp, The Age
"A stirring, if occasionally arcane, book that puts Camus back into his historical context. Here is Camus frothing at the mouth about collaborators and beating the drum loudly for his countrymen to get involved in creating a new democracy."--John Freeman, Denver Post
Table of Contents:
Foreword by David Carroll vii
Introduction by Jacqueline Lévi-Valensi xxxi
Thematic Classification xxxiii
CHAPTER 1: Combat Underground: March-July 1944 1
CHAPTER 2: August 21, 1944-November 15, 1945 11
CHAPTER 3: November 19-30, 1946 255
CHAPTER 4: March 17-June 3, 1947 277
CHAPTER 5: 1948-1949 295
Chronology of Principal Events, 1944-1948 311
Partial Bibliography 333
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by David Carroll:
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Arthur Goldhammer: