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Born in Martinique, then as now a departement of France, Frantz Fanon (l925-61) trained as a psychiatrist in Lyons before taking up a post in colonial Algeria. He had already experienced racism as a soldier in the Free French Army, for which he had volunteered and in whose ranks he saw combat during the liberation of France. In Algeria, he came into contact with the Front Born in Martinique, then as now a departement of France, Frantz Fanon (l925-61) trained as a psychiatrist in Lyons before taking up a post in colonial Algeria. He had already experienced racism as a soldier in the Free French Army, for which he had volunteered and in whose ranks he saw combat during the liberation of France. In Algeria, he came into contact with the Front de Liberation National whose ruthless struggle for an independent Algeria was met with quite exceptional violence by the French Army. Fanon identified completely with the FLN and soon became a marked man. Forced to flee Algeria when he resigned his post, Fanon subsequently worked with the FLN as a propagandist and ambassador. Based on extensive and original research, this is the most compete and objective biography of Fanon yet written. It sweeps away the myths that have grown up around him and reveals Fanon to be a complex figure, infinitely more interesting than the theorist of anti-colonial violence celebrated by the left in the 60s. Macey shows Fanon to have been a man formed in the context of the French Caribbean, with its history of slavery and racism, and traces Fanon's intellectual career as a political thinker and psychiatrist with great care, setting it against the background of post-war French culture. David Macey has done justice for the first time to the extraordinary life of a complex figure, flawed in some respects but fundamentally a humanist committed to the eradication of colonialism, a man whose angry and eloquent writings are still of fierce relevance today.


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Born in Martinique, then as now a departement of France, Frantz Fanon (l925-61) trained as a psychiatrist in Lyons before taking up a post in colonial Algeria. He had already experienced racism as a soldier in the Free French Army, for which he had volunteered and in whose ranks he saw combat during the liberation of France. In Algeria, he came into contact with the Front Born in Martinique, then as now a departement of France, Frantz Fanon (l925-61) trained as a psychiatrist in Lyons before taking up a post in colonial Algeria. He had already experienced racism as a soldier in the Free French Army, for which he had volunteered and in whose ranks he saw combat during the liberation of France. In Algeria, he came into contact with the Front de Liberation National whose ruthless struggle for an independent Algeria was met with quite exceptional violence by the French Army. Fanon identified completely with the FLN and soon became a marked man. Forced to flee Algeria when he resigned his post, Fanon subsequently worked with the FLN as a propagandist and ambassador. Based on extensive and original research, this is the most compete and objective biography of Fanon yet written. It sweeps away the myths that have grown up around him and reveals Fanon to be a complex figure, infinitely more interesting than the theorist of anti-colonial violence celebrated by the left in the 60s. Macey shows Fanon to have been a man formed in the context of the French Caribbean, with its history of slavery and racism, and traces Fanon's intellectual career as a political thinker and psychiatrist with great care, setting it against the background of post-war French culture. David Macey has done justice for the first time to the extraordinary life of a complex figure, flawed in some respects but fundamentally a humanist committed to the eradication of colonialism, a man whose angry and eloquent writings are still of fierce relevance today.

30 review for Frantz Fanon: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    هَنَـــاءْ

    الرأسمالية هي التي "خلقت" كارل ماركس، والفقر المدقع في صقلية هو الذي "خلق" جاريبالدي، والأتوقراطية الروسية هي التي "خلقت" لينين، كما "خلق" الاستعمار البريطاني غاندي، أما فانون فقد "خلقه" الرجل الأبيض .. -ديفيد كوت *فرانز فانون سيرة فكرية* المستخلص من هذا الكتاب أنه يعرفك على فانون الذي لم يؤمن قط بأنصاف الحلول في مواجهته للاستعمار والاستبداد والعنصرية، وكرس حياته في استئصال هذه الأنظمة الاستبدادية .. فانون الذي لم يكن قط عنصرياً ولم يسمح قط لفلسفته أن تتلطخ بها .. سيرة فكرية ماتعة لمن يود التعرف على الرأسمالية هي التي "خلقت" كارل ماركس، والفقر المدقع في صقلية هو الذي "خلق" جاريبالدي، والأتوقراطية الروسية هي التي "خلقت" لينين، كما "خلق" الاستعمار البريطاني غاندي، أما فانون فقد "خلقه" الرجل الأبيض .. -ديفيد كوت *فرانز فانون سيرة فكرية* المستخلص من هذا الكتاب أنه يعرفك على فانون الذي لم يؤمن قط بأنصاف الحلول في مواجهته للاستعمار والاستبداد والعنصرية، وكرس حياته في استئصال هذه الأنظمة الاستبدادية .. فانون الذي لم يكن قط عنصرياً ولم يسمح قط لفلسفته أن تتلطخ بها .. سيرة فكرية ماتعة لمن يود التعرف على فلسفة هذه الشخصية، من خلال القراءة المتزنة في مخرجاتها وتناقضاتها بين العنف والتنوير والصراع العسكري والبناء الحضاري.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Naeem

    I came to this one because of the C.L.R. James biography C. L. R. James: cricket's philosopher king. Macey's biography of Fanon is cited there. Also, the James biography was so good that I thought I would give the genre another try. For a 500 page tome, Macey's books goes by very quickly. I must say I have never read anything like it. First, I cannot imagine knowing as much about a person's life as Macey seems to know: he seems to have visited every place that Fanon lived: cities and towns in M I came to this one because of the C.L.R. James biography C. L. R. James: cricket's philosopher king. Macey's biography of Fanon is cited there. Also, the James biography was so good that I thought I would give the genre another try. For a 500 page tome, Macey's books goes by very quickly. I must say I have never read anything like it. First, I cannot imagine knowing as much about a person's life as Macey seems to know: he seems to have visited every place that Fanon lived: cities and towns in Martinique, various cities in France, cites in Algeria, Tunisia, and Ghana; he seems to have read every last thing -- books, essays, letters, notes -- that Fanon wrote; he seems to have spoken to every person whom Fanon knew (the famous and the not so well known); he seems to have read every book on Fanon and his theories; he appears to have read all the works that were an influence on Fanon, including Cesaire, Mannoni, Glissant, Freud, Lacan, and especially Sartre; with meticulous care he follows Fanon's psychiatric career -- including all his technical writing, his experiments, and the evolution of his thinking; and Macey seems to have read every last thing written on the Algerian revolution. (The section where Assia Djebar, the great Algerian novelist/historian/feminist meets Fanon, is one of my favorite.) Second, Fanon's family life, his aspirations, his career, his political decisions are placed in the context of wider social movements, wider theoretical waves, wider world events, wider tensions in the global fabric. Through Fanon's life, Macey builds up a holistic picture of post WWII life. Third, I was amazed at what I didn't know: that Cesaire and Glissant were from Martinique and that Fanon knew them; that Fanon took his psychiatry seriously even when he was exiled in Tunisia, that he had read Freud and Lacan but developed his own more sociological diagnosis of symptoms; that Fanon aspired to be a French intellectual; that he fought in WWII and was wounded in battle; that he and his wife Josie knew and were friends with Sartre and Simone Beauvoir; that Sartre put his life at great risk by writing the preface to the The Wretched of the Earth; that the preface made Sartre the most hated man in France; that there were numerous attempts to kill Sartre and Fanon; that most of the French left couldn't find a way to support the Algerians until after Sartre's influence; that the Algerians lost the Battle of Algiers and were losing the war against the French; that the Algerians eventually took the battle to the streets of Paris and other major cities of France in a manner that today would be called "terrorism"; that the French Army tried to stage a coup against De Gaulle and nearly succeed when De Gaulle called for self-determination for Algeria; that in the late 50s and early 60s, France was internally torn much as the US is today regarding Iraq; and that in his personal life, Fanon abhorred violence of any type. Fourth, Macey never, ever, lets Fanon get away with false statements, inaccuracies, overstatements, generalizations. Nor does he deny Fanon's prophetic qualities, however. Frankly, I cannot remember the last time I simultaneously learned so much about history and theory. The French were barbarians in Algeria and they did some of their torturing in Paris. First London, now Paris -- I can never see these cities in same way again. They have become capitals of barbarism against the Third World -- the Third World's Berlins. Fanon became a fuller, real human being in front of my eyes. His weaknesses and limitations ruined my hero worship of him, even as I came to appreciate the Pharaoh Sanders-esque screams of his theory and texts much more. In the final analysis, Fanon's theoretical work came into sharp relief for me; I see its limitations and power far more clearly. His theory of violence as a necessary theraputic for the wounds of the Third World needs much more work because he only just began that work. Indeed, he wrote "Wretched of the Earth" in has last days, in haste, as he was dying from cancer. We know the powerful and amazing work done by Ashis Nandy in counterpoint to Fanon (see, Intimate Enemy), but I wonder who has picked up Fanon's mantle and developed his themes? Ward Churchill? If you can answer this question for me, please do. I will need to read such work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lubna

    يعني بصراحة كده... دي أول مرة تحصل إن صفحة على الفيسبوك (صفحة مش بروفايل) تعمل بلوك لبروفايل شخصي!! مع إن مضمون التعليق كان عبارة عن لفت نظر (حتى لو كان لفت نظر حاد) إلى إن هذا الكتاب ينبغي أن يضاف كطبعة جديدة تحت الكتاب الأم... لا أن يضاف ككتاب جديد مستقل بذاته!! ده ألف باء إضافة كتب يا حضرات... مش كده ولا إيه؟!.. وبعدين يأتي أدمن الصفحة المفترض أنه محترم... والمُعيّن من قبل دار نشر يفترض أنها محترمة... يأتي بفعل أقل ما يقال عنه إنه فعل صبياني...ينم عن نفسيات وعقليات مراهقة... هشة ومهلهلة... في يعني بصراحة كده... دي أول مرة تحصل إن صفحة على الفيسبوك (صفحة مش بروفايل) تعمل بلوك لبروفايل شخصي!! مع إن مضمون التعليق كان عبارة عن لفت نظر (حتى لو كان لفت نظر حاد) إلى إن هذا الكتاب ينبغي أن يضاف كطبعة جديدة تحت الكتاب الأم... لا أن يضاف ككتاب جديد مستقل بذاته!! ده ألف باء إضافة كتب يا حضرات... مش كده ولا إيه؟!.. وبعدين يأتي أدمن الصفحة المفترض أنه محترم... والمُعيّن من قبل دار نشر يفترض أنها محترمة... يأتي بفعل أقل ما يقال عنه إنه فعل صبياني...ينم عن نفسيات وعقليات مراهقة... هشة ومهلهلة... فيحذف التعليق... وكفاية على كده؟! لأ إزاي يا جماعة.... حذف التعليق لم يرض غروره -بل قل كبره- فقام عمل بلوك!! لينك البوست على فيسبوك: facebook.com/Madaratrp/photos/a.30005... وإلى دار مدارات... أفٍ لكم!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sahar Zakaria

    فرانز فانون .. "المستعمر الذي حارب الاستعمار" .. الكتاب هو سيرة فكرية لفرانز فانون .. الطبيب النفسي والفيلسوف الإجتماعي الفرنسي الذي ندد بالإستعمار الفرنسي للجزائر ..وساند الثورة الجزائرية وانضم كطبيب إلى جبهة التحرير الوطني الجزائرية ليعالج طرفي الصراع .. الكتاب يناقش أفكاره وآراءه حول العنصرية والإستعمار والثورة والعنف. . فرانز فانون .. "المستعمر الذي حارب الاستعمار" .. الكتاب هو سيرة فكرية لفرانز فانون .. الطبيب النفسي والفيلسوف الإجتماعي الفرنسي الذي ندد بالإستعمار الفرنسي للجزائر ..وساند الثورة الجزائرية وانضم كطبيب إلى جبهة التحرير الوطني الجزائرية ليعالج طرفي الصراع .. الكتاب يناقش أفكاره وآراءه حول العنصرية والإستعمار والثورة والعنف. .

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sara Salem

    One of the most fascinating biographies I have ever read. Macey goes into so much detail that you feel like you're living Fanon's life with him (although at times it gets a bit boring because of some unnecessary details). Macey is obviously well-versed in postcolonialism, Marxism and race studies, and knows Algeria, France and Martinique very well. The best thing is perhaps that he does not romanticize Fanon and indeed offers some important critiques. One of the most fascinating biographies I have ever read. Macey goes into so much detail that you feel like you're living Fanon's life with him (although at times it gets a bit boring because of some unnecessary details). Macey is obviously well-versed in postcolonialism, Marxism and race studies, and knows Algeria, France and Martinique very well. The best thing is perhaps that he does not romanticize Fanon and indeed offers some important critiques.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Domhnall

    This is certainly among the best biographies I have encountered. The subject, Frantz Fanon, was complex and challenging and he is not presented as an icon, but rather as an individual. This seemingly bland remark is worth unpacking. If Fanon is to be set up on a plinth as a model or as a paragon, then the flaws - both personal and theoretical – identified in this biography will topple any statues. Fortunately, the reality is far more impressive than the myths, of which Macey identifies and demol This is certainly among the best biographies I have encountered. The subject, Frantz Fanon, was complex and challenging and he is not presented as an icon, but rather as an individual. This seemingly bland remark is worth unpacking. If Fanon is to be set up on a plinth as a model or as a paragon, then the flaws - both personal and theoretical – identified in this biography will topple any statues. Fortunately, the reality is far more impressive than the myths, of which Macey identifies and demolishes a large number. Macey provides a very detailed, chronological account of Fanon’s life story: his childhood in the French colony of Martinique, his service in World War 2 as a French soldier, his training and professional practice in psychiatry, his engagement with the Algerian war of independence against the French, his contributions to Black African literature and culture, his political writings and his untimely death from Leukaemia at the age of only 36 years. It was a very full and eventful life and the story is told with style and a deep commitment to the truth. A critical point emerging from this is that Fanon’s activities and writing were very much a product of his situation and his own lived experiences. For example, his work as a psychiatrist, in Algeria and Tunisia, was often experimental and innovative, and typically demanded energetic confrontation with outdated practices, but it was built on the foundations of his training and early experiences in France, was entirely in line with contemporary developments in the field of psychiatry in other countries, and was performed in collaboration with others of his profession. Wrapped around this, a huge amount of wider history is described, most importantly a history of the Algerian War; reference to other liberation struggles (the Congo is one example) is patchy though interesting. The early history of France’s unprovoked invasion and colonisation from the 1830s onwards comes surprisingly late in the book, to be honest, it would have been helpful to unpick a little more detail when he observes that the French did seriously and explicitly consider emulating the USA’s genocide of Native Americans when they drove native Algerians from their lands and property and the book does not really engage sufficiently with the importance of Islam as a factor in the struggle for independence, despite a few useful asides, such as a discussion of the role of women. After all, the saga of French engagement with North African Islam is by no means resolved today, and even President Macron has been known to appeal without embarrassment to France’s “civilizing mission.” Fanon’s writings are described at some length and subjected to very sharp scrutiny. Despite their huge impact, Macey is not overawed. He finds them poorly researched, factually unreliable, making unjustifiable generalisations from special cases, inconsistent and weakly argued. He points out that Fanon makes predictions that have demonstrably failed and often misunderstands what he has observed. He attributes these failings to the very constrained conditions in which they were written, which is especially so in the case of his most famous work, The Wretched of the Earth, written in a few short months while Fanon was dying of leukaemia. On the other hand, he is highly critical – even snortingly dismissive – of the way Fanon has been poorly translated into English, his writing often taken out of context, subject to selective reading as well as direct misrepresentation, and distorted in order to support other agendas. Macey argues that Fanon himself is sometimes idealized and his contributions exaggerated in ways that are just not supported by evidence. What emerges from this critical biography is a more truthful, more three dimensional and in many ways far more admirable Frantz Fanon, generous, humane and incredibly energetic, willing to make commitments and willing to risk being wrong, who achieved a great deal in his short life and bequeathed a lasting legacy in his ideas and his values. Quotes that follow are from the digital edition, whose page numbers differ a lot from the hard copy which I initially used. One of the striking features of many of the tributes to Fanon that were published immediately after his death is the stress placed on his fundamental humanism. The negative emphasis on the theme of violence is probably a reflection of the American reception and of the way in which Fanon is read by Hannah Arendt in her book On Violence. She looks at Fanon’s influence on the violence that afflicted American university campuses in the 1960s, but fails to make any mention of Algeria[p51] Outside France, the most familiar image of Fanon was for a long time that created in the United States, where Grove Press advertised Constance Farrington’s flawed translation of Les Damnés de la terre as ‘The handbook for a Negro Revolution that is changing the shape of the white world.’[p52] ... the self-identification of civil rights workers, black power activists and Québecois separatists with Fanon’s wretched of the earth necessarily involves the misrecognition of exaggeration. In the United States, civil rights workers did encounter terrible violence and the protests of the Black Panthers did meet with armed repression. But they were not faced with General Jacques Massu’s Tenth Parachute Division and the mercenaries of the Foreign Legion. When Fanon speaks of ‘violence’, he is speaking of the French army’s destruction of whole villages and of the FLN’s bombing of cafés, or in other words of total war and not of limited low-level conflict. The extreme violence of the Algerian war was, fortunately, not reproduced in the United States or Canada. [p54] The new interest in Fanon’s first book is a product of the emergence of post-colonial studies as a distinct, if at times alarmingly ill-defined, discipline. [p55] ... Fanon is one of the very few non-Anglophones to be admitted to the post-colonial canon, and alarmingly few of the theorists involved realize – or admit – that they read him in very poor translations. The most obvious example of the problems posed by the translations is the title of the fifth chapter of Peau noire, masques blancs. Fanon’s ‘L’Expérience vécue de l’homme noir’ (‘The Lived Experience of the Black Man’) becomes ‘The Fact of Blackness’. The mistranslation obliterates Fanon’s philosophical frame of reference, ... that experience is defined in situational terms and not by some trans-historical ‘fact’.[p56] The ‘post-colonial Fanon’ is in many ways an inverted image of the ‘revolutionary Fanon’ of the 1960s. Third Worldist readings largely ignored the Fanon of Peau noire, masques blancs; post-colonial readings concentrate almost exclusively on that text ... The Third Worldist Fanon was an apocalyptic creature; the post-colonial Fanon worries about identity politics, and often about his own sexual identity, but he is no longer angry. His anger was a response to his experience of a black man in a world defined as white, but not to the ‘fact’ of his blackness. It was a response to the condition and situation of those he called the wretched of the earth. The wretched of the earth are still there, but not in the seminar rooms where the talk is of post-colonial theory. They came out on to the streets of Algiers in 1988, and the Algerian army shot them dead.[p58] Recognizing that Fanon could be – and often was – wrong is part of what Henry Louis Gates Jr. has called ‘the challenge of rehistoricizing Fanon’.[p59] The classics of French phenomenology – Merleau-Ponty’s Phénoménologie de la perception and Sartre’s L’Etre et le néant – are obviously not treatises on racism and anti-racism, but they provided tools that were much better suited to the analysis of ‘the lived experience of the black man’ than either Marxism or psychoanalysis.[p178] Nothing could prepare him for the most devastating experience of all. It occurred on a cold day in Lyon when Fanon encountered a child and his mother. This is possibly the most famous passage in Peau noire, masques blancs. The child said to his mother: ‘Look, a negro’ and then ‘Mum, look at the negro. I’m frightened! Frightened! Frightened!’[p164] The being-in-the-world that he had established for himself collapses into a being-for-others. Under the gaze of the child and its mother, Fanon now becomes ‘responsible for my body, responsible for my race, for my ancestors. I cast an objective gaze at myself, discovered my blackness, my ethnic characteristics – and my eardrums were bursting with cannibalism, mental retardation, fetishism, racial taints, slave-traders and above all, above all, “Y a bon banania”.’ He feels nauseous. Nausea is, in Sartrean terms, an expression of shame: ‘Being ashamed of onself is a recognition that I am indeed the object the other is looking at. I can only be ashamed of my freedom to the extent that it escapes me in order to become a given object.[p226] The final pages of Peau noire, entitled ‘By Way of Conclusion’, are a hymn to freedom in which Fanon rejects in very Sartrean terms all determinism and insists that his freedom is both absolute and self-founding to the extent that it transcends history. ‘Superiority? Inferiority? Why not quite simply try to touch the other, feel the other, reveal the other to me? Wasn’t my freedom given to me to build the world of the You?’ [p248] The third edition of Antoine Porot’s dictionary of psychiatry, published by France’s leading academic publishing house in 1975, still contained entries by Henri Aubin on ‘North African Natives (psychopathology of)’, ‘Blacks (psychopathology of)’ and ‘Primitivism’. The former begins: ‘The primitive mentality must be evoked here, particularly as we are speaking of a less highly evolved ethnic group . . .’ It need scarcely be added that the same dictionary contains no entry on ‘White Europeans (psychopathology of)’. No one attempted to explain the massacres at Sétif and Kherrata in terms of the innate psychological traits of white settlers. [p297] Fanon’s explanation of what was going on in Algeria is harsh and couched in staccato phrases in which one can both hear the voice of the man who could declaim passages from Césaire’s Cahier to such effect and that of the author of Peau noire: ‘I want my voice to be brutal, I do not want it to be beautiful, I do not want it to be pure. I want it to be completely strangled. I do not want my voice to enjoy this, for I am speaking of man and his rejection, of the day to day putrefaction of man, and of his appalling abdication.’ [p354] ...most fighters were illiterate and the wilaya produced their own propaganda material. Inside Algeria itself, radio was a much more effective propaganda medium than the written word. After 130 years of the French civilizing mission, the illiteracy rate was astonishingly high: in 1954, 86 per cent of Algerian men and 95 per cent of Algerian women could not read.[p421]... Colonization did not lay the foundations of Western society in Algeria. It created a divided and unevenly developed society, segregated along ethnic lines. ... As in Martinique (albeit it on a very different scale), Algeria’s ‘development’ was actually an underdevelopment. It could not be permitted to compete with France [p604] Fanon had already rejected negritude as a ‘great black mirage’ in his 1955 article on ‘West Indians and Africans’, ... In Les Damnés de la terre, he returned to that topic in more detail. He now argued that the doubts about the existence of a universal black culture expressed by Richard Wright and others in Paris demonstrated that cultures always existed in national contexts, and that the problems faced by Wright or Langston Hughes were therefore not the same as those facing Senghor or Jomo Kenyatta. In the underdeveloped countries, national culture meant the struggle for national liberation, not folklore or an abstract populism. Those who were still fighting in the name of Negro-African culture and organizing conferences dedicated to the unity of that culture should realize that they had all been reduced to comparing coins and sarcophagi. [p476] Negritude could exist only in the context of white domination: blacks from Chicago and blacks from Nigeria or Tanganyika were the same only to the extent that they defined themselves in relation to whites. It was the dominant white culture that had described all the inhabitants of Africa as ‘negroes’ and the people of Algeria as ‘Arabs’ or ‘natives’. [p477]... Something had begun to change when ‘the negroes’ began to describe themselves as ‘Angolans’ or ‘Ghanaians’; as Amrouche had remarked in 1956, Algeria was beginning to be inhabited by ‘Algerians’ and not stateless ‘natives’. The theorists of negritude had, according to Fanon, failed to register that change. [p478] Fanon speaks of a ‘nation born of the concerted action of the people’ but does not define that people in either religious or ethnic terms. In his remarkably generous discussion of the role and fate of Algeria’s European minority in L’An V de la révolution algérienne, Fanon is quite explicit about what he understands ‘Algerian’ to mean: any individual living in Algeria was a potential Algerian and could decide to be a citizen of the nation of the future. Fanon’s ‘nation’ is the dynamic creation of the action of the people, and his nationalism is a nationalism of the political will to be Algerian, not of ethnicity. And it is this nationalism of the will that allows him to speak in Sociologie d’une révolution and Les Damnés de la terre of ‘we Algerians’. [p491]... In practice, the Code of Nationality adopted in 1962 defined Algerian nationality in both ethnic and religious terms and made Islam the state religion, though it also specified that citizenship could be granted by decree to non-ethnic and non-Muslim ‘Algerians’. It was granted to only a tiny number of Europeans.[p492] Fanon’s explosive text is actually made up of material dictated to his wife in the spring and summer of 1961, and supplemented by previously published and reworked material. The ‘Bible of Third Worldism’ was composed ‘in pitiful haste’ by a man who was dying but still trying to live up to the demands of a revolution.[p569]... Between April and the beginning of July, Fanon worked fast against the clock. The final text reflects the speed at which he worked. Little or no research was done. His impressions of what he had seen of the newly independent states of Africa merge into a nightmarish picture of colonial Algeria. Fanon’s hopes and fears for the future are expressed with powerful emotion, but he rarely justifies them with hard facts.[p570... The composite image of the ‘Third World’ that emerges from the book is in part a product of Fanon’s relatively limited experience, of the circumstances in which it was composed and of Fanon’s style of working. There is no indication of extensive or original research on his part [p589] Sartre and Beauvoir got on well with Fanon, who could be seductively charming when he wished to be. To Beauvoir’s surprise, he proved to have a personal horror of violence. Although he justified the use of violence both on the public platform and in print, he was obviously deeply distressed when he spoke of the violence inflicted by the Belgians in the Congo and the Portuguese in Angola. More surprisingly, he displayed the same emotion when he spoke of the ‘counter-violence’ of the colonized and of the settling of scores that had taken place within the FLN... He thought, however, that his personal dislike of violence was a failing that reflected his position as ‘an intellectual’. [p578] Fanon and violence’ is now such a spontaneous association in France that it trivializes what he is actually describing. [p594]... What, in reality, is this violence? . . . It is the colonized masses’ intuition that their liberation must come about, and can only come about, through force.’ In a sense, it is the term ‘violence’ itself that is so scandalous; had Fanon spoken of ‘armed struggle’, the book would have been much less contentious.[p595]... Critics like Daniel and Domenach suggest that Fanon’s theses on violence are an attempt to justify the unjustifiable. Hannah Arendt makes the same point and quite erroneously claims that he glorifies ‘violence for its own sake’. Fanon does not ‘glorify’ violence and in fact rarely describes it in any detail: there are no descriptions of what happens when a bomb explodes in a crowded café and when shards of glass slice into human flesh. The violence Fanon evokes is instrumental and he never dwells or gloats on its effects. In a sense, it is almost absurd to criticize Fanon for his advocacy of violence. He did not need to advocate it. The ALN was fighting a war and armies are not normally called upon to justify their violence.[p595]... Nkrumah’s ‘positive action’ may not have appealed to him in either ideological or personal terms, but Fanon was well aware that Ghana had been decolonized without an armed struggle. He even suggests that France’s military involvement in Algeria meant that it could not fight colonial wars elsewhere and that peaceful decolonization was possible in West Africa. Fanon’s violence is primarily the violence of Algeria and its history. When he insists that a violent liberation struggle leads to a higher or purer form of independence, he is thinking of the future independence of Algeria. What he fails to recognize is that, in terms of the decolonization of ‘French’ Africa at least, Algeria was the exception and not the rule.[p596] As Aimé Césaire remarked when he parted company with the PCF in 1956, it was obvious that ‘the struggle of colonial peoples against colonialism, the struggle of people of colour against racism is much more complex – what am I saying? – of a completely different nature to the French worker’s struggle against French capitalism and can in no way be regarded as a part or fragment of that struggle.’ By 1961, there can have been few issues over which Fanon and Césaire were in agreement, but this was one of them.[p600] It is, however, impossible to reconcile Fanon’s idealization of the peasantry with the reality of what happened to so many young people who fled into the countryside after the Battle of Algiers. They were killed by Amirouche and his men during the ‘blueitis’ episode. As a black outsider who was both intellectual and urbanized to his fingertips, Fanon himself would not have survived long in Amirouche’s company.[p606] The fundamental ambiguity of Les Damnés de la terre is that, whilst Fanon constantly prophesies the victory of the people, the theoretical model he adopts necessarily implies that the group unity on which that victory is based cannot be sustained. In a sense, Fanon foresaw that the post-independence period would be difficult and dangerous; he could not foresee that it was a bureaucratized army that would hold the real power in an independent Algeria. And he did not live to see it do so. [p610]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leif

    This is perhaps one of the most thoroughly research books I've ever read: scrupulously detailed, impeccably reasoned, fluent in every necessary discourse, and with a real gift for narrative and tact. Macey does Fanon – and us – an incredible service with this biography. Absolutely required reading, if only for its uncanny precision in a moment of historical chaos and in the service of an often (and unjustly) marginalized or radically distorted thinker. I cannot say enough good things about this This is perhaps one of the most thoroughly research books I've ever read: scrupulously detailed, impeccably reasoned, fluent in every necessary discourse, and with a real gift for narrative and tact. Macey does Fanon – and us – an incredible service with this biography. Absolutely required reading, if only for its uncanny precision in a moment of historical chaos and in the service of an often (and unjustly) marginalized or radically distorted thinker. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara Aljaryan

    نبذه عن حياته : من مواليد ١٩٢٥ جزر الانتيل الفرنسية، درس الطب و علم الفلسفة في جامعة ليون،تولى رئاسة صحيفة توم -توم كانت توزع على الطلاب الزنوج، اصدر ٤ كتب الاول١٩٥٢ بعنوان البشرة السوداء واقنعة بيضاء والثاني ١٩٥٩ السنة الخامسة من الثورة الجزائرية. والثالث سنة ١٩٦١ المعذبون في الارض ونشر كتابه في سبيل الثورة الافريقية سنة ١٩٦٤، في ١٩٥٣ اختير رئيس لدائرة الطب النفسي في مستشفى بليدا بالجزائر،، اختير سنة ١٩٦٠ سفيرا للحكومة الجزائرية المؤقتة في غانا،، نجا من محاولة. فرنسية لاختطافه، اصيب بالوكيميا وف نبذه عن حياته : من مواليد ١٩٢٥ جزر الانتيل الفرنسية، درس الطب و علم الفلسفة في جامعة ليون،تولى رئاسة صحيفة توم -توم كانت توزع على الطلاب الزنوج، اصدر ٤ كتب الاول١٩٥٢ بعنوان البشرة السوداء واقنعة بيضاء والثاني ١٩٥٩ السنة الخامسة من الثورة الجزائرية. والثالث سنة ١٩٦١ المعذبون في الارض ونشر كتابه في سبيل الثورة الافريقية سنة ١٩٦٤، في ١٩٥٣ اختير رئيس لدائرة الطب النفسي في مستشفى بليدا بالجزائر،، اختير سنة ١٩٦٠ سفيرا للحكومة الجزائرية المؤقتة في غانا،، نجا من محاولة. فرنسية لاختطافه، اصيب بالوكيميا وفي ١٩٦١ توفي بالمستشفى في واشنطن ودفن في الجزائر ... يتحدث الكتاب عن مسيرة فرانز فانون في الدفاع عن اصحاب البشرة السوداء ''الزنوج'' وكل ما جاء به من افكار واهداف من اجل النهضة بالتحرر من عبودية التي كانت تختص بالاجمال بهم، وحالات الاضطهاد وما عاناه الشعب والفلاحين من قسوة وظلم من قبل الحكومات او الطبقات البرجوازية.. كان يحلم بعصر يتساوى فيه اصحاب البشرة السوداء مع البيضاء بالتمتع بالحقوق و المكانة في المجتمع الواحد كانت اهداف رسالة التحرر والاستقلال التي نطبق بها. مصاحبة للعنف، كان فانون معارض لسياسة غاندي، وكان يعتبر الصراع الذي قاده غاندي مع الشعب الهندي ضد الاستعمار البريطاني صراع غير اصيل لانه غير مصحوب بالعنف، وان رسالات غاندي جميعا تدعوا للسلام، . في الجزء الاخير يوضح بصورة مختصرة. مسيرة السيد مالكوم اكس الرجل سياسي سلك نفس المسيرة التي سلكها فانون ولكن دون عنف وذكر عن رحلات السيد اكس لمكة و الشرق الاوسط واوروبا وكل ما لاحظه من تساوي في الحقوق بين اصحاب البشرة المختلفة عامة هناك و ما ناله من احترام من قبل الحكومات المالكة وغير من الطبقات الحاكمة التي كان يكن انها فانون الكراهية.. عموما كان كتاب يكشف عن شخصية جديدة بالنسبة لي اضاف الكثير من المعلومات تستحق الذكر لشخصية ساهمة في الدفاع عن حقوق طبقة اظطهدت وعانت كثيرا قبل ان تتمتع اليوم برأسة ابرز واحد اقوى دول العالم. المتمثلة برأسه باراك اوباما.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bahman Bahman

    برای داشتن درک درستی از موضوع و قضاوت در باره ی فانون و انقلاب الجزایر کافیست نگاهی به حال و روز امروز الجزایر بیاندازید و خودتان داوری کنید آیا بهتر بود بخشی از کشور فرانسه باشد یا نه

  10. 5 out of 5

    Remy

    A thorough, nuanced biography of Frantz Fanon that also delves deep into the Algerian struggle for freedom. I do wish however more time was spent on Josie Fanon and their children. I also can't help but feel that despite fair critiques of The Wretched of the Earth, many (European) people, including David Macey himself, dont entirely seem to "get it," unable to look past their own discomfort over the text. When I first read The Wretches of the Earth, I packed the contextual knowledge of the Alger A thorough, nuanced biography of Frantz Fanon that also delves deep into the Algerian struggle for freedom. I do wish however more time was spent on Josie Fanon and their children. I also can't help but feel that despite fair critiques of The Wretched of the Earth, many (European) people, including David Macey himself, dont entirely seem to "get it," unable to look past their own discomfort over the text. When I first read The Wretches of the Earth, I packed the contextual knowledge of the Algerian revolution but had the fortune to read it immediately after reading Paulo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and shortly after, J Sakai's settlers. These three together will hammer it home in your head. I find the critiques of Fanon from the points of view of other black (particularly African) Marxists most interesting. Fanon was a fascinating, intelligent, and deeply genuine man but also flawed (as all people are). I will have to reread his books and essays again.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pris

    It took me a while to finish this! I started reading this after I read Black Skin, White Masks. This biography was helpful in providing context for Fanon's two celebrated texts: Black Skin and The Wretched of the Earth. It goes into some aspects that are missed in translation. The text also goes in considerable detail about Fanon's psychiatric practices. Once the text gets into the French-Algerian war, the subject takes over and occupies a large portion of the book. It took me a while to finish this! I started reading this after I read Black Skin, White Masks. This biography was helpful in providing context for Fanon's two celebrated texts: Black Skin and The Wretched of the Earth. It goes into some aspects that are missed in translation. The text also goes in considerable detail about Fanon's psychiatric practices. Once the text gets into the French-Algerian war, the subject takes over and occupies a large portion of the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amber Sparks

    Lengthy, more of a biography of the French Algerian colony and the events leading up to, during, and post the Algerian War of independence with France; also mainly on Fanon as being a symbolic icon in Algeria and analysis of his written work...no new major details of Fanon's life outside of his written works. Lengthy, more of a biography of the French Algerian colony and the events leading up to, during, and post the Algerian War of independence with France; also mainly on Fanon as being a symbolic icon in Algeria and analysis of his written work...no new major details of Fanon's life outside of his written works.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Brennan

    Details everything you would need to know to start engaging with Fanon.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Absolutely stunning

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abo-ismail

    كتاب قيّم يعرض أفكار فرانز فانون ، مع نقد لها ، المدهش أنّ فانون توفي عن عمر ٣٦ عام فقط ..

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

    Awesome biography about one of the most revolutionary thinkers on anti-colonialist theory.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Burton-Rose

    I'm amazed a mainstream publisher funded such a thorough study of a radical thinker. I'm amazed a mainstream publisher funded such a thorough study of a radical thinker.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

  19. 4 out of 5

    Samori Augusto

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bob Reutenauer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mohamed Farah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tom Blackburn

  23. 4 out of 5

    Don Barbera

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hadia Nedjme

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ria

  26. 5 out of 5

    tong huang

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gina

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

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