Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Camp Concentration: A Novel Paperback – April 27, 1999
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Sacchetti's job is to chronicle the goings-on at Archimedes in a daily journal that is sent to Haast and other select members of the project. Through his writings, readers get to know the various characters that inhabit the camp, geniuses whose intellectual fires burn brightly even while their bodies slowly go cold. Although these latter-day Einsteins are supposed to be thinking up new ways of killing the enemy, most of the inmates are instead focusing their studies on alchemy, which Haast hopes will allow them to discover the secret of immortality.
Camp Concentration is one of those SF books that falls squarely into the "literature" category both for the eloquence of Disch's writing and the timelessness of his ruminations on life and war. This is a thoughtful novel that offers insights into human existence, and it will likely stay with readers long after they have turned the last page. Ursula K. Le Guin summed up the book best in her cover blurb, which says simply: "It is a work of art, and if you read it, you will be changed." --Craig E. Engler
About the Author
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Set in a secret government installation, "Camp Concentration" consists of the journal of Louis Sacchetti, a conscientious objector and prisoner, not to mention poet, who has been brought in to document the installation with a critical, but unscientific eye. The reason for this is that the population of this installation (except for administrators and staff) have been injected with Pallidine, a substance derived from syphilis that grants vastly expanded mental capabilities even as it ultimately kills the recipient.. Needless to say, those who receive it are being used to develop super-weapons, although they have other ideas.
To offer any more than this brief sketch would surely spoil the plot, but it is the subtext that makes this a superb novel. First is the fascinating, and entirely unexpected, consideration of religion. Sacchetti, who is something of a born again Catholic, suffuses his journal with religious references. Moreover, the Pallidine is clearly and allegory for the Forbidden Fruit, the source of both enlightenment and death.Read more ›
The idea is simple enough. A new drug, developed from the bacteria that causes syphilis, is found to have the property of greatly increasing a person's intelligence, but with major side effect - it kills the user in about nine months. The story follows one Louis Sacchetti, a conscientious objector to a seemingly interminable war, and who would already be considered to be a genius by most standards, as he is transferred from a standard prison to a facility specially constructed to see what will happen to its inmates when given this drug. The story is told through the means of a journal that Louis is encouraged, almost forced, to keep.
As this idea is extremely similar to that of Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon (which was later made into the movie Charly), comparison is invited. Flowers emphasizes the tragedy of the hero, a man who struggles to find those bits of knowledge that will help not just himself but all mankind, up against an unbeatable problem, that of his own retreat to sub-normal intelligence again. Camp Concentration follows a completely different path, that of the essential selfishness of the individual, of nihilism, of the despair of ever being able to change humanity in any meaningful way.Read more ›
for a quick fix of science fiction. This was Disch's 1st significant novel, and it appeared in 1969. The "endless" Vietnam War and a certain cynicism about government animates the book, but
it is essentially a story of a man who triumphs
in the face of disease, degradation, and official brutality.
The book is a tour de force of style. By turns acerbic, aphoristic, funny, and offbeat, the prose is packed with literary allusions to writers as diverse as Paul Valery, W. H. Auden, Christopher Marlowe, Arthur Rimbaud, and Rainer Marie Rilke. It's not devoid of a certain amount of excessive literary virtuosity, but all and all, Disch manages to carry it off well.
This isn't Disch's best novel. _On Wings of Song_ and _334_, to name two, are better. But this was a remarkable book for a young writer to have written. I'm still very fond of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an important novel for me when I first read it around 1969. Bought for nostalgia reasons and I enjoyed the experience, probably more than the novel.Published 15 months ago by J P RENOUF
Best science fiction book I ever read.Subtle/brilliant/insightfull intelligence(rip,btw.sad loss/suicide)
Very unusual concept/original,too.on par W/PHILIP K. Read more
A good read, but not original enough, as Flowers for Algernon (Flowers for Algernon) and Dürrenmatt's Physiker (The Physicists) had already been written. Read morePublished on August 16, 2013 by Rick Woodward
this is the best apocalyptic sci-fi I've found in years, really messed up. If you like the doom and destruction, black humor, and paranoia of The Wanting Seed or PKD, then look at... Read morePublished on April 24, 2013 by mighty book hunter
This Faustian work, written in the form of Sacchetti's diary, plumbs the depths of the darkest side of human capability. Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by nematode
Just thoroughly enjoyed it, it's the perfect genre and a well-told story. The book was as promised. My only complaint is that it was too short!Published on November 22, 2012 by Mspaula48
I bought this book without any expectations, I just liked the cover, but it turned out to be a nicely barbed little American dystopia yarn. Read morePublished on December 9, 2010 by Scott Rawlings
It's almost impossible to understand this book (and I mean that in a myriad of ways) if you don't understand the sixties. Read morePublished on December 2, 2010 by Grey Wolffe
I read this book in 1982. I only remember it because it was hard to get through and disapointing. Maybe I need to get syphilis to understand it ...Published on November 14, 2010 by Manufacturing Whiz