Customer Reviews


72 Reviews
5 star:
 (42)
4 star:
 (14)
3 star:
 (6)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanon, champion of the Third World
Almost all prominent black revolutionaries of the 1960s, from Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Nelson Mandela carried heavy influences from Fanon's writings in their struggles from social change and racial equality. However, Fanon's "wretched of the Earth" could arguably be the ultimate manifesto, or bible of Third World liberation. Fanon was no Gandhi, though. ; he makes his...
Published on November 5, 2004 by Rachel L. Steen

versus
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible translation
Frantz Fanon was a lucid writer with a knack for turning a phrase. Philcox butchers Fanon and strips his words of their power. Do yourself a favor and buy the earlier translation by Constance Farrington. It is the next best thing to learning french and reading Fanon's words in the language in which they were written.
Published on April 30, 2009 by Paul J.


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanon, champion of the Third World, November 5, 2004
By 
Rachel L. Steen "Raquelita" (Lafayette, Louisiana United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Almost all prominent black revolutionaries of the 1960s, from Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Nelson Mandela carried heavy influences from Fanon's writings in their struggles from social change and racial equality. However, Fanon's "wretched of the Earth" could arguably be the ultimate manifesto, or bible of Third World liberation. Fanon was no Gandhi, though. ; he makes his strongest point to suggest that all solutions to decolonization lay on violent revolution by using the Frech-colonized Algeria as a model and his Manichean (Good Vs. Evil), or bipolar portrayal of the endless antagonism that naturally arises between the colonized and the settler.

Fanon describes the conditions that emerge to allow for a war of liberation to take a foothold, the wave of repression unleashed

by the occupying army to put down the rebellions, and most interestingly - because it is what has taken place ever since - the prospects of continued exploitation by the established relationship between the new "revolutionary" bourgeoisie and the former colonizer country after the nationalist struggle and pressure at home had forced its withdrawal.

Fanon gives psychologycal analyses to testimonies given by his Algerians and French patients during the war period, and who had been affected directly or otherwise by the war. Cases involving French soldiers and police's torture, selective asassinations, surviving a mass killing, and gang rapes of rebels' wives by the French are some of which Fanon describes with chilling detail in the appendix.

"The Wretched of the Earth" remains an invaluable document that testify to the often overlooked argument made by numerous armed movements of the 1960s as revolutions broke out throughout the ex-colonized World.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read, March 5, 2004
By 
LS (Gambia, West Africa) - See all my reviews
This is a very useful book to anybody interested in understanding colonialism and its effects in Africa. Colonialism was a military project, and Fanon explained that clearly. Fanon does not shy away from suggesting the use of force, if necessary, to achieved freedom. But this book is not about the use of force/violence to achieve freedom, and should not be regarded as such. It is a book that explains western attitudes towards the colonized world, their willingness to use violence, their assault on African culture, and the curruption of African leaders after independence. Do not forget that independence came to Africa, after the French, the British and Belgians were given a clear warning about the fate that was awaiting them in other parts of Africa by the FLN (in Algeria), the MAU MAU movement (in Kenya), and the very aggressive movement for indepence in the Congo and Ghana. Europe was distoryed after World War II, and their armies could no longer sustain their military projects in Africa. This vulnerability was exploited by African leaders. That is why they failed in maintaining direct colonial control of their former colonies. When you ready this excellent material, you will appreciate Fanon's foresight:-his warning to Africans(and every colonized country)to take their destiny into their own hands: saying that every generation must out of relative obscurity, find its mission, fulfill it or betray it. A warning that most Africans ignored after independence. To anybody interested in the works of people like Dr. Walter Rodney, Aime Cesaire, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and Basil Davidson, this book is a "Must Read". Please read other Fanon material: Toward African Revolution, Dying Colonism, Black Skin White Masks. Interesting reading! Every African must read Fanon's books!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


60 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanon Does Not Glorify Violence! (and Other Corrections), July 11, 2003
By A Customer
Those reviews that castigate Fanon for "glorifying violence" ought to be ignored. Fanon is writing, among other things, a phenomenology of anti-colonialism. It is meant neither as a recommendation nor a condemnation but as a description of the objective truth of a historical condition. That is, for Fanon reverse racist violent nationalism is a stage in the emergence of a political consiciousness that will eventually overcome and, indeed, renounce its own beginnings. What is remarkable is that people at present are so manifestly incapable of reading a dialctical unfolding such as this. The violence of the Algerian War had already largely taken place at the time of Fanon's writing and, let it be recalled, it was primarily the murder of Algerians by the French, for whom African imperialism is still a profitable if somewhat unsavory business.
While Fanon tracks the stages in the evolution of a radical anti-capitalist consciousness in the underdeveloped world, there is no question of his endorsing or advocating violence. One has only to read the final chapter on the psychological effects on both the colonizer and the colonized to see that Fanon is acutely aware of the brutality for all concerned of the Algerian War, even or, indeed, especially, for the oppressors themselves. There is certainly no question of his endorsing the indiscriminate horrors committed that were committed by the FLN against their oppressors.
The other thing, of course, that the petulant, anti-intellectual, ahistorical reactionaries who have shared their opinions here conveniently ignore is the violence inherent in the settler colonialism Fanon was addressing. As for the comparison with India, it is indeed illuminating, and one might profitably develop Fanon into a critique of the post-colonial India elite. After all, the real thrust of the book is its attempt to push anti-imperialism in a genuinely democratic direction, insofar as this was even possible for a largely peasant agricultural society caught within a much larger capitalist cosmos. At any rate, contra one reviewer, in the much-vaunted democracy of India, were peasants substantially liberated by the Indian National Congress from their indebtedness and from coercive labor practices? For his part, Fanon is not content with such liberal eye-wash as the talk of "Indian democracy" achieved through non-violence. In stark contrast to many other romantic commentators, he is keenly aware that there is nothing save radical democratic organized politics that can prevent post-colonial societies from a descent into poverty, despair, and the reactionary resurgence of "leadership" and virulently post-traditional "ethnicities" and "religiosities" though, in the face of the further defeat of the radical left in the West, most likely there is nothing to prevent the implosion of the Third World and the exhaustion (and extermination) of progressive energies there. Pages 95ff. in which Fanon discusses the terrible brutality of the very attempt to create industrialism in a country such as Algeria, and the awful irony of "independence" from the wealth of the colonizer are powerful and utterly ignored by most "radicals" who refuse to see that the resources already exist for the world to enjoy both opulence and sustainability.
Another thing - Fanon is inconceivable without Marxism. It informs his every argument, even if his point is only to criticize actually existing Marxisms. Therefore, the claim that "Fanon is great, except for the Marxist bit" is absurd and puerile. The real problem is that that entire intellectual language and with it the vast majority of the history of 20th century social hope is being actively forgotten. The nuances of so much of Fanon lies in the way he handles, refashions, and pushes up against the limits of the Marxian legacy as it came to him. (The idea that Fanon is a "genius" and that there are none else like him is similarly an indication of a tragic social and political amnesia, and this is not meant to detract in the slightest from the incredible achievement that is both this work and youthful masterwork "Black Skins, White Masks").
Finally, to uncritically drag Fanon into the American context, as some other reviewers want to do, is, it seems to me, potentially extremely misleading. Far more so than "Black Skins," "Wretched" is a book of its time and place. Certainly, any comparison with Malcolm X, who was no leftist and certainly no Marxist, is hopelessly misguided. Never mind the fact that Fanon's project of a liberated Algeria can scarcely be compared with the project of black American radical activists. American blacks were not colonized but forcibly transported and enslaved. More importantly, American blacks live within the heart of capitalism and Fanon's recommendation to the New World descendents of slaves would never be so crackpot as a separatist black nationalism.
There are many good grounds for criticizing Fanon, but since few reviewers seem capable of even approaching those matters, a more basic commentary seemed necessary.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The authority on Colonialism, May 25, 2000
Fanon is among the few thinkers who successfully wrote about emerging post-colonial nation-states. Many prefer to delve into the psychological implications of his work but I would rather view it as a warning againt the new tyranny that has its roots in the national struggle. Indeed, many nationalist movements became the new proxy for the departing colonial power thus ignoring the fact that fighters do not by default make good politicans. The dicourse of national struggle became the harbinger of the national dictatorship despite the evidence pointing to the outskirts and villages as being the impetus behind the drive for independence and not the educated classes as many claimed. I am not claiming that national struggle is bad but it has to be viewd objectively and its role must therefore end with independence to allow for genuine restructuring or else a political neo-imperialism emerges to replace direct military colonization. In both cases the winner is the colonizer who has returned in the form of the new nationl government mainly those who were educated in the West during colonization.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Che Guevara, January 30, 2006
Frantz Fanon is a great Pan-African writer and theorist. He was a psychiatrist who was born in Martinique in the West Indies in 1925. He is one of the foremost writers and intellectuals on black liberation from racial oppression and revolutionary armed struggle. Fanon was not just an armchair theorist with an incisive mind but a practical man who elected to get involved in the fight for freedom in the Algerian war of independence. He participated in the Algerian Liberation movement, the FLN, in the Algerian war of independence against the French in the 1950s.

Fanon's thinking was influenced by his analysis of testimonies that he got from Algerian and French patients that he treated during the Algerian war that had been traumatized by the war. The testimonies included the French troops and police torturing innocent civilians, mass killings and assassinations and rapes of defenseless men, women and children.

The Wretched of the Earth is a classic book written in the Communist framework that analyses the psychology of colonized people and eloquently explains their anger and frustration. He explains the techniques that imperialists use to subjugate the colonized peoples. Fanon discusses the social and economic basis of colonialism. He highlights the willingness of colonial powers to use violence, their attack on African culture and way of life, among other things. He concluded that violence was the only way to free the oppressed people. His views are in direct contrast to those of another great historical icon, Gandhi, who preached non-violent means to end oppression. The "Wretched of the Earth" has been very influential to all the subsequent liberation wars on the African continent, the civil rights movement and black consciousness movements worldwide.

Fanon was very prophetic as he attached post independence disenfranchisement of the masses by the ruling elites as well as tribal or religious clashes. Leaders of the newly liberated nations would have done well to heed in advice and avoid corruption and violence against their own peoples. He saw the need for a liberated country to have a national culture and national identity to ensure that there is unity that welds the nation together against various forces bend on its destruction.

Although Marxism has largely collapsed worldwide, this book is recommended reading for anyone wishing to learn about colonialism and its impact in Africa. The book now has an important historical value in the current largely decolonized world. The book will help the reader understand how revolutionary movements worldwide have justified the use of violence to achieve their ends. Readers from countries where the people are oppressed and wish to put an end to their plight may find this book to be still very relevant and enlightening.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 35,000,000 Readers in Dozens of Languages, November 10, 2010
By 
Giordano Bruno (Here, There, and Everywhere) - See all my reviews
I read Frantz Fanon's "The Wretched of the Earth" in college in the early 1960s. It was an assigned reading in my only sociology class so I can't claim any credit for discovering the book on my own. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and into more recent times, "The Wretched of the Earth" has been high on the reading lists of every Social Science and History department of every significant university in the USA, in the rest of the Western Hemisphere nations except when the universities have been closed by military dictatorships, in Europe, and of course in the post-colonial nations of Africa and Asia. Che Guevara read Fanon. Ali Shariati read Fanon. Malcolm X read Fanon. But so did Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Barry Goldwater read Fanon. So did Bill Clinton and George Herbert Bush, I suspect that George W Bush was assigned to read Fanon but chose the 'classic comic' version instead. In short, "everybody" read Fanon, usually "The Wretched of the Earth", and the mere reading of Fanon has never been sufficient to justify labeling the reader as an advocate of violent revolution. If you've never read Fanon, by the way, it's not too late; his writings have never gone out of print, however much they may seem 'dated' in content.

Fanon was born in Martinique in 1925, of a middle-class 'mixed race' family prosperous enough to send him to the most prestigious high school in the former slave-owning colony. When the pro-Nazi Vichy French government began its campaign of racial abuse in Martinique, Fanon escaped and joined the Free French Forces. Later he enlisted in the Gaullist French army, joining Allied forces in Casablanca, and eventually seeing combat in in Alsace. After the War, Fanon studied medicine and psychiatry in Lyons and Saint-Alban. In 1953, Fanon was appointed 'chef de service' at a psychiatric hospital in Algeria, where he practiced until the French colonial authorities ordered his deportation back to France in 1957. During his years as a psychiatrist in Algeria, Fanon focused his practice and research on socio-therapies which too account of his patients' cultural backgrounds, a radical concept then but standard among psychotherapists in hospitals and clinics of the USA today. In 1954, Fanon also aligned himself with the FLN, the anti-colonial liberation front. The vast majority of Fanon's writings deal with Algeria's struggle for independence, but the common impression that they are all manifestos of violent revolution is false. Chiefly they are sociological analyses of the mentality of people, specifically the Algerians, after decades of colonial oppression. Fanon was not a methodological academic sociologist or anthropologist. His writings are intuitive, founded principally on his own experiences as a person of color and a scion of colonialism.

The Wretched of the Earth has always been Frantz Fanon's most famous work. It was written during and regarding the Algerian struggle for independence from colonial rule. Fanon explored the psychological effect of colonization on the culture of a 'subject' people, and the implications of that mindset both for building a movement for independence and for establishing a polity after independence. A controversial introduction to the text by Jean-Paul Sartre presented Fanon's work as an advocacy of violence. This focus derived from the book's opening chapter `Concerning Violence' which is a caustic indictment of colonialism and its legacy. Defenders of Fanon's legacy argue that Sartre's comments have led to a limited approach to the text that focuses on the promotion of violence. Further reading reveals a thorough critique of nationalism and imperialism which also covers areas such as mental health and the role of intellectuals in revolutionary situations. Also important is Fanon's view of the role of language and how it molds the position of "natives", or those victimized by colonization. Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth has become a handbook for political leaders faced with decolonization. It is still read in the Pentagon today as advice on dealing with the conflict in Iraq.

I'm reviewing this book, which I read so many years ago, as a small response to the current book by Dinesh D'Souza -- The Roots of Obama's Rage -- which attempts to "tar" Obama as a disciple of Fanon and thus filled with obdurate hatred for the colonial powers, including the USA. Obama certainly has read Fanon, and refers to him once in his book "Dreams from My Father." But, as I said before, "everybody" has read Fanon. I would hope that a substantial number of Republican Senators and Representatives have read Fanon; if not, our Congress is more woefully undereducated than I assumed. Even Philip Roth has read Fanon, and refers to him in his novel "American Pastoral".

Dinesh D'Souza offers an intriguing example, in himself, of post-colonial mentality. He was born in Mumbai in 1961 -- the very year that Fanon died of leukemia -- but his parents were from Goa, the ancient Portuguese colony on the west of India. D'Souza was raised as a Roman Catholic but came to Dartmouth, where he was prominent in ultra-conservative activities. He began his career as a writer, so to speak, by publishing the names of "gay' Dartmouth students, without their consent, in the "Dartmouth Review", a publication subsidized by rightwing organizations not affiliated with Dartmouth. He was also a vociferous critic at Dartmouth of affirmative action. He has gone on to be closely associated with the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institute, prominent reactionary think-tanks funded by ultra-conservative business tycoons. He now professes to be an "evangelical Christian" after having denounced th American catholic Church for 'pacifist' stances. His vociferously expressed opinions include anti-feminist diatribes, rejection of Darwinism, the assertion that 'some cultures/races are innately superior to others as demonstrated by their historical accomplishments, and the notion that secularism and secular morality have led to the unfair suppression of "conservative" thought at American universities. Considering that D'Souza is patently a 'product' of colonialism and post-colonial reaction, one might suspect that his vehemence is partly fueled by defensiveness, and his ideological rigidity by over-compensation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK CHANGES LIVES, February 16, 2001
By 
Rm Pithouse "Richard Pithouse" (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Frantz Fanon was an extraordinary man. Passionate, charismatic, brave, deeply moral, profoundly intelligent and exceptionally perceptive and sensative. Those qualities infuse all of his books and its no surprise that all over the world so many good people refer to Fanon's work as "my bible" or "our bible." Everybody should read The Wretched of the Earth. The world has changed since the book was written. The wretched have far less hope now. But Fanon's insights into the nature of oppression and resistance and especially the promises and dangers of nationalism are as fresh and enlightening as they have always been, Most of the 'great' European philosophers thought that it was appropriate to use violence to resist certain types of oppression. Yet John Locke or Karl Marx are not routinely referred to 'apostles of violence' and their work is never reduced to their support for armed resistance to certain types of oppression. It's clear that a lot of people are still horrified at the idea of a black man with a gun - even if he's resisting oppression. Fanon's reception in the West tells us a lot about his continued relevance. This is one of the most important books of the last century. Everybody should read it. Everybody should learn from it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great book, terrible translation, April 30, 2009
This review is from: The Wretched of the Earth (Paperback)
Frantz Fanon was a lucid writer with a knack for turning a phrase. Philcox butchers Fanon and strips his words of their power. Do yourself a favor and buy the earlier translation by Constance Farrington. It is the next best thing to learning french and reading Fanon's words in the language in which they were written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perspective of the oppressed, September 9, 2000
By A Customer
Fanon describes the situation of those livng all down under of humanity who have nothing to lose but their chains and they can get rid of their chains. What I found extraordinary interesting was to compare Frantz Fanon to Ayn Rand: Those whom Ayn Rand regards as "social parasites" are e x a c t l y the same that Frantz Fanon describes as "The wretched of the earth" . So if you read "Atlas shrugged" and "The wretched of the earth" in a row, you'll get two opponent perspectives of the same world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Horde of Rats, May 2, 2002
By 
JB (Sandy, UT USA) - See all my reviews
I pulled the title of my review from page 130, which states, "This lumpenproletariat is like a horde of rats; you may kick them and throw stones at them, but despite your best efforts they'll go on gnawing at the roots of the tree." One of my favorite lines of many from Fanon that still, and perhaps now more than ever, resonate in the magazines, newspapers and op-ed pages of the West today.
"The Wretched of the Earth," along with Dubois' "The Souls of Black Folk," was a book I found repeatedly mentioned both in the "Autobiography of Malcolm X" as well as the writings of Black Panther leaders Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver. I couldn't quite understand some of the ideas of these great black activists until I read Fanon's "Wretched." Now I see that they took many of Fanon's observations and revolutionary theories and applied them to the plight of the African-American of the 1960s. For example, when the Panthers would decry the police as "fascist, gestapo pigs," and demand their withdrawal, they sounded much like Fanon, who writes,"In these poor undeveloped countries (or the slums of Oakland, Chicago, New York), where the rule is the greatest wealth is surrounded by the greatest poverty (the horde of rats), the army and the police constitute the pillars of the regime; an army and a police force(another rule which must not be forgotten) which are advised by foreign experts." This is one example of many of Fanon influence of these men. In the Congo dissidents or opponents had their hands cut off. In Guinea they had their lips pierced and padlocked shut. In Oakland the Panthers were confronted with billyclubs, bullets or bars, and again, they drew the analogy. "Colonialism only loosens its hold when the knife is at its throat...it is violence in its natural state, and it will only yield when confronted with greater violence." The Panthers, who viewed themselves enduring 500 years of colonization, took up arms.
"Individualism is the first to disappear," a line seen early on in the work that was echoed by Che Guevara in his heyday, key to coming together collectively, the only means of having a chance at throwing out the imperialists. I don't know which is more beneficial, to read works like the biography of Che, some of the Panthers' biographies, and then Fanon's "Wretched of the Earth," or vice-versa. Regardless, "The Wretched of the Earth" is the Machiavelli of revolutionary theory. I am still, unfortunately, not very versed in African politics and revolutionary movements. However, switching to Latin America, reading the "Wretched of the Earth" feels like being in the hills of Cuba with Fidel. It's practically a play-by-play, giving one greater appreciation for the struggle and the sacrifice.
Particularly impressive if Fanon's analysis of the developed versus the underdeveloped world, and the former's contempt for and repression of the latter as the underdeveloped world tries to climb out of their hole, moreso he himself being not a native African, but a Frenchman, knowing both sides equally well. It seems as though there is never any alternative, on the subject of revolutions, to colonialism or communism. Either business continues as usual (colonialism), or nationalist governments are hit with labels such as "upstart," in that time becoming part of the great international conspiracy, in our time anti-capitalist. Fanon is right on when he cites the colonialists as saying,"If you wish for independence, take it and go back to the Middle Ages...since you want independence, take it and starve." The application doesn't end with the '60s but continues on in our day, when the world's major financial players are offering assistance only in exhange for the right to "exploit."
There is so much more to be said for this book. Admittedly this is a poor review, unworthy of Fanon's brilliant presentation of how to revolt and succeed doing so. Just read the book, read some of the others on who Fanon had such an impact, and make your own application.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Wretched of the Earth
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon (Paperback - March 12, 2005)
$14.00 $9.23
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.