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Frantz Fanon: A Biography

Comprehensive and eloquent account of Fanon’s personal, intellectual and political life.

Born in Martinique, Frantz Fanon (1925–61) trained as a psychiatrist in Lyon before taking up a post in colonial Algeria. He had already experienced racism as a volunteer in the Free French Army, in which he saw combat at the end of the Second World War. In Algeria, Fanon came into contact with the Front de Libération Nationale, whose ruthless struggle for independence was met with exceptional violence from the French forces. He identified closely with the liberation movement, and his political sympathies eventually forced him out the country, whereupon he became a propagandist and ambassador for the FLN, as well as a seminal anticolonial theorist.

David Macey’s eloquent life of Fanon provides a comprehensive account of a complex individual’s personal, intellectual and political development. It is also a richly detailed depiction of postwar French culture. Fanon is revealed as a flawed and passionate humanist deeply committed to eradicating colonialism.

Now updated with new historical material, Frantz Fanon remains the definitive biography of a truly revolutionary thinker.

Reviews

  • “This year’s biographical tour de force.”
  • “Macey’s richly informative and engaging biography provides the historical, social and cultural context that is essential for understanding this passionate and courageous intellectual.”
  • “A prodigiously researched, absorbing book about the mind and the passion of a twentieth-century revolutionary.”
  • “...stands in a class of its own. It is unmatched in its care and attention to detail, in its author's knowledge of the multiple intellectual, cultural and political contexts in which the man moved”
  • “Not just a lucid and well-researched account of the man and his works, it is one of the best books about contemporary history to have been published in recent years.”
  • “Invaluable to scholars … an excellent guide.”
  • “A valuable and comprehensive introduction to the man and his work. David Macey is certainly someone who knows Fanon and the context extremely well and he writes lucidly and informa- tively. For anyone interested in the Algerian war, colonialism or Fanon himself, this really is a must-read .”

Blog

  • Another University is Possible

    The SOAS students' struggle to decolonise their curriculum is a call to reshape and re-imagine what the university is for and whom the university should serve. 

    The School for Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) was founded by the British state in 1916 to strengthen imperial interests in Asia and Africa. It admitted its first students in 1917, among them colonial administrators, as well as military officers, doctors and missionaries, to instruct them in the languages and cultures of the regions to which they would be posted to govern and rule on behalf of the British Empire. It is in light of the institution’s centenary that SOAS students are seeking to decolonise it. This collective action undertaken by academic staff and students attempts to challenge the university’s “self-image as progressive and diverse” and build a more just and inclusive institution. Some of the aims of decolonisation are reparative: students are demanding the provision of more scholarships for refugees and displaced people, regardless of their immigration status, and more bursaries and grants for working-class students. Linked to the decolonising agenda is also the campaign to end the outsourcing of cleaning staff and for their secure work and pay.

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  • Perpetual War and Permanent Unrest: The Battle of Algiers After 9/11

    This essay is excerpted from Sohail Daulatzai's Fifty Years of The Battle of Algiers: Past as Prologue, published by the University of Minnesota Press. A new 4K restoration of The Battle of Algiers is currently touring theaters across the United States. 



    Though it is both troubling and telling, the screening of the film by the Pentagon in the aftermath of 9/11 and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is only the latest chapter in the afterlife of The Battle of Algiers. In many ways, the film is a battleground and a microcosm of the enduring struggles between the West and the Rest, whiteness and its others. But in a post- 9/11 moment, it’s hard to ignore the ways in which the centrality and omnipresence of the figure of the Muslim and the “War on Terror” have not only coded and shaped every aspect of social life but have also sought to undermine the power and politics of The Battle of Algiers.

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  • Acts of Dissent Through History

    The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City.

    To celebrate the release of the new edition - 50% off at the moment as part of our end-of-year sale
    we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.


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Other books by David Macey