This controversial, impassioned call-to-arms for a return to the ideals that fueled the French Resistance has sold millions of copies worldwide since its publication in France in October 2010. Rejecting the dictatorship of world financial markets and defending the social values of modern democracy, 93-old Stéphane Hessel - Resistance leader, concentration camp survivor, and former UN speechwriter - reminds us that life and liberty must still be fought for and urges us to reclaim those essential rights we have permitted our governments to erode since the end of World War II.
©2011 Stephane Hessel (P)2011 Hachette
I am going to place this book on the syllabus of my university courses. I fundamentally believe that the author is correct, we should be outraged about the levels of violence that are perpetrated in the names of sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the ownership of the fruits of our common labour by a few and by the reasoning that promotes all of this. We have come so far from the ideals of the universality of human rights and on that journey, we have built a myriad arguments justifying ourdestructive behaviour. It's a time to return to fundamentals. Writing such as this is part of the catalytic action needed to resist historical amnesia and to break with patterns of destruction and oppression.
I had two options: to buy the book and sit down to read it or to hear it as I walked. The latter proved better with the contents, since the ideas inside make you want to move and do something to start changing this reality we live in.
The bio at the end is an amazing addition to understand who the author is.
No need for a second pass, clear & precise enough
Could not tell
Personal life aspects of Stéphane Hessel
This was incredible! I had heard an interview with him on either NPR or the BBC, but it far exceeded my expectations.
Everyone should read this - both right and left wing politics. It teaches us that the biggest threat to our political system is not the right or the left, not Christian or Muslim, not the capitalist or the socialist. No, the biggest threat is when the people (or electorate) become indifferent.
Hessel sensibly enough starts with Isaiah Berlin's notion of Negative Rights; that all humans have the basic rights to be free of want and fear. But he then seems to extend this idea to oppose any curtailment of the generous French social security system, energy subsidies, and the eviction of Roma squatters. These measures are of course "crimes against humanity" and facism, and totalitarianism, blah blah blah...
It's all kept vague enough to inspire with grand concepts and not alienate listeners with partisan specifics. But if there's any substance to this essay it's a veiled criticism of Nicolas Sarkozy's modest raising of the pension age from 60 to 62, attempts at energy privitization, reforms of free university education (which is now swammed by applicants and so the paid Grandes Ecoles are thriving), refusing to submit to mollycoddled strikers' demands, etc. If you doubt this listen again to the beginning of the essay. There is also an opposition to expansionist Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank and didn't find much to object to there.
France enjoys a 35 hour work-week and about a month/year hollidays. Public spending is nearly half of GDP (compared to about a quarter in the US). The bloated French state still awaits its Thatcher! Such crazy notions as Hessel's must be resisted! For to resist is to create!
Just ignore the Performance and Story ratings as I don't believe we should be required to fill those in.
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