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Iron in the Soul (Les Chemins de la Liberté #3)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  620 ratings  ·  28 reviews
June 1940 was the summer of defeat for the French soldiers, deserted by their officers, utterly demoralized, awaiting the Armistice. This book tells what men thought and felt and did as France fell."
Paperback, 348 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Penguin Books in Association with Hamish Hamilton, (first published 1949)
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One of the core messages of Les Chemins de la Liberté is that you are, more than anything, defined by your actions. Often you do things you didn't expect you'd do, and this can force you to reevaluate your self-image.

In the first volume, Mathieu ends up doing something quite extraordinarily despicable. He doesn't have a high opinion of himself (when we get to listen in on his mental sound-track, he's often thinking je suis un salaud), but he'd never expected that he'd steal a large amount of mon
Javier Jiménez
Creí que este libro no era de ficción, pensé que era un ensayo o algo por el estilo. Pero es una novela. Una novela acerca de los franceses en la segunda guerra mundial. En realidad no me gustó mucho, tal vez lo más rescatable es el análisis que realiza Sartre del sentimiento de derrota de los franceses, de su desesperación y a la vez respeto hacia los alemanes.

Hay una parte en la que algunos soldados franceses prisioneros ven a los alemanes como seres realmente superiores porque eso los hace s
Abhishek Ganguly
The only thing more horrifying than defeat is its aftermath.

That is the tale that Jean Paul Sartre has woven in 'Iron In The Soul'. Heart wrenching stories of the men who had lost the War for France; a war that they did not choose to fight, did not even know much about.

'Iron In The Soul' is a tale of the fall of heroes and humans. People portray themselves as worms and corpses; sometimes out of shame, sometimes out of necessity. Here and there, flashes of human dignity sting the reader (and the
Komal Raja
'Iron in the Soul' is third part of Jean-Paul Sartre's trilogy. The narration starts when the war broke between Germany and France in 1939-40. Sartre threw light on what happens after defeat in a war. How people face it? How they live defeat hour after hour and day after day. what it means to loose in a war for soldiers, government workers, intellectuals and civilians. Sartre portrait a tragicomedy picture of aftermath as France fell . With a blend of poetic wit and artistic sarcasm he describes ...more
Rachel Stevenson
This third part of the Roads to Freedom trilogy follows the stories of the characters from the first two novels, The Age Of Reason and The Reprieve: Matheiu, the Sartre stand-in, trying to be free, trying to act deliberately, hooking up with the last squadron resisting the Nazi invasion, which leads to his presumed death; Odette, in love with Mathieu but married to his bullying brother, who demands that she be the perfect little wife in order for him to feel like a man, fleeing Paris as the Germ ...more
Gurpreet Pannu
This the final part of the trilogy and since i hadnt read the earlier two so found myself a little lost initially but after some googling I was fine. The book is set in France and shows the tumultuous in the lives of its citizens, soldiers, the vanquished, the transformed German supporters and the banned communist leaders. Sartre has a narrative which changes setting with lightning speed sometimes even in the middle of a sentence too, despite this there is a continuity in the thoughts and action ...more
The third volume of the Roads trilogy and Sartre changes tone once again. Age of Reason was about the ways in which its key characters interacted with one another, to create an effect like a group of mixed, random group of people lost in an elegant maze on a hot summer’s day. Looking for the right direction they shoot off in many, only to find themselves back with the clusters of similarly lost souls, with only the fact there are a few new faces and few less of the old, to mark the difference. B ...more
It is hard to write about Sartre, I think, lacking his scope of ideas as I do. My philosophical knowledge is not as great as I would like. Thus, I am responding to this as a work of fiction rather than engaging more with its ideas.

This, the third book of the trilogy, returns us to several characters from the previous two novels, each struggling to come to terms with the meaning of defeat. Most of Part One is spent with Mathieu, and in these sections there is perhaps an overload of characters, ne
Holly Ennis
I haven't reviewed a book since secondary school and this is probably the worst one to start with, especially because I haven't read the other 'roads to freedom' books. Overall, I wasn't sure what to make of this; some sections felt a bit awkward but perhaps this was down to the translation and I wasn't always sure how well it all sat together. I liked the way characters didn't know how to make sense of stuff, changed their minds, overall grubbiness of how they felt - but other ones seemed a bit ...more
Last stop Bouville. The weather is probably withering rain. Time to get out, wake up. But wait, this isn't the last of it, there's another unfinished one. The roads have not ended at nowhere. The crisis continues. The road narrows.

Do you have the feeling that life is nothing but an arcane vacuity in the occasions for your big decisions, a deceptive process, insupportable for the arrangement of a plan. Will you admit that you are on the road to liberty? or will you be remain in bad faith rather
So that's me finished Sartre's "Ways To Freedom" trilogy covering the period from the build up to WW2 to France's surrender to Germany. What I thought would be an endurance test turned out to be a great adventure. These novels never feel like a promo for his philosophy, and the main word that comes to mind is "humanist". He looks at the impact of war from the perspective of a huge number of people, from Daladier to conscripted teachers to communist newspaper editors to pacifists, and on and on a ...more
Had a burning urge to read this. Realised I didn't really like the translation. It felt like some posh bloke translating and trying to write at times in the vernacular of West Country peasants half a century ago. So the language got in the way for me a bit. It's also, I gather, the second installment of a trilogy that was never completed, so for simple me, it was a little difficult to figure out who everyone was and what in hell they were doing. Which is fine. So will mull it over, find part one ...more
Final installment in the "Roads to Freedom" trilogy.
Darran Mclaughlin
Just finished the Road to Freedom trilogy. I thought it was excellent. I don't think a British writer has accomplished anything of this scale and ambition ini the post WW2 era. I thought The Reprieve was the best of the three. It had the grandest social and historical perspective and the most impressive structure. It reminded me of Woolf, Faulkner and especially John Dos Passos in Manhattan Transfer.
This last installment of 'Les chemins de la liberté' describes the aftermath of the defeat of France in WW II.
The most readable of the three, I liked it so-so. I like how Sartre mixes form with content, although it often doesn't make for easy reading. Might be the point though. The personal quandaries of the characters and their development are interesting, what actually happens not so much.
One Flew
A good end to the trilogy. I didn't care for 'The Reprieve', which was too dis-jointed to get into. Iron in the Soul was a much smoother and interesting read. Particularly the scenes in the POW camp and Matheiu's transformation. Even then, I wonder about the necessity of certain characters minimal story lines, such as Daniel, who didn't need resolution. All in all, well worth the read.
Timothy Riley
just from the name of the author was a bit intimidated. however, this was a good book about some men in the french army during world war one. This is the second book of a trilogy.
A masterwork which, predestined to be the poor third of a trilogy, is a magnificent depiction of human fortitude and resilience.
Als ik Sartre lees denk ik altijd dat Sartre een groter filosoof dan auteur is ...
Kevin Farran
A stunning, lingering depiction of a soul as it suffers a slow painful travesty
Part of a Trilogy? Not bad if you like that post war Gallic angst.
Final installment in Roads to Freedom Trilogy and perhaps the best.
Maurice Halton
I suppose I have to say that I just don't get this book at all.
most serious & most well-written novel in the trilogy
Justin Shepherd
Final installment in Roads to Freedom.
Existential novel.
Luiz Felipe
Luiz Felipe is currently reading it
May 20, 2015
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Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre, normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre, was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. He was a leading figure in 20th century French philosophy.

He declined the award of the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has ex
More about Jean-Paul Sartre...

Other Books in the Series

Les Chemins de la Liberté (3 books)
  • The Age of Reason
  • The Reprieve
Nausea No Exit and Three Other Plays Being and Nothingness No Exit The Wall

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