Against His-Story, Against Leviathan! is a 1983 book by Fredy Perlman, for which he is best known. It is a personal critical perspective on contemporary civilization and society. The work defined anarcho-primitivism for the first time, and was a major source of inspiration for anti-civilization perspectives in contemporary anarchism, most notably on the thought of philosopher John Zerzan. In 2006 the book was translated into French under the title Contre le Léviathan, contre sa légende and into Turkish as Er-Tarih’e Karşı, Leviathan’a Karşı.
Fredy Perlman (August 20, 1934 – July 26, 1985) was an author and publisher. His most popular work, the book Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!, is a major source of inspiration for anti-civilisation perspectives in contemporary anarchism.
Perlman was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia. He emigrated with parents to Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1938 just ahead of the Nazi takeover. The Perlman family came to the United States in 1945 and finally settled in Lakeside Park, Kentucky.
In 1952 he attended Morehead State College in Kentucky and then UCLA from 1953-55. Perlman was on the staff of The Daily Bruin, the school newspaper, when the university administration changed the constitution of the newspaper to forbid it from nominating its own editors, as the custom had been. Perlman left the newspaper staff at that time and, with four others, proceeded to publish an independent paper, The Observer, which they handed out on a public sidewalk at the campus bus stop, since they were forbidden by the administration to distribute in on the campus.
In 1956-59 he attended Columbia University, where he met his life-long companion, Lorraine Nybakken. He enrolled as a student of English literature but soon concentrated his efforts in philosophy, political science and European literature. One particularly influential teacher for him at this time was C. Wright Mills.
In late 1959, Perlman and his wife took a cross-country motor scooter trip, mostly on two-lane highways traveling at 25 miles per hour. From 1959 to 1963, they lived on the lower east side of Manhattan while Perlman worked on a statistical analysis of the world's resources with John Ricklefs. They participated in anti-bomb and pacifist activities with the Living Theatre and others. Perlman was arrested after a sit-down in Times Square in the fall of 1961. He became the printer for the Living Theatre and during that time wrote The New Freedom, Corporate Capitalism and a play, Plunder, which he published himself.
In 1963, the husband and wife left the U.S. and moved to Belgrade, Yugoslavia after living some months in Copenhagen and Paris. Perlman received a master's degree in economics and a PhD at the University of Belgrade's Law School; his dissertation was titled "Conditions for the Development of a Backward Region," which created an outrage among some members of the faculty. During his last year in Yugoslavia, he was a member of the Planning Institute for Kosovo and Metohija.
During 1966-69 the couple lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Perlman taught social science courses at Western Michigan University and created outrage among some members of the faculty when he had students run their own classes and grade themselves. During his first year in Kalamazoo, he and Milos Samardzija, one of his professors from Belgrade, translated Isaac Illych Rubin's Essay on Marx's Theory of Value. Perlman wrote an introduction to the book: "An Essay on Commodity Fetishism."
In May 1968, after lecturing for two weeks in Turin, Italy, Perlman went to Paris on the last train before rail traffic was shut down by some of the strikes that were sweeping Western Europe that season. He participated in the May unrest in Paris and worked at the Censier center with the Citroen factory committee. After returning to Kalamazoo in August, he collaborated with Roger Gregoire in writing Worker-Student Action Committees, May 68.
During his last year in Kalamazoo, Perlman had left the university and together with several other people, mostly students, inaugurated the Black and Red magazine, of which six issues appeared. Typing and layout was done at the Perlman house and the printing at the Radical Education Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In January 1969 Perlman completed The Reproduction of Daily Life. While traveling in Europe in the spring of 1969