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Scum of the Earth by Arthur Koestler
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May 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction-general

Koestler, Arthur. SCUM OF THE EARTH. (1941). ****.
This was the first book that Koestler wrote in English, and it chronicles his experiences at the beginning of WW II. He and the woman he was living with at the time, a sculptress, had moved to a remote area of France – she to carry on with her art, he to work on his novel, “Darkness at Noon.” When war broke out, however, he knew that they had to get out of France and over to England for their safety. In their attempt, Koestler ended up being detained in various prisons run by, respectively, the French, the English, and the Germans. His treatment in the German camp was especially harsh. He finally made it to safety after escaping the German prison after joining the French Foreign Legion using false identity papers. This memoir should be considered as a major document in WWII literature, but has somehow dropped out of the standard canon. It deserves a wider audience. Recommended.
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