James's Reviews > Scum of the Earth

Scum of the Earth by Arthur Koestler
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's review
Apr 04, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, when-criminals-become-politicians
Recommended for: any one
Read in May, 2005

This is an unusual autobiography because it's not so much about the author as a whole generation of political refugees who had to move across one border after another with little more than a suitcase. Usually in the middle of the night.

Set from 1939 to 1941 the author tells how people fleeing facism, communism or both finally ended up in France by Sept 1939.

They thought they were safe.
They were wrong.

The French media branded them the Scum of the Earth,
responsible for all the crime and other ailments of 1939 France.

They were put into concentration camps where few survived.
This is the only book I know that mentions French concentration camps.

One thing that adds to the interest of this book is that it
was published in 1941 before the United States entered the war.

The prevailing mood in France was that Hitler would conquer
Britian and Russia and with a mood of schadenfreude, the French were pleased with the thought.

Few thought Hitler would ever be defeated.

Not as well known as his fictional "Darkness at Noon",
I found this book to be more interesting.

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09/10/2016 marked as: read

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