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The Question
     

The Question

by Henri Alleg
 
The Question, with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, an afterword by the author, a foreword by Ellen Ray and an introduction by James D. Le Sueur is Henri Alleg’s candid account of how the French Army brutally tortured him in Algeria. The book first appeared in 1958. Although quickly banned by the French government, it was widely read and remains a classic and

Overview

The Question, with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, an afterword by the author, a foreword by Ellen Ray and an introduction by James D. Le Sueur is Henri Alleg’s candid account of how the French Army brutally tortured him in Algeria. The book first appeared in 1958. Although quickly banned by the French government, it was widely read and remains a classic and powerful indictment of torture.

“The lesson of this book... is that we are all on the edge of savagery and if we begin to slip over that edge, we fall fast and far.” — D. W. Brogan, The New York Times

“Written with spare and simple candor, the book is much more than a scalding footnote to fever-hot headlines. The Question does not stop with the Algerian question but goes on to ask: What does it mean to be a human being? It tells of the shame and glory of man.” — Time

“In his modest, unassuming and precise fashion, Alleg is describing a triumph of the human spirit... The importance of Alleg’s book extends far beyond Algeria and France. For this is what can happen anywhere; what does happen in many parts of the world and what could happen here. There is nothing ‘inhuman’ about it. It is too, too human. To hush it up, to deny it for any reason whatever is to be an accomplice of the torturers...” — Scotsman

“[A] noble and in a sense ennobling book, the dominant impression it leaves is one of a progressive and finally an almost total degradation, a degradation both of persons — except for the tortured, the outlawed — and of social institutions. The Question is far more than an account of atrocities, however spectacular.” — The Nation

Product Details

BN ID:
2940149099030
Publisher:
Plunkett Lake Press
Publication date:
12/16/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
74
File size:
174 KB

Meet the Author

Henri Alleg (1921-2013), born Harry Salem to Jewish parents from Russia and Poland, studied literature at the Sorbonne, became a French-Algerian journalist and a member of the Communist Party. He started writing under the name Alleg for the Alger Républicain, a daily newspaper sympathetic to Algerian nationalism, and became its editor-in-chief in 1951. In June 1957, he was arrested on suspicion of undermining the power of the French state, and underwent torture for one month in El-Biar, a suburb of Algiers, at the hands of the French Army. Alleg’s account of his interrogation was smuggled out of prison and published in 1958 by Editions de Minuit as La Question, and that same year in English as The Question. Alleg gained international recognition for his stance against torture in the context of the Algerian War. The French government banned La Question after 60,000 copies had been sold. In 1960, a military court which barred the public and the press from the trial condemned Alleg to 10 years of hard labor in France, but he escaped from prison in 1961 and took refuge in Czechoslovakia.

After the 1962 Evian Accords, Alleg returned to France and then to Algeria. He helped rebuild the Alger Républicain but was declared persona non grata after the 1965 military coup by Houari Boumédienne. Alleg moved back to France where he worked as a journalist for L’Humanité until 1980 and wrote several books, including a three-volume history of the Algerian War of Independence and Algerian Memoirs published in 2005. He died at age 91.

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