Translated from the French by Penelope Williams
Revolutionary on the barricades of the Paris Commune, tried before the War Council of France, deported to a penal colony, received by enthusiastic crowds upon her return, briliant lecturer throughout Europe, continuously followed by the police, participant in spectacular trials and demonstrations, threatened by assassins, imprisoned time and again, Louise Michel, writer, teacher, poet, feminist, is one of the most extraordinary legends in the literature of freedom.
Edith Thomas has written the first complete biography of this famous anarchist with passion and with a critical balance. The author's research took her through the Historical Archives of the French Prefecture of Police to the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.
"A very complete and very attractive biography of the heroine... We cannot close this book so richly written without concluding that human beings are more difficult to define and classify than is assumed by history books who line them up against each other."
"Although the Commune remains a controversial phenomenon, one of its best-known figures, Louise Michel, won great sympathy in almost all quarters. She was admired by men as different in their political outlook as Victor Hugo, with whom she maintained a lifelong correspondence... henri Rochefort, Clemenceau, and Maurice Barrès, Verlaine himself was inspired to write a Ballade for her. ... The book`s first part, up to the return to France, is well done, especially the account of Louise's adaptation to life in New Caledonia ... the woman was sui generis and matches rthe legend because of her courage, her limitless generosity, and her single-minded devotion to the cause she made hers ..."
—American Historical Review
1980: 444 pages
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