“The Colonizer and the Colonized [is] now regarded as a classic description of the inner dynamics of racism and colonialism, a work that in its economic and political sophistication, its sober perceptions of the interdependence of colonizer and colonized, rivals Franz Fanon’s more famous but more romantic Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth.” — Richard Locke, The New York Times
“The subject of colonialism has rarely been treated more lucidly and devastatingly than in this book.” — Library Journal
“Widely influential.” — New Yorker
“Confiscated by colonial police throughout the world since its 1957 publication, The Colonizer and the Colonized is an important document of our times, an invaluable warning for all future generations.” — Los Angeles Times
“Albert Memmi’s characterology of master and servant has a personal as well as a social dimension. The pecking order he describes has its accurate analogues in the lives of middle-class Americans.” — Emile Capouya, Saturday Review
Albert Memmi was born in Tunisia in 1920, the second of thirteen children of a poor, working-class Arabic-speaking Jewish family. He learned French in his Jewish elementary school and attended Lycée Carnot in Tunis. When the Nazis invaded Tunisia during World War II, he was unable to continue his studies and interned in a labor camp. He moved to Paris in 1945 where he met Germaine Dubach, a Catholic, whom he married in 1946. The couple moved back to Tunis, where two of their three children were born, and where Memmi taught high school philosophy and helped found a publication that would later become Jeune Afrique.
His first book, the autobiographical novel The Pillar of Salt, appeared in 1953. After Tunisia became independent in 1956, Memmi — a prominent leftist and Jew — returned to Paris where he has lived ever since. During the Algerian war, he publishedThe Colonizer and the Colonized with a preface by Jean-Paul Sartre, in 1957. Portrait of a Jew and The Liberation of the Jew were published by Gallimard in 1962 and 1966. Memmi became a French citizen in 1973. He taught at Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and Université de Paris-Nanterre, received the Académie Française’s Grand Prix de la Francophonie and is a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Howard Greenfeld (1929-2006) grew up in New York City, graduated from Columbia University, and has lived in Rome, Florence, and Camaiore, Italy, and in Paris, France.
He has written twenty books for young adults, and biographies of Marc Chagall, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Puccini, Caruso, and the art collector Albert C. Barnes. He was also the founder of Orion Press and published English-language translations of such writers as Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, and Jean Piaget.
We are familiar with maps that outline all fifty states. And we are also familiar with the idea that the United States is an “empire,” exercising power around the world. But what about the actual territories—the islands, atolls, and archipelagos—this country has governed and inhabited?
In How to Hide an Empire, Daniel Immerwahr tells the fascinating story of the United States outside the United States. In crackling, fast-paced prose, he reveals forgotten episodes that cast American history in a new light. We travel to the Guano Islands, where prospectors collected one of the nineteenth century’s most valuable commodities, and the Philippines, site of the most destructive event on U.S. soil. In Puerto Rico, Immerwahr shows how U.S. doctors conducted grisly experiments they would never have conducted on the mainland and charts the emergence of independence fighters who would shoot up the U.S. Congress.
In the years after World War II, Immerwahr notes, the United States moved away from colonialism. Instead, it put innovations in electronics, transportation, and culture to use, devising a new sort of influence that did not require the control of colonies. Rich with absorbing vignettes, full of surprises, and driven by an original conception of what empire and globalization mean today, How to Hide an Empire is a major and compulsively readable work of history.