Scum of the Earth (1941)


First American Edition of Acclaimed Author Arthur Koestler's Memoir of His Escape from Nazi-Occupied France

Koestler, Arthur. Scum of the Earth. New York: Macmillan, 1941.

Octavo. Hardcover. 1st American Edition.

First American edition of Arthur Koestler's compelling memoir about his arrest in France by the Nazis and his eventual escape. "This is a book in a thousand, by far the best book to come out of the collapse of France" (The Guardian). The author of the novel, Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler's own story was every bit as captivating as fiction. Caught in the Nazis' ever-expanding web of terror, Arthur Koestler was arrested in Paris as an undesirable alien--though he had tried to turn himself in as a foreign national several times. Technically, he should have been classified differently due to his notorious anti-fascist views, but deference to the British Home Office allowed him to avoid that fate. Koestler was remanded to the Le Vernet concentration camp, a harrowing experience that Scum of the Earth carefully chronicles. British pressure, including from Harold Nicholson, was instrumental in winning Koestler's release. Koestler joined the British Army immediately after his release and wrote this book while waiting for his papers to go through. Perhaps most strikingly, the book reflects the isolation and information-siloing of the time. Koestler knew a great deal about his own experiences and about the plights of the emigres he encountered, but seemed relatively cut off from points East like Austria where he had spent his early life. This remains, however, a key first-person text on the Fall of France. Dust jacket corner-clipped with price remaining. Faint label residue to endpaper. Book about-fine, dust jacket extremely good with only light wear and toning to extremities.

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