The War of the Poor
The fight for equality begins in the streets.
The history of inequality is a long and terrible one. And it’s not over yet. Short, sharp and devastating, The War of the Poor tells the story of a brutal episode from history, not as well known as tales of other popular uprisings, but one that deserves to be told.
Sixteenth-century Europe: the Protestant Reformation takes on the powerful and the privileged. Peasants, the poor living in towns, who are still being promised that equality will be granted to them in heaven, begin to ask themselves: and why not equality now, here on earth?
There follows a violent struggle. Out of this chaos steps Thomas Müntzer: a complex and controversial figure, who sided with neither Martin Luther, nor the Roman Catholic Church. Müntzer addressed the poor directly, encouraging them to ask why a God who apparently loved the poor seemed to be on the side of the rich.
Éric Vuillard tells the story of one man whose terrible and novelesque life casts light on the times in which he lived – a moment when Europe was in flux. As in his blistering look at the build-up to World War II, The Order of the Day, Vuillard here once again takes us behind the scenes at a moment when history was being written.
Vuillard is the master demystifier, who leaves nothing sleeping in the shadows. He is only civil when it comes to language, which he applies with a devastating irony and a grace that one rarely reads.
Grégoire Leménager, L’OBS
A short and incandescent text.