Book cover for The War of the Poor

The War of the Poor



06 January 2022
80 pages
Imprint: Picador


This brief, ardent book, half-historical essay and half-revolutionary tract, mingles swift-moving tableaux from the preacher’s life and age with Vuillard’s pulpit homilies on oppression and resistance . . . its incendiary prose well served by Mark Polizzotti’s translation, has scenes of firecracker intensity.
[A] compact, artful blend of history and fiction . . . in cinematic bursts of image and action . . . [Vuillard] never forces analogies with the present, but the uprisings he describes feel like part of a war destined to rage in any era beset by gross inequalities.
It is very French and I mean that as a whole-hearted compliment . . . Set in a Europe of political division, sickness, disenfranchisement, poverty and simmering rebellion, it may be patterned on the gilets jaunes disruptions but is far more universal. The narrator is both aloof and humble; not willing to speculate about Müntzer’s motives, but desperate to understand him.
A slender, vivid history of a 16th-century populist revolt that holds relevance for current times . . . A slim book in which every word is important, one that deserves to be read multiple times.