The War of the Poor
Original title: La Guerre des Pauvres
“A slender, vivid history of a sixteenth-century populist revolt that holds relevance for current times…[A] powerful, moving book…in which every word is important, one that deserves to be read multiple times.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Unique and provocative.” — Publishers Weekly
“In times of punishing social and economic inequality, not unlike the one we are enduring, messianic prophets such as the German preacher and radical Thomas Müntzer rise to mobilize the wretched of the earth to defy the ruling elites. Éric Vuillard draws on this epic moment in sixteenth-century history, known as the Peasants’ War, to remind us that there are serious consequences to unfettered greed and a callous disregard for the plight of the working class by a rapacious oligarchic elite.” — Chris Hedges, author of America: The Farewell Tour
The War of the Poor relates a brutal episode in the history of major popular uprisings.
In the 16th century, the Protestant Reformation launched an attack on privilege and the Catholic church, but it rapidly became an established and bourgeois authority itself. The rural labourers and the poor of the cities, who were still being promised equality in heaven, began to ask: ‘And why shouldn’t we have equality here and now on earth?’
There ensued a furious struggle between the powerful, the comfortable protestants and the others: the wretched. They were led by a number of theologians, one of whom has left his mark in history through his determination and his sheer energy. His name was Thomas Müntzer and he set Germany on fire. La guerre des pauvres recounts his story – that of an insurrection through the Word, which appropriately enough finds its echo in the inventive power of Éric Vuillard’s prose.
- 60 000 copies sold
- Longlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize