Project Description

Frantz Fanon - A Political Biography


Frantz Fanon was one of the twentieth-century’s most influential theorists and activists, whose work fighting against colonialism and imperialism has been an inspiration to today’s decolonization and anti-racism movements. As the author of essential texts such as The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks, his impact on today’s activists – from Rhodes Must Fall to Black Lives Matter – is indelible. Leo Zeilig here details the fascinating life of Fanon – from his upbringing in Martinique to his wartime experiences and work in Europe and North Africa – and frames his ideas and activism within the greater context of his career as a practising psychiatrist and his politically tumultuous surroundings. The book covers the period of the Algerian War of Independence, national liberation and what Fanon described as ‘the curse of independence’. Highlighting Fanon’s role as the most influential theorist of anti-colonialism and racial liberation, this book is an essential read for those interesting in the roots of the modern day anti-racism and decolonization movements.


“No revolutionary is born ready,” Leo Zeilig states in his introduction to Frantz Fanon: The Militant Philosopher of Third World Revolution, and in this smoothly written biography, he proceeds to provide an insight into the complexities that made up this remarkable thinker… In today’s world, where the Black Lives Matter movement highlights the disillusionment of a people who were once so excited about a black president, and where the endless war on terrorism can resemble the kind of self-serving and arbitrary exercising of power conducted by colonising states, his ideas are as relevant as ever.” – Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi, The Independent

“The work of Fanon is of extreme relevance today – with regard to racism, classism, terrorism and on social revolutionary movements… A must read!” –

‘A thought provoking book that represents a new interpretation of Frantz Fanon, key thinker of the Third World anti-colonial revolution that transformed the twentieth century.’ (Martin Evans, Professor of Modern European History, University of Sussex 2015-11-10)

‘Leo Zeilig’s remarkable book about a remarkable scholar-activist, Fanon, has come at a crucial and critical moment. In it he tells the story of the man, his ideas and the milieu wherein he practiced ‘being Fanon’, that is, being argumentative, fearless, revolutionary and totally committed. This book is a subtle and sympathetic engagement with Fanon’s life project: decolonisation and the plight of the national liberation movement in Africa; he was its shining lodestar and exhibited some of its glaring mistakes. Everyone concerned with the human emancipation project must read this book.’ (Trevor Ngwane, Research Chair for Social Change, University of Johannesburg 2015-11-10)

‘Leo Zeilig identifies Frantz Fanon as the most important figure in the ideological struggle against colonialism in the Twentieth Century, arguing that his critical engagement with Marxism enabled him to go far beyond that project. He was a brilliant champion of national liberation, yet he turned into its most devastating critic. In this captivating and passionate biography, Zeilig argues that while Fanon’s legacy is ambiguous, its emancipatory message demands our continuing attention if we are to challenge the continuing oppressions and inequalities of global capitalism. This book is a magnificent addition to the already hugely impressive corpus of work on Fanon’s philosophy and politics.’ (Roger Southall, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand. 2015-11-10)

‘Zeilig has a long history of work on class struggles in Africa and his detailed knowledge of these struggles helps to locate Fanon’s life and work’
(Shane Hopkinson, Marx and Philosophy Review of Books)

“Absolutely worth reading” (Africa is a Country 2017-12-06)

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