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Resentment in History

Resentment in History

Marc Ferro

ISBN: 978-0-745-64686-2

Aug 2010, Polity

248 pages

In Stock



This book, by a renowned and distinguished historian, is an arresting account of the role that resentment has played throughout history, from Antiquity and early Christianity through to the present day.

At the origin of resentment we always find an injury, an act of humiliation, an affront, a trauma. Those who feel victimized cannot react because they are powerless. They brood on their desire for revenge, which they cannot satisfy but which constantly nags at them. Until finally they explode with anger. This period of waiting may also be accompanied by a repudiation of the oppressor's values and a rehabilitation of the victim's own values, and this gives the oppressed new strength, fuelling the act of revolt or revenge.

Ferro effortlessly weaves together historical examples such as the role played by resentment in the French and Russian revolutions, the resentment against the historical suffering of African Americans that
underpinned the Civil Rights movement and the rise of black power, and the revival of resentment by proponents of radical Islam whose violent acts of terror in New York, London and elsewhere have shaken the world.
  • Overture
  • The Enslaved and the Persecuted: An Age-old
  • Resentment
  • Revolutions: The Role of Resentment
  • Post-Colonization and Communitarianism
  • Conclusion
"Ferro's eye for telling details and his acute aperçus keep the reader engaged. Characteristically, he also makes effective use of quotations from the history of cinema to illustrate his thesis throughout the book."
Australian Journal of Politics and History

"Marc Ferro's account of the dark force of resentment and revenge in modern times is a salutary reminder how much history of a high order can contribute to an understanding of our turbulent world. If you think fundamentalist Islam came out of the blue, then read this book and think again."
Jay Winter, Yale University
  • One of the world's preeminent historians, Marc Ferro is a leading member of the Annales School and a recognized authority on twentieth-century European history.
  • This book examines the idea of resentment in history Ð the kind of brooding anger that results from some kind of humiliation or trauma and leads to a violent act of revolt or revenge.
  • Ferro uses a wide range of examples, from the Ancient world and early Christianity right up to the emergence of black power, the rise of Islamic terrorism and 9/11.
  • This will appeal to students and scholars of history and politics, and to interested general readers.