Resentment in History

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Polity, Aug 30, 2010 - History - 150 pages
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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.


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About the author (2010)

Marc Ferro is Director of Studies in Social Sciences at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

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