Welcome to Razorcake | punk music book reviews Welcome to Razorcake | punk music book reviews

Orgasms of History: 3000 Years of Spontaneous Insurrection
By Yves Fremian, Drawings by Valny, 248 pgs.

By Maddy
Wednesday, April 13 2011

The back cover of Orgasms of History says, “Every now and then, they explode. Riots, uprisings, revolutions, new and bizarre social groups spring up seemingly from nowhere. Our standard histories tend to treat these as oddities, if treated at all, or as misguided responses to hard times, limited by lack of responsible leadership. Here’s an illustrated people’s history to puncture that balloon.” French writer Yves Fremian presents over twenty-five rebellions, revolts, and nontraditional philosophers. From the Greek cynics to the San Francisco Diggers, Fremian gives a few pages to each. He attempts to connect them all with a general anarchist outlook. He makes statements like, “Between feudalism and bureaucracy, between capitalism and private western imperialism and the State capitalism and imperialism of the ‘socialist’ countries, there are few, if any, essential differences.” Most historians, and myself, disagree. Although there are certainly some broad statements that could be made, such as “Power corrupts,” that are relatively true throughout history, there is a huge difference between feudalism and capitalism. The demands of English peasants in the thirteenth century are not identical with those of the American working class in the 19th century.

Unfortunately, Fremian seems intent on over-simplifying. He ignores a lot of negative aspects to the rebellions he writes about and calls a number of events and people “anarchist” before the term was commonly used. Fremian does pick some interesting events and history. A novice might want to pick this up to get some ideas about historical events he or she might want to read more about. Of course, it is clearly not Fremian’s intent to provide a comprehensive history. And he does do a pretty good job of delivering the basics. In the introduction, he says, “A book is no substitute for a gun.” I guess us non-gun-toting revolutionaries are screwed. Oh well. -Maddy (AK Press, PO Box 40682, SF, CA 9410-0682)

Razorcake Podcast Player


 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

 Send to a Friend Send to a Friend

If you live in the Los Angeles area and want to help us out, let us know.

Get monthly notifications of new arrivals and distro and special offers for being part of the Razorcake army.

Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc.
PO Box 42129
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Except for reviews, which appear in both, the
contents of the Razorcake website are completely
different from the contents of Razorcake Fanzine.

© 2001-2015 Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc. Privacy Policy

Razorcake.org is made possible in part by grants from
the City of Los Angeles, Department
of Cultural Affairs and is supported
by the Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors through the Los Angeles
Arts Commission.
Department of Cultural AffairsLos Angeles County Arts Commission

Web site engine code is Copyright © 2003 by PHP-Nuke. All Rights Reserved. PHP-Nuke is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL license.