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Éric Vuillard Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Sorrow of the Earth (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Order of the Day (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The War of the Poor (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Honorable Exit (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Eric Vuillard is a French author, and film director. He has two films under his name: L’homme Qui Marche and Mateo Falcone, based on a story created by Proper Merimee. Vuillard’s book Conquistadors won the Ignatius J. Reilly prize in 2010 and Franz-Hessel and Valery-Larbaud prizes in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

In his book The Order of the Day, Eric Vuillard narrates the events, the key meetings, and the decisions of the 1930s that resulted in the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The events told in this book are bizarre and hilariously absurd. This book challenges our perceptions of history driven by black comedy, through which the author highlights that history is told to fit an agenda and that agenda is never the truth.

The takeover of Austria by the Nazis was not as clean as the Nazi media told the world during that time. Beneath the warm welcome the Nazis received upon entering the country were years of assassinations, political scheming, and total manipulations. Vuillard relies on this and emphasizes that the victor often writes history, and during this time, the Nazis were victorious, and they said nothing negative about their systematic conquest.

The British never intervened as their policy of appeasement aided Hitler’s power rise to go unchecked. While it’s easy to criticize this, the book here is full of sarcasm. The British policy was a wrong choice from the word go, but we must all remember that we are reflecting with historical bias. Adolf Hitler was evil, but the extent of his atrocity was yet to be revealed. Chamberlain was all for peace above else and signed the Munich agreement thinking he was doing the right thing for everyone else. He believed Hitler’s fake promises, trusted his honor, and thought that politicking would end Hitler’s ambitions. However, we know that Chamberlain was a fool to sign the agreement since we know the outcome, but clueless Chamberlain never knew what would come.

The Order of the Day isn’t a WWII story. You won’t find a single field battle in the book. Instead, the battles the author covers take place in the strategy rooms and board rooms among other nations’ leaders.

The Nazis depicted in this book aren’t the same you’ve seen in movies or read in other literary works. There is nothing specific scary about these Nazis who failed to invade Austria at the stipulated time because their long line of tanks had broken down on the roads. Hitler and most of the Vuillard’s Nazis have mental health conditions, except that they have not only been set free but also given control of an entire country just because the rest of the continent does not want the trouble of ensuring Hitler and his minion’s authority is checked.
This book is more of Charlie Chaplin’s book The Great Dictator. The Nazis are more satirical. Even though they commit the same atrocities and have the same terrible ideas, the author clarifies that they could not have done it alone. They needed the German industry leaders, the same companies that exist today, like Siemens, Allianz, Bayer, Opel, etc., and other leaders in power to oblige them.

The Order of the Day is a concise book published in May 2017, so it is reasonable to assume that most of it was written in 2016 although the French authors were already concerned about the rise of nationalism much earlier. The author presents the books in such a way that it makes the reader question how different the world would have been if some key political figures had taken other actions when faced with Hitler.

It’s clear from the first page that Eric Vuillard did his research as he drew on journals, with the pages indicating a lot of work has been put into writing this book. Some other exciting parts of this book don’t solely focus on political figures. For example, the focus is on lesser-known prominent people like Louis Soutter, whose drawings are seen as an analogy for the looming war. Bill Tilden, a tennis player, and a short list of Austrian men and women who committed suicide as the Germans were invading their country.

In the War of the Poor, we learn that the vast majority of oppressed individuals throughout history did not wish to slay their masters or destroy their homes. Initially, at least not. Most workers in the nineteenth century opposed the abolition of private property and the dissolution of the states. Most desired pretty fundamental things: decent pay, eight-hour workdays, the ban on child labor, benefits for those who were unable to work, and accessible health care and education.

However, today, these are the fundamentals of democratic social protection. When people refuse to be rational, their viewpoints become even more extreme. They do not consider, “Well, if the master won’t give me this, I’ll just ask for less,” because they already have less and only request marginal improvements. There is no reason to compromise on a viewpoint that is already reformist. If this occurs, you are left with precisely what you began with.

This escalation is discussed in Éric Vuillard’s The War of the Poor. If you begin to believe that you do not need a mediator to communicate with God and that a Church hierarchy serves no purpose, it is not difficult to transition to the secular world. Luther did not, but he was likely justified in his apprehension. From the relative safety of Germany, it was one thing to resist the Pope. The second item was to fight the neighboring prince, who had soldiers and weaponry available. This instinct of self-preservation was lacking in Thomas Müntzer.
Nevertheless, he did little more than bring the Reformation to its natural conclusion. Why should we be enslaved in the material world if there are no lords in the spiritual realm? Protestantism might have led to, and in some instances did lead to, debates about the very structure and organization of society. Yet the force of arms and the power of kings enforced only a spiritual reform in which people could read the Bible and communicate with God on their own, but they were still required to follow a Prince.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Éric Vuillard

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