Chasity written in third person and I thought it


November 2017

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Dr. Anna Esquivel            


Book Review on Ballad of Anarchist

            The Ballad of Anarchist Bandits is about a crime spree
that took place in the span of six months between the years 1911-1912. A group
of anarchist bandits went on a spree of killing and robbing and somehow always
staying one step ahead of the police. They were motivated by the rampant
inequality and poverty in Paris. Merriman tells the story through the eyes of
two young lovers who chronic this event in the newspaper called L’Anarchie. The book is a good one to
read although he could use some work on some things. It is a good book because
he tells it from the view point of the criminal, also throughout the story he
uses pathos a lot throughout the story.

In the first few chapters
you are getting to know the main character and his family. You also meet his
best-friend and it tells you how they met, how they each grew up, and how they
met some of their other friends. The first few chapters were written in third
person and I thought it was going to be written in third person.

             This book is like some of the other books you
would read in a true crime book. It gives you a lot of details and information
that are true. He shows a picture of the automobile that was said to have been
used in the robbery of December 21, 1911. (Merriman,2) It was the first car to
ever be used as a getaway car.  It
doesn’t give a very detailed description in the prologue about the people who committed
the crime, but it was committed by a gang known as the Bonnot gang. By March of
1912 they had killed two police men. By April of 1912 many of the supporters
and members were put under arrest for the crimes that happened between 1911 and
1912. One of the men that went to trial was Raymond Callemin.

He uses pathos to appeal
to the emotion of the readers by telling how the characters met so we can think
about if that was maybe a reason that they went into the anarchy. We learn how
Raymond and Victor meet and how they had become inseparable soon afterward in
the first few chapters. We learn how they liked to read books and talk about
the books in depth. That is one of the things they liked to do the most when
they were together was to compare books. And then it goes on to tell about how
they meet a group of boys who they soon become close with and one of the boys
wrote a poem about the time they spent together, and his name was Jean de Boe.
The title of the poem in the book is called “Misère” and I like the fact that
John Merriman mentions this poem.

 After the poem it goes on to tell us all the
things that the two men mentioned previously did before they decided to become
anarchists. He mentions this event called the Bloody Week which happened in
Paris and began on May 21 ,1871 all the way through May 28, 1871. According to
the New York Times it was calculated That an estimated amount of 6000 – 7000
people died in that time frame. (Dunlap) They mention that the Encylopaedia
Britannica stated that about 20,000 insurrectionists were killed in that week
while others estimated about reach about 30,000 dead. I mention this because he
didn’t give enough information on why he added that part in the book.

Merriman gives a
background on the characters to appeal to our emotions and make us reason with
why he may have joined the Anarchy. The first man we meet in the story is named
Victor Kibaltchiche who has since changed his name to Victor Serge. He grew up
in Brussels and never went to school, he learned to read and write from his
parents who loved to read. They taught him from books in the library and other
books that were old and ruined basically because they could not afford to buy
brand new ones. Later in the story it tells us how they met and their
backstory. It gives us some history about Raymond Callemin like the fact that
his mother died when he was younger and that he grew up on the street. Merriman
goes on to tell about how Victors mother’s father gave him some stability and
that is how he got an education. As he grew older we learn that he started to
go to jail more and more and soon became an Anarchist and the later joined the
militia after the girl he feel in love with leaves him and moves back to
Russia. Later in the chapter we find out that he moves around a lot to avoid
military service. He avoided military services by refusing to report in 1910
and crossing the border as many times as needed. A few years after he joined
the anarchy he was under arrest for the crimes that he may or may not have
committed. The trial began on February 3 of 1913 and he was beheaded with a few
other men of the anarchy in front of the prison gates on April 21,1913.

Serge only received five years of solitary confinement. His lover Rirette Maitrejean
who you meet in the story later becomes his wife while he is in solitary
confinement Rirette Maitrejean was born in Tulle and wanted to become a teacher
when she was younger but when her father died she abandoned that idea and soon
fled to Paris where she was associated with a group of anarchists. She soon
married a man named Louise Maitrejean and had two children by him then in 1909
she met Victor Serge they fell in love. They also helped edit the l’Anarchie
after the death of Albert Libertad.

think this book is like the other true crime books because it gives you a
background and information about the subjects and tells you about the
characters. He tells about the story of Victor and Rirette from there point of
view and how they began their life together and how they saw the crimes going
on. He may get a bit confusing and probably should have cited the quotes in
book instead of making you have to flip back and forth to figure out what he is
talking about and who is saying what.

            The book is a good one to read but I think he could have
written it better. There are some very good things about this book. And there
are some things I wish he would of done differently. In general, it is a good
one to read if one you like true crime books and two if you like reading it
from a perspective other than the victims or a third person point of view. One
of the things I didn’t like about the book was the fact that the first few
chapters were written in third person and the fact that you had to go back and
forth when reading to find out what he is talking about. Which in the first few
chapters it starts out slow and it feels like you are reading from a third
person point of view. A downside being that he does not quote the person
directly which makes the reader have to read the end notes or it does not make
sense to the reader and it makes it harder to read.














Cited Page

Merriman, John
M. Ballad of the anarchist bandits: the crime spree that gripped Belle
E?poque Paris. first ed., Nation Books, 2017.

Dunlap, David W. “1871 | ‘The Paris
Agony’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Nov. 2015, Accessed on 3 December 2017

Simkin, John. “Raymond Callemin.” Spartacus Educational, Spartacus Educational, Accessed on 3 December