The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach

Finalist, National Book Awards 2000 for Nonfiction

Alice Kaplan – The Collaborator, book cover
ISBN 9780226424149
University Of Chicago Press
Alice Kaplan author photo, courtesy of The Chicago Reader
Alice Kaplan

Alice Kaplan is the author of Reproductions of Banality: Fascism, Literature, and French Intellectual Life (1986); French Lessons: A Memoir (1993); and The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach (2000), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. More about this author >

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On February 6, 1945, Robert Brasillach was executed for treason by a French firing squad. He was a writer of some distinction—a prolific novelist and a keen literary critic. He was also a dedicated anti-Semite, an acerbic opponent of French democracy, and editor in chief of the fascist weekly Je Suis Partout, in whose pages he regularly printed wartime denunciations of Jews and resistance activists.

Was Brasillach, in fact, guilty of treason? Was he condemned for his denunciations of the resistance, or singled out as a suspected homosexual? Was it right that he was executed when others, who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands, were set free? Kaplan’s meticulous reconstruction of Brasillach’s life and trial skirts none of these ethical subtleties: a detective story, a cautionary tale, and a meditation on the disturbing workings of justice and memory, The Collaborator will stand as the definitive account of Brasillach’s crime and punishment.