Assassination! July 14


Assassination! July 14

Ben Abro
With a historical essay by James D. Le Sueur

256 pages


April 2001


$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

July 14. One of Europe's most sinister terrorist organizations hatches a brilliant plan to assassinate the feared and powerful leader of France, President Charles de Gaulle. Max Palk, an extraordinarily talented British secret agent, is summoned to Paris to hunt down the assassins before it is too late. Ensnared in a terrifying web of doublecross and death, Palk races against the clock to outmaneuver, outshoot, and outthink his increasingly desperate foes.

A decade before The Day of the Jackal appeared, Ben Abro's Assassination! July 14 became an international sensation, thanks to its sizzling plot, an ingenious, intellectual hero, and a realistic depiction of France's volatile political scene in the 1960s. In fact, the novel proved too real, provoking outrage and a lawsuit that shut down its publication. For the first time in decades, this gripping, underground thriller is again widely available. The equally riveting story behind the novel and the controversy it spawned are carefully explained in an informative essay by James D. Le Sueur. Drawing upon interviews with the authors, court transcripts, and recent evidence and scholarship, Le Sueur examines how an item of popular culture could have had such national and international repercussions.

Author Bio

Ben Abro is the pseudonym of Robert Silman and Ian Young, who were students of philosophy under Jean-François Lyotard at the Sorbonne in the early 1960s. James D. Le Sueur is an associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the author of Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics during the Decolonization of Algeria, Second Edition (Nebraska 2005). He is the editor of Mouloud Feraoun’s Journal, 1955–1962: Reflections on the French-Algerian Warand a contributor to Henri Alleg's The Question, both available in Bison Books editions.


"James D. Le Sueur provides a historical essay appended to the novel wherein he describes the political climate at the time of the efforts to kill de Gaulle, and then a very vivid description of the defamation trial. Taken together, the novel and Le Sueur’s essay provide a riveting recreation of a moment in French history where the dramatic and the ridiculous vied for equal attention."—William Cloonan, South Atlantic Review

"Professor James LeSueur . . . does not specialize in spy novels of the 1960s. His domain is more the history of intellectuals. One day, however, in Paris, Pierre Vidal-Naquet told him about an old memory of a forgotten affair: the pulping of an English spy novel, in 1963, following a lawsuit filed by Jacques Soustelle. Soustelle’s complaint was that his role in the novel was that of a villain, a scheming fascist. Le Sueur did some research, tracked down the authors, read their files. And he just brought that little novel back into print in the U.S.: Assassination! July14. In a long, passionate historical essay, Le Sueur tells the story of the trial. And this second part of the book is a more solid and captivating thriller than the slight novel which precedes it. Not only does the essay cast new light on Jacques Soustelle, one of the most enigmatic personages of the postwar period, it also illuminates in formidable fashion the political strife of the time, its pure violence."—Pascal Riché, Libération

"An unusual political thriller, first published almost 40 years ago, now looks like a revealing document of France’s deepest postwar crisis . . . You could also read Assassination! for pleasures of a less-erudite kind, summed up by three simple words: grenade-launching dogs."—Scott McLemee, Chronicle of Higher Education

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