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33 Days: A Memoir

Léon Werth; Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Introduction); Austin D. Johnston (Translator)

Melville House, May 2015

 

In June of 1940, Leon Werth and his wife fled Paris before the advancing Nazis Army. 33 Days is his eyewitness account of that experience, one of the largest civilian dispacements in history.Encouraged to write 33 Days by his dear friend, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, Werth finished the manuscript while in hiding in the Jura mountains. Saint-Exupéry smuggled the manuscript out of Nazi-occupied France, wrote an introduction to the work and arranged for its publication in the United States by Brentanos. But the publication never came to pass, and Werth’s manuscript would disappear for more than fifty years until the first French edition, in 1992. It has since become required reading in French schools. This, the first-ever English language translation of 33 Days, includes Saint-Exupéry’s original introduction for the book, long thought to be lost. It is presented it here for the first time in any language. After more than seventy years, 33 Days appears—complete and as it was fully intended.

About the authors

Léon Werth was a novelist, biographer, art critic, journalist, memoirist and political commentator. He was the author of more than 30 works and was a finalist for the Goncourt Prize. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the “Winged Poet,” was born in Lyon, France, in 1900. A pilot at twenty-six, he was a pioneer of commercial aviation and flew in the Spanish Civil War and World War II. His writings include The Little Prince, Wind, Sand and Stars, Night Flight, Southern Mail, and Airman’s Odyssey. In 1944, while flying a reconnaissance mission for his French air squadron, he disappeared over the Mediterranean.

Praise for 33 Days: A Memoir

“Extraordinary… An invaluable document of history as well as a riveting literary narrative.”- Kirkus Reviews

 

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