Letters to Change the World review – a remarkable, timely anthology

From Pankhurst to Orwell, Marx to Einstein … idealists, visionaries and ordinary citizens expose injustice and speak out in this collection edited by Travis Elborough

During the second world war, the French-Algerian author Albert Camus wrote a remarkable series of letters to an anonymous German friend. For Camus, it was a way to explore the cancer of nationalism and to reveal the humanity and shared history that ultimately unites the continent: “For us Europe is a home … where for the last twenty centuries the most amazing adventure of the human spirit has been going on. It is the privileged arena in which western man’s struggle against the world, against the gods, against himself is today reaching its climax.”

Camus’s uplifting hymn of praise to the idea of Europe, written amid the despair of war, is included in this new collection of more than 60 letters, edited by Travis Elborough. Written ...