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AND THERE WAS LIGHT

The Extraordinary Memoir of a Blind Hero of the French Resistance in World War II

When Jacques Lusseyran was an eight-year-old Parisian schoolboy, he was blinded in an accident. He finished his schooling determined to participate in the world around him. In 1941, when he was seventeen, that world was Nazi-occupied France. Lusseyran formed a resistance group with fifty-two boys and used his heightened senses to recruit the best. Eventually, Lusseyran was arrested and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp in a transport of two thousand resistance fighters. He was one of only thirty from the transport to survive. His gripping story is one of the most powerful and insightful descriptions of living and thriving with blindness, or indeed any challenge, ever published.

Endorsements

“This is a magical book, the kind that becomes a classic, passed along between friends... How do you explain the incredible suspense of this book? You know he lives — he's gone on to write it down after all. So why is your breath caught in your throat and why can't you put this book down even the second or third time through it?”
Baltimore Sun

“One of the most powerful memoirs I’ve ever encountered...[Lusseyran’s] experience is thrilling, horrible, honest, spiritually profound, and utterly full of joy.”
Ethan Hawke, in the Village Voice

And There Was Light is one of the most extraordinary books I have ever read. It is why books are published at all. Lusseyran's inner experience of blindness is a testament to the existence of a spiritual world, a guide for all of us.”
Mark Nepo, author of Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

“Lusseyran writes like an angel, like a mystic. His response to losing his sight at an early age is so surprising that it will change the way anyone thinks about blindness.”
Barbara Brown Taylor, author of An Altar in the World and Learning to Walk in the Dark

And There Was Light is the little-known but thoroughly luminous autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, a blind man who discovered the gift of inner sight after losing his vision in a childhood accident — and then put his gift to use in the struggle against Nazism. Lusseyran allows us to glimpse both heaven and hell on Earth through the eyes of a man who has lived through both. His description of what it is like to ‘see’ as a blind man is fascinating and inspiring; his account of Buchenwald, where he was condemned to the living hell of the ‘Invalids’ Barracks,’ is one of the most anguishing fragments of Holocaust testimony that I have ever encountered.”
Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times

“A stunning revelation of human courage and love arising in the midst of implacable human evil. Under it all runs a deep current of mystical truth and hope.”
Jacob Needleman, author of An Unknown World

“An exciting, inspirational account of a life without sight. Lusseyran, blinded at the age of eight by a freak accident, becomes a youth leader in the French Underground during World War II. While still in his teens, he is arrested and sent to Buchenwald, where he serves his fellow prisoners as translator and disseminator of information, never giving in to despair. His refusal to let blindness cripple him shines through his writing with an almost religious tone as he tells of the inner light that guides him. The audio format makes this autobiography especially compelling. Andre Gregory's matter-of-fact reading conveys the author's positive attitude despite blindness and Nazi atrocities. Accounts of uncommon courage are always important for the examples they set, and this one is no exception. Highly recommended for general collections."”
Library Journal

“What normally would seem a tragic plunge into darkness becomes a thrilling journey into light.”
Peter Brook, director of the International Centre for Theatre Research, Paris

“This book is his testament to the joy which exists in all of us, a joy which no conditions — not even the worst — can kill.”
Roshi Philip Kapleau, author of The Three Pillars of Zen

"Most beautiful."
Dr. Oliver Sacks

“Astonishing, life-changing, and magical, And There Was Light is one of my favorite books of all time, and one that I frequently give as a gift. A true story with the power to change what you think is possible.”
Marc Lesser, author of Know Yourself, Forget Yourself and Less: Accomplishing More By Doing Less

“Some years ago I asked the eminent historian of religion Huston Smith what he believed to be the greatest spiritual teaching of all. Without hesitation, he said, 'Follow the light, wherever it may lead.' If Jacques Lusseyran had been asked a similar question, I suspect his answer would have been startlingly similar, though, as a blind leader of the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation he would have insisted that the light does not come from without but from within. This incandescent memoir is graced with both, for light radiates from every page, and glows within the heart of the reader who dares to brave the heart of darkness that Lusseyran illuminates.”
Phil Cousineau, author of The Art of Pilgrimage and editor of The Hero's Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work

“Jacques Lusseyran's extraordinary memoir is a gift of light that brightens our darkest days. Blinded when he was eight, he learned to see with his inner senses, reading the world around him better than those who see only with their eyes, never losing his love of life, always expanding his capacity for friendship and his certainty that there is a saving power. That a blind teenager could become a moving spirit and key organizer in the French Resistance — knowing who to trust by the sound of a voice and the pressure of a hand — and could help to found one of France's leading newspapers, on clandestine presses, makes you want to stand up and cheer. His account of how he survived Buchenwald is one of the great narratives of human courage, giving us heart for the challenges in our own lives. This is essential reading, above all for its eloquent message that we only truly find joy, and light, within.”
Robert Moss, author of The Secret History of Dreaming and The Boy Who Died and Came Back

"Like Lusseyran's light, this inspiring book draws the reader into the experience beyond the ordinary, a world illuminated and quickened by a spirit of wholeness and humanness that is a joy to read and remember."
Noetic Science Review

"Hope is what pours over you on every page of Jacques Lusseyran’s memoir. It’s unavoidable. It’s the DNA of the book."
Jesse Kornbluth, www.headbutler.com

“Rarely has a work of art communicated with such accuracy and tenderness the unmediated and ineffable nature of being. Listening … to Andre Gregory’s luminous reading … one enters a world just being born.”
Jonathan Cott