The Camp of the Sane and the Camp of the Saints; Poland and the Erosion of Western Sanity,
by Max Denken
Reviewed by Ursula Oleksyn
Once in a decade a book comes along that opens a window to something that was unseen before because there was no window. Such is Max Denken’s The Camp of the Sane and the Camp of the Saints; Poland and the Erosion of Western Sanity, 2015-2020, a samizdat work that no mainstream publisher would touch in the times of our Neo-Maoist Cultural Revolution.
Since the book is mainly about Poland’s struggle against a wide international front attacking it since the PiS government took power, it matters that Denken was born in communist Poland to survivors of what he calls “the twin Holocausts,” with his whole family gone other than parents and a few cousins. That half-Jewish/ half-Polish (Slav) background is common to other writers, e.g. Jan Gross and Adam Michnik, but they seem to identify with their Jewish half from the left while Denken identifies with his Polish half from the right His abbreviated CV is in the preface of the book and it alone could serve as a basis for a gripping book.(1)
As the title itself implies, the book’s account of the contemporary war-on-Poland is set in the larger context of what Oswald Spengler called already in 1918 “The Downfall of the West.” Denken posits that the downfall is so advanced now that it has become irreversible. It’s not just an opinion; the book is crammed with facts and most of its assertions are referenced in 1,000 end-notes. That downfall is driven by Denken’s “Camp of the Saints” which is an all-West extension of the title of Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel about the suicide of France through an invasion of “migrants.”
Denken dwells on the reasons for the West’s downfall in total disregard of political correctness and all the contemporary Orwellian newspeak. He describes America’s self-sabotage and Western Europe’s/ European Union’s even faster self-destruction. He examines with particular attention Germany’s suicide and the paradox of it being Poland’s main foe in Europe even now, after so many times it aggressed Poland in the past.