Robert Antelme’s extraordinary account of survival in a German concentration camp during the Second World War has rightfully earned a reputation in Europe as one of the two great French books on this theme, the other being David Rousset’s L’Univers concentrationnaire (1946). Unbelievably, The Human Race (1992) marks the first translation of L’Espèce humaine , written in 1946–7 and published by Gallimard in 1957.