Catalogue


The Dreyfus affair : the scandal that tore France in two /
Piers Paul Read.
edition
1st U.S. ed.
imprint
New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2012.
description
408 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), map ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1608194329 (alk. paper), 9781608194322 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2012.
isbn
1608194329 (alk. paper)
9781608194322 (alk. paper)
contents note
The French Revolution -- The Third Republic -- Édouard Drumont -- Evidence of treason -- Dreyfus accused -- Dreyfus condemned -- The Salvation Islands -- The first Dreyfusards -- Colonel Picquart -- Commandant Esterhazy -- Émile Zola -- The pen versus the sword -- The road to Rennes -- Rennes -- The last act.
catalogue key
8304694
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [385]-388) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2012-01-02:
The wrongful 1895 conviction of French-Jewish army captain Alfred Dreyfus as a German spy was based on fabricated evidence. But though innocent, according to Read, a British writer known for Catholic-themed novels who sees the Dreyfus affair as a defining moment in the history of the Catholic Church, Dreyfus was a less than admirable figure: arrogant, very intelligent, but awkward and abrupt, with no friends at work and several questionable extramarital relationships. Read writes that even Theodor Herzl, who founded modern Zionism reportedly on account of the Dreyfus case, initially believed the evidence showing Dreyfus was guilty. It's unclear what bearing these facts have on the question of Dreyfus's innocence or guilt or on the fracture that emerged in France between Dreyfus's supporters (including Emile Zola and his famous "J'accuse" statement) and his enemies. While absorbing and perceptive in parts, Read's (The Death of a Pope) effort often feels disjointed and lacks the nuance of Ruth Harris's and Frederick Brown's recent books on the Dreyfus affair. Moreover, for unexplained reasons, Read emphasizes the work of some recent historians who dispute the accepted view that anti-Semitism was at the heart of Dreyfus's conviction. In the end, Read adds little to our understanding of this critical event in French and Jewish history. Photos. Agent: Gillon Aitken (U.K.) (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Appeared in Library Journal on 2011-12-01:
There are hundreds of books about the saga of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, the wealthy Jewish military officer unjustly accused and convicted of selling French military secrets to the Germans in the aftermath of France's ignominious defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Informed by past scholarship as well as original sources, prolific fiction and nonfiction author Read (Alive) analyzes why the case has had such enduring appeal. Its applications to today are evident, unfolding as it did in the midst of a cultural war over a nation's identity. While anti--Semitism played a part, the question of Dreyfus's guilt also revealed an ideological rift between Right and Left, Catholics and secularists, reactionaries and progressives. L'affaire drew international attention because of the involvement of what we now call prominent "public intellectuals." Novelist Emile Zola became a hero in France for defending Dreyfus. -VERDICT Enriched by glimpses into the captain's personal life as well as by descriptions of his ordeal in the French penal colony at Devil's Island, this book is highly recommended to general readers or undergraduates interested in French history, anti-Semitism, or church-state tensions in the modern period. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/11.]-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Piers Paul Read's fresh and comprehensive take on the scandal sheds new light on Dreyfus's personal life, looks closely at the poor man's unjust exile, and tries to assess just what endowed this incident with its long-lasting fascination." B&N Review "Read has done a masterful job of explaining both what happened and why it happened. [He] offers wonderful portraits of the key figures in the unfolding tragedy, and he strives successfully to explain the motivations, fears, and hatred of both sides. This is a great re-examination of one of the most dramatic and consequential episodes in French history." Booklist(starred)"Enriched by glimpses into the captain's personal life as well as by descriptions of his ordeal in the French penal colony at Devil's Island, this book is highly recommended to general readers or undergraduates interested in French history, anti-Semitism, or church-state tensions in the modern period. Library Journal"Absorbing and perceptive" Publishers Weekly
"Read has done a masterful job of explaining both what happened and why it happened. [He] offers wonderful portraits of the key figures in the unfolding tragedy, and he strives successfully to explain the motivations, fears, and hatred of both sides. This is a great re-examination of one of the most dramatic and consequential episodes in French history." Booklist(starred)"Enriched by glimpses into the captain's personal life as well as by descriptions of his ordeal in the French penal colony at Devil's Island, this book is highly recommended to general readers or undergraduates interested in French history, anti-Semitism, or church-state tensions in the modern period. Library Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, December 2011
Booklist, January 2012
Publishers Weekly, January 2012
Kirkus Reviews, February 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
July 20, 1894. The German military attache in Paris receives a visit from a seedy-looking man who claims to be a French army officer in desperate need of money, offering to sell them military secrets. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a rising star in the French artillery command. Reserved yet intelligent and ambitious, Dreyfus had everything: a family, money, and a clear path to a prestigious post on the General Staff. However, Dreyfus had enemies as a result of his ambition. Many of them came from the impoverished Catholic aristocracy and disliked Dreyfus because he was rich, bourgeois, and, above all, a Jew. On the basis of flimsy evidence, Dreyfus was placed under arrest for the crime of high treason. Not long afterward, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life on the legendary, lethal Devil's Island. The saga of Dreyfus's many trials-he was not exonerated until 1906, twelve years after first being arrested-the fight to free him, and the intrigues on both sides, is a fast-moving mystery story rife with heroes and villains, loose women, loyal wives, bisexual men, tricksters, and charlatans. But this was no mere sideshow. The anti-Semitism and deceit on display in the Dreyfus case was an ominous prelude to the Holocaust and the long, bloody twentieth century to come. In an era when religious conflict, fierce patriotism, and charged debates over national identity pervade the public sphere, the scandal of Captain Dreyfus still has much to teach us. In the hands of prizewinning novelist, biographer, and narrative historian Piers Paul Read, this real-life morality tale comes alive for a new generation. Using his storytelling skills and a nuanced, deep knowledge of French history, Read rediscovers l'affaire Dreyfus as a rich, riveting tale.
Table of Contents
Mapp. v
Prefacep. 1
Before the Affair
The French Revolutionp. 7
The Third Republicp. 21
Édouard Drumontp. 33
Alfred Dreyfus
Evidence of Treasonp. 51
Dreyfus Accusedp. 71
Dreyfus Condemnedp. 86
The Salvation Islandsp. 119
The Affair
The First Dreyfusardsp. 145
Colonel Picquartp. 161
Commandant Esterhazyp. 183
Émile Zolap. 210
The Pen versus the Swordp. 232
The Road to Rennesp. 251
Rennesp. 283
The Last Actp. 316
Epiloguep. 345
Principal Charactersp. 353
Notesp. 365
Bibliographyp. 385
Acknowledgementsp. 389
Indexp. 391
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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