Dreyfus

Dreyfus

Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century

Book - 2010
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Baker & Taylor
Details the events surrounding the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, for spying on Germany.

McMillan Palgrave

The definitive history of the infamous scandal that shook a nation and stunned the world

In 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongfully convicted of being a spy for Germany and imprisoned on Devil's Island. Over the following years, attempts to correct this injustice tore France apart, inflicting wounds on the society which have never fully healed.

But how did a fairly obscure miscarriage of justice come to break up families in bitterness, set off anti-Semitic riots across the French empire, and nearly trigger a coup d'état? How did a violently reactionary, obscurantist attitude become so powerful in a country that saw itself as the home of enlightenment? Why did the battle over a junior army officer occupy the foremost writers and philosophers of the age, from Émile Zola to Marcel Proust, Émile Durkheim, and many others? What drove the anti-Dreyfusards to persist in their efforts even after it became clear that much of the prosecution's evidence was faked?

Drawing upon thousands of previously unread and unconsidered sources, prizewinning historian Ruth Harris goes beyond the conventional narrative of truth loving democrats uniting against proto-fascists. Instead, she offers the first in-depth history of both sides in the Affair, showing how complex interlocking influences—tensions within the military, the clashing demands of justice and nationalism, and a tangled web of friendships and family connections—shaped both the coalition working to free Dreyfus and the formidable alliances seeking to protect the reputation of the army that had convicted him. Sweeping and engaging, Dreyfus offers a new understanding of one of the most contested and significant moments in modern history.



Blackwell Publishing
"In many respects, the Dreyfus Affair remains the founding event of modern politics. Ruth Harris's insightful and fascinating study brings the debate, which riveted France and the world for over ten years, back to life. With an ethnographer's attention for the salient detail, Harris reveals aspects of the Affair that her predecessors, among both ideological camps, have inexplicably overlooked. She achieves all of this with a mellifluous prose style and an accomplished novelist's sense of narrative framing. Her book is destined to become the standard work on the Affair for years to come."---Richard Wolin, Author of the Wind From the East: French Intellectuals, The Cultural Revolution, and the Legacy of the 1960S

"Ruth Harris's new book on the Dreyfus Affair tells the story colorfully and with admirable completeness, while revealing new dimensions that both complicate and enrich our understanding of what drew people to involve themselves with it. Her sensitivity to the personal motives at work on both sides and to the sometimes surprising features of religious and secular culture of the time makes what has long been recognized as a moment full of passion and significant conflict still more engrossing."---Jerrold Seigel, Author of the Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience in Western Europe Since the Seventeenth Century

"Ruth Harris is one of the most thoughtful and original historians writing in English today. In her hands, the Dreyfus Affair escapes the century-old interpretation of its protegonists to reveal the humanity of Alfred Dreyfus, who disappointed his supporters, and the courage of his wife, Lucie, whom they largely ignored. By the end, we realize that because pro- and anti-Dreyfusards inhabited the same cultural universe, they weren't as far apart as many historians have believed. Dreyfus's proponents were right, of course, but for reasons more emotionally and politically complex than we have known until now."---Edward Berenson, Author of the Trail of Madame Caillaux

In 1894, Alfred Dreyfus, A Jewish Officer in the French army, was wrongfully convicted of being a spy for Germany and imprisoned on Devil's Island. Over the following years, attempts to correct this injustice tore France apart, inflicting wounds on the society that have never fully healed.

But how did a fairly obscure miscarriage of justice come to break up families in bitterness, set off anti-Semitic riots across the French empire, and nearly trigger a coup d'etat? How did a violently reactionary, obscurantist attitude become so powerful in a country that saw itself as the home of enlightenment? Why did the battle over a junior army officer occupy the foremost writers and philosophers of the age, from Emile Zola to Marcel Proust, Emile Durkheim, and many others? What drove the anti-Dreyfusards to persist in their efforts even after it became clear that much of the prosecution's evidence was faked?

Drawing upon thousands of previously unread and unconsidered sources, prizewinning historian Ruth Harris goes beyond the conventional narrative of truth-loving democrats uniting against proto-fascists. Instead, she offers the first in-depth history of both sides in the Affair, showing how complex interlocking influences---tensions within the military, the clashing demands of justice and nationalism, and a tangled web of friendships and family connections---shaped both the coalition working to free Dreyfus and the formidable alliances seeking to protect the reputation of the army that had convicted him. Sweeping and engaging, Dreyfus offers a new understanding of one of the most contested and significant moments in modern history.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 2010
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780805074710
0805074716
Branch Call Number: 944.0512 DREYF HARRI
Characteristics: xvi, 541 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Notes: "Originally published in the United Kingdom in 2010 as The man on Devil's Island by Allen Lane, London"--Title page verso

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