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In December 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a brilliant French artillery officer and a Jew of Alsatian descent, was court-martialed for selling secrets to the German military attache in Paris based on perjured testimony and trumped-up evidence. The sentence was military degradation and life imprisonment on Devil's Island, a hellhole off the coast of French Guiana. Five years later, the case was overturned, and eventually Dreyfus was completely exonerated. Meanwhile, the Dreyfus Affair tore France apart, pitting Dreyfusards--committed to restoring freedom and honor to an innocent man convicted of a crime committed by another--against nationalists, anti-Semites, and militarists who preferred having an innocent man rot to exposing the crimes committed by ministers of war and the army's top brass in order to secure Dreyfus's conviction. Was the Dreyfus Affair merely another instance of the rise in France of a virulent form of anti-Semitism? In "Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters," the acclaimed novelist draws upon his legal expertise to create a riveting account of the famously complex case, and to remind us of the interest each one of us has in the faithful execution of laws as the safeguard of our liberties and honor.
"As a primer on the affair, this is a first-rate narrative and a heartfelt plea to modern democracies to stick to their values and defend basic liberties, however threatened they feel." - The Economist * Economist *
"In thousands of political battles-including those over the Iraq war-Western publics have relived the Dreyfus Affair ever since."-Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs-- Andrew Moravcsik * Foreign Affairs *
"I can't imagine a more unequivocal, socially acute, or legally astute book about the whole hateful Dreyfus Affair than Louis Begley's "Why Dreyfus Matters." Add to that the limpidity, the novelist's eye, the moral passion, and the very considerable narrative gifts that have made Begley's fiction famous, and you have one of French history's most tellingly muddled moments, distilled and restored to the drama it in fact was for the country it divided."-Jane Kramer* Jane Kramer *
"Begley's riveting details and unremitting passion make this book a worthy successor to J'accuse."--Jewish Book World* Jewish Book World *
"Particularly powerful in drawing lessons for American society after September 11."--Robert Gildea, New York Review of Books
-- Robert Gildea * New York Review of Books *
"A brave new book [and] a pointed warning and reminder of how fragile the standards of civilized conduct prove in moments of national panic."-Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker-- Adam Gopnik * New Yorker *
"...a brilliant work of historical storytelling, reminding us to what extent the drama is in the detail." - The Jewish Chronicle-- Natasha Lehrer * The Jewish Chronicle *
"Begley provides a lucid and beautifully written account of L'affair Dreyfus from beginning to end."
-Steven Lubet, The Green Bag
|"If they haven't been ordered to convict him, he will be acquitted this evening"||p. 1|
|"The past is never dead"||p. 47|
|"What do you care if that Jew stays on Devil's Island?"||p. 83|
|"The truth marches on and nothing will stop it"||p. 125|
|"Dreyfus was rehabilitated, Picquart became minister of war, and nobody said boo"||p. 187|
|Cast of Characters||p. 205|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Why X Matters S.
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 28th September 2010
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.3 x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.3