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David VitalAn important contribution both to the ever-mounting history of the Affair and to the general history of Jewry . . .
— The Times Literary Supplement
In 1898, the Dreyfus Affair plunged French society into a yearlong frenzy. In Paris and provincial villages throughout the country, angry crowds paraded through the streets, threatening to attack Jews and destroy Jewish-owned businesses. Anger about the imagined power of Jewish capital, as well as fears of treason and racial degeneration, made anti-Semitism a convenient banner behind which social and political factions could fall in line. Anti-Semitic feelings that had been simmering in France for decades came boiling to the surface.
Here Pierre Birnbaum guides readers on a tour of France during this crisis. He shows that in the midst of violence, Jewish citizens bravely and effectively defended themselves and were aided by a police force determined to maintain order. Birnbaum paints a vivid portrait of French Jewish culture at the time and explains why the French state remained strong in this time of widespread unrest.
Map of France ix
1 Is Paris Burning? 7
2 Journey to the Center of France 74
3 In Barrésian Lorraine 123
4 Storm on the Coast: Algerian Marseilles 150
5 Radical Toulouse, Nationalist Bordeaux 185
6 Take Arms, Citizens of Vendée! 221
7 The Battle of Brest 255
8 In the Region of Normandy 272
9 Good Superintendent Leproust Peacekeeping and Prejudice Among the Police 290
10 The "Arrogance" of Rabbi Taubmann: Passivity and Resistance Among the Jews 309
Chronology of Events in the Dreyfus Affair 337