On an autumn morning in 1894, Captain Dreyfus was summoned to appear for a routine inspection; instead, as he took down a letter dictated by a senior officer, he was summarily accused of high treason. So began a twelve-year series of events that included his imprisonment on Devil’s Island, the publication of Emile Zola’s passionateJ’Accuse, the Rennes retrial, and the pardon and final rehabilitation of 1906. As the Dreyfus case turned into the Affair, the history of a single military career came to display the conflicts that were tearing France apart: military defeat, anti-Semitic furor, and the place of traditional values in a country still reeling from the turbulence of the French Revolution. Told with an historian’s insight and a novelist’s skill, The Affairmakes fascinating and informative reading about one of the most celebrated episodes in modern history.
“There have been many books about the Dreyfus Affair, but Jean-Denis Bredin's book is one of the best of them — lucid, well-organized, informed by a fine sense of drama.” — John Gross, The New York Times
“[a] critically acclaimed study” — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“If one is limited to a single book about the Dreyfus case and its consequences, this should be it. Bredin has told this story with precision, passion, and a vivid sense of character.” — The New York Review of Books
“A brilliant and fascinating book. What is most remarkable about The Affair is the skill and sensitivity with which the author places it in its essential historical setting. It is also a gripping — though terrible — story superbly told.” — The Atlantic
“This is the most judicious and absorbing account to date of the Dreyfus Case.” — The Boston Globe
“This is certainly the best book on the Dreyfus case now available in the English language.” — San Francisco Examiner
“Bredin is crystal clear in his gripping narrative of the complex case. His tapestry glows with all the color of the Belle Epoque and its extravagances.” — Chicago Sun-Times
“There have been other books on the Affair, but I can’t imagine any of them coming even close to Bredin’s work. He is brilliant at placing the myriad elements of the Affair in context with verve and lucidity. It should be a model for future historians.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Jean-Denis Bredin is a French attorney, law professor, and author. He was born Jean-Denis Hirsch in 1929, to an Alsatian Jewish father and a Catholic mother. His parents divorced when he was small and he was raised as a Catholic. After obtaining degrees in law and humanities from University of Paris-Sorbonne, Bredin was admitted to the Paris Bar in 1950. In 1965, he co-founded Bredin Prat, today one of France’s most prestigious law firms. Bredin was a law professor in Rennes, in Lille and in Paris where he taught from 1969 until 1993. He served on various commissions tasked with reforming France’s universities (1968), broadcast media (1981) and film industry (1982). In 1974, Bredin began publishing fiction (Un Coupable, L’Absence) and non-fiction (L’affaire, Bernard Lazare, Joseph Caillaux, Sieyès). His literary work was so prolific and distinguished that in 1989 he was elected to the Académie Française, occupying Chair 3, formerly held by Marguerite Yourcenar.
Born in New York City in 1944, Jeffrey Mehlman is a literary critic and a historian of ideas. He has taught at Cornell, Yale and Johns Hopkins, and is currently University Professor and Professor of French Literature at Boston University. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, UC Berkeley, CUNY Graduate Center, Washington University and MIT.
His books include a memoir, Adventures in the French Trade: Fragments Toward a Life; A Structural Study of Autobiography: Proust, Leiris, Sartre, Lévi-Strauss; Legacies of Anti-Semitism in France; Walter Benjamin for Children: An Essay on His Radio Years; Genealogies of the Text: Literature, Psychoanalysis and Politics in Modern France and Émigré New York: French Intellectuals in Wartime Manhattan, 1940-1944.
He has translated works by Laplanche, Derrida, Lacan, Blanchot, Vidal-Naquet, Roudinesco and The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus by Jean-Denis Bredin. He has held Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and was appointed Officier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government.
Night is Elie Wiesel's masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie's wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author's original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.
Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.
Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inexorable stripping away of "all but her life." By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.
Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although stripped of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It introduces them to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers them hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.
On September 23, 1939, Wladyslaw Szpilman played Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor live on the radio as shells exploded outside—so loudly that he couldn't hear his piano. It was the last live music broadcast from Warsaw: That day, a German bomb hit the station, and Polish Radio went off the air.
Though he lost his entire family, Szpilman survived in hiding. In the end, his life was saved by a German officer who heard him play the same Chopin Nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. Written immediately after the war and suppressed for decades, The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and the redemptive power of fellow feeling.
Cara Kramer was a typical Polish-Jewish teenager from a small town at the outbreak of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded, Clara's family was taken in by the Becks, a Volksdeutsche (ethnically German) family from their town. Mrs. Beck worked as Clara's family's housekeeper. Mr. Beck was known to be an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a vocal anti-Semite. But on hearing that Jewish families were being led into the woods and shot, Beck sheltered the Kramers and two other Jewish families.
Eighteen people in all lived in a bunker dug out of the Becks' basement. Fifteen-year-old Clara kept a diary during the twenty terrifying months she spent in hiding, writing down details of their unpredictable life—from the house's catching fire to Mr. Beck's affair with Clara's neighbor; from the nightly SS drinking sessions in the room above to the small pleasure of a shared Christmas carp.
Against all odds, Clara lived to tell her story, and her diary is now part of the permanent col-lection of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
In 1943, with Lvov's 150,000 Jews having been exiled, killed, or forced into ghettos and facing extermination, a group of Polish Jews daringly sought refuge in the city's sewer system. The last surviving member this group, Krystyna Chiger, shares one of the most intimate, harrowing and ultimately triumphant tales of survival to emerge from the Holocaust. The Girl in the Green Sweater is Chiger's harrowing first-person account of the fourteen months she spent with her family in the fetid, underground sewers of Lvov.
The Girl in the Green Sweater is also the story of Leopold Socha, the group's unlikely savior. A Polish Catholic and former thief, Socha risked his life to help Chiger's underground family survive, bringing them food, medicine, and supplies. A moving memoir of a desperate escape and life under unimaginable circumstances, The Girl in the Green Sweater is ultimately a tale of intimate survival, friendship, and redemption.