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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative look at the Dreyfus Affairs, March 19, 2006
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amazon fan (Lawrenceburg, KY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford Series in History & Culture) (Paperback)
I read this book for a class on 19th century Europe. Burns has done a wonderful job of providing documentation showing both sides of the affair. I wish all historical events were analyzed and documented so completely. After reading this book I have a greater understanding of what led to the court martial of Alfred Dreyfus, the turmoil following his conviction, and the societal changes that continued to evolve through the first half of the 20th century. Great book!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very unorthodox approach, November 15, 2009
By 
Michael M (Israel - variously Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Petah Tiqwa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford Series in History & Culture) (Paperback)
There are two interesting things about this book:

(1) It tries to view the Dreyfus affair from the perspective of (a) the entire period of 1789 to 1945, and (b) the entire Dreyfus family (it even includes a family tree!).

(2) It is written like a novel, even though it is actually a history book. For example, beginning his discussion with Dreyfus's 18th century ancestors, Burns casually remarks on how one of these ancestors, being a butcher, must have had prodigious physical strength, and how (as per Jewish law and custom) he probably would sell the front half of the animal as kosher and sell the rear half to the gentiles due to the unkosher sinews (by contrast, Sephardi (Spanish and Middle Eastern) Jews tend to remove the individual sinews, a tedious process, and thereby render the rear half kosher). Burns also discusses the linguistic and cultural peculiarities of Ashkenazi (European) French Jewry in Alsance (of which Dreyfus's ancestors were a part), as contrasted with the French Sephardim (Spanish) in Bordeaux and Bayonnce, and how the French Enlightenment figures never doubted that the latter (being already acculturated to France) would be accorded emancipation, even as they were reluctant to emancipate the former (who were very insular).

The result is a history book that flows like a novel and includes a fascinating amount of both human character and element (as per (1) above), as well as side details of daily life and thought (as per (2) above).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very fascinating, January 2, 2014
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This review is from: France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford Series in History & Culture) (Paperback)
I usually read American history, but this book intrigued me and it did not disappoint. Easy to read and most interesting that such an incident took place in France. It is sad that such bigotry existed and that a man was sent to prison for who he was rather than what he did. Dreyfus' family was to commended for their steadfastness in his defense and eventual acquittal. The original documents were well placed to make the reader all the more aware of the horror and ignorance of the time.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, July 4, 2009
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This review is from: France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford Series in History & Culture) (Paperback)
A fascinating book. I read it for a college level 'discussion' class and this book sparked a lot of fun discussion. The France and Dreyfus Affair was a fascinating historical incident and this book is an excellent overview of it.
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France and the Dreyfus Affair: A Brief Documentary History (Bedford Series in History & Culture)
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