An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris (migrated from bookblogger)

Wow.  I am a little speechless from this book.  It’s funny, too, because I started this book awhile ago and put it aside.  It felt very dense and I wasn’t sure it was worth the “work” of reading it.  Needless to say, I am glad I returned to it as it very quickly became not work but almost a driving force and kept me up to all hours of the night (luckily it’s vacation time!), needing to find out what happened next.

This is the story of the Dreyfus Affair, which if you are not acquainted with it, is the frightening, true story of a Jew, Alfred Dreyfus, who served in the French army in the late 1800’s who was accused and convicted of treason and punished in an absurdly inhuman way.  This historical fictional version of this dark episode in French history, is told from the perspective of a Colonel, Georges Picquart, in the army who was assigned to be the head of intelligence for France and who uncovers the true traitor.  The story is a brutal, gradual revelation of a top-level cover-up of a shabby investigation with the unsurprising victim a Jew.  Because of the persistence of this lonely officer, the case is reopened in spite of all the efforts of his superiors to suppress his work.

Here is another story of French anti-semitism, something that is echoed today.  Reading this leads one to wonder if anything has actually changed since the turn of the last century…

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