The Dreyfus Affair
|Author:||Piers Paul Read|
Intelligent, ambitious and a rising star in the French artillery, Captain Alfred Dreyfus appeared to have everything: family, money, and the prospect of a post on the General Staff. But his rapid rise had also made him enemies - many of them aristocratic officers in the army's High Command who resented him because he was middle-class, meritocratic and a Jew. In October 1894, the torn fragments of an unsigned memo containing military secrets were retrieved by a cleaning lady from the waste paper basket of Colonel Maximilien von Schwartzkoppen of the German embassy in Paris. When French intelligence pieced the document back together to uncover proof of a spy in their midst, Captain Dreyfus, on slender evidence, was charged with selling military secrets to the Germans, found guilty of treason by unanimous verdict and sentenced to life imprisonment on the notorious Devil's Island. The fight to free the wrongfully convicted Dreyfus - over twelve long years, through many trials - is a story rife with heroes and villains, courage and cowardice, dissimulation and deceit. One of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in history, the Dreyfus affair divided France, stunned the world and unleashed violent hatreds and anti-Semitic passions which offered a foretaste of what was to play out in the long, bloody twentieth century to come. Today, amid charged debates over national and religious identity across the globe, its lessons throw into sharp relief the conflicts of the present. In the hands of historian, biographer and prize-winning novelist Piers Paul Read, this masterful epic of the struggle between a minority seeking justice and a military establishment determined to save face comes dramatically alive for a new generation.
A compelling, new and highly accessible account of one of the most high-profile and influential miscarriages of justice in French history: The Dreyfus Affair
Piers Paul Read was born in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. He received his B.A. in 1961 and M.A. in 1962 from Cambridge University. In the years 1963-64, he spent a year in on a Ford Foundation Fellowship. This inspired his second novel The Junkers (1968). In the years 1967-68, he spent a year in New York - an experience he used in The Professor's Daughter (1971). Read is best known for his book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, which documented the story of the 1972 crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. The book was adapted into the 1993 film Alive: The Miracle of the Andes. Read's first notable success was his book Monk Dawson (1969), which won him a Hawthornden Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award and was made into a film of the same name. In 1988 he was awarded a James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his book, A Season in the West and in 2003 his authorized biography of the actor Alec Guinness was published to great acclaim. Piers Paul Read lives in London