There is no such thing as a secret not really not in the modern world not with photography and telegraphy and railways and newspaper presses The old days of an inner circle of like minded souls communicating with parchment and uill pens are one Sooner or later most things will be revealed Captain Alfred Dreyfus s mugshotGeorges Picuart was as convinced of Captain Alfred Dreyfus s The Doll and Her Friends (1893) guilt as anyone else in 1894 In fact for the invaluable service he provided during the affair he becomes the youngest Lieutenant Colonel in the French military He is also promoted to head the Intelligence department not the most prestigious appointmentiven that spying was considered rather unseemly rather ungentlemanly The air warms up and very soon Paris starts to reek of shit The stench rises out of the sewers and settles over the city like a putrid Septiņi gas In the newspapers the experts are unanimous that it isn t as bad as the originalreat stink of 1880 It is impossible to stand on one s balcony complains Le Figaro impossible to sit on the terrace of one of the busy joyful cafes that are the pride of our boulevards without thinking that one must be downwind from some uncouth invisible Nightbane World Book One giant The smell infiltrates one s hair and clothes and settles in one s nostrils even on one s tongue so that everything tastes of corruption Such is the atmosphere on the day I take charge of the Statistical Section Major Esterhazy His head in profile is flattish and tapers like a vulture s to areat beak of a nose His moustache is large and swept back His eyes are round and protuberant not natural but crazy like The All New Jonah Twist glass balls pressed into the skull of a skeleton in a medical school The stench becomes all consuming when Picuart sees a photocopy of the famous Bordereau Letter that was so pivotal in the conviction of Dreyfus The problem is Picuart recognizes the handwriting an almost exact match to a Major Ferdinand Esterhazy A man he suspects of trying to sell secrets to the Germans In the course of convicting Dreyfus several handwriting experts were consulting until finally they found one that said that Dreyfus was the probable author of the letter You might be downwind of that uncouth Giant yourself about right now The famous Bordereau Letter that incriminated Dreyfus but should have exonerated him The original copy of the letter mysteriously disappeared in the 1940sSo what is this really all about The evidence against Dreyfus is built on such a tissue of lies that it is impossible to believe that any reasonable person could have found himuilty Did I happen to mention that Dreyfus was Jewish This all really begins back in 1870 when Germany started a unification program Two regions Alsace and Moselle were annexed by the Germans The result of this German aggression is the Franco Prussian War that was disastrous for the French They are soundly defeated despite having a large standing army and a jump start on mobilization The Germans moved uickly had a better understanding of the current technologies and how to best deploy them in war Their troops to the surprise of the French turned out to be better trained and were lead by competent commanders This defeat leads to a time of zealous nationalism and riding along in the sidecar right along with nationalism is a rise of antisemitism When word spreads that there is a spy in the French army it only makes sense that it must be a Jew Dreyfus as a rabbit about to be stewedDown with the Jews Death to the Jews The anger of the population is boiling misplaced though it may be they are convinced that the Jews in some way some mystical fashion contributed to the defeat in 1870 As Picuart continues to investigate Esterhazy finding and evidence that he is a much better candidate to be the German spy than Dreyfus it becomes apparent that his commanding officers a covey of white haired enerals are not interested in reopening the Dreyfus case Picuart is inexplicably reassigned to a unit in Tunisia The Siberia of French outposts Georges Picuart in his Tunisian UniformFinally after months of idleness with no word on when he can return to Paris he reuests a weeks leave and returns to Paris to turn over all his information to his lawyer who then takes that information to the man of impeccable character who also happens to be wealthy enough to withstand bribes or threats Senator Auguste Scheurer Kestner The French enerals start to act Legon Ascension (Legon Series guilty Strange potentially incriminating cables are sent to Picuart He is arrested and brought up on a series of charges Emile Zola areat advocate of Dreyfus and Picuart is put on trial and convicted to a year in prison The truth proves to be such a dangerous thing to know Emile Zola was sentenced to prison for the zeal in which he called for Dreyfus to be released to prison for the zeal in which he called for Dreyfus to be released escaped to England one step ahead of men coming to arrest himPicuart when he discovers a mounting level of evidence that than pokes holes in the flimsy conviction of Dreyfus but actually completely destroys the case against Dreyfus his first thought is that all of it needed to be brought into the light of day and dealt with before the newspapers PMS get wind of the incongruities infesting the evidence against Dreyfus After all a secret never remains a secret There is little one can do especially in this time period when the power of an organization as formidable as the army decides to fabricate charges against a citizen backed by a population who wants to see a Jew convicted and wants to see Picuart broken for trying to defend a Jew Imprisoned Picuart feels a strange sense of relief The secrets are no longer just his secrets His needs are simple He merely needs to feed the mind If my enemies on the General Staff imagine that this represents some kind of hardship for me they are mistaken I have a bed and a chair pen and paper and plenty of books Goethe Heine Ibsen Proust kindly sends me his collected writings Les Plaisirs et les Jours my sister a new French Russian dictionary What does a man want I am imprisoned and liberated As a reader if I have access to books I m almost impossible to imprison Books allow me to be anywhere I want to be Gray damp walls may surround me iron bars mightrid my vision but my mind can always fly Picuart as a way to relax translates Fyodor Dostoyevsky into French I liked and respected Picuart but when I learned that nugget of in Who should read this book All who love spy novels All who love mysteries and thrillers All who are interested in the Dreyfus affair All who are interested in issues concerning anti Semitism All who enjoy GOOD historical fiction All who would enjoy a book set in Paris in the 1890s All interested in mile Zola or his essay J accuse All who want books that deliver historical facts in an engaging manner All who need a book that focuses on people that are willing to place themselves in danger for a cause they believe in Keep in mind that Georges Picuart was a real person and of course Dreyfus and Emile Zola and Picuart wanted justice to achieve justice he was willing to put himself in danger sacrifice his own career and even life How many people do that This book is an anti depressant when you are you are feeling down and outand for those of you who love audiobooks with excellent narration David Rintoul s reading is simply superb The icing on the cake You do not have to meet all the criteria above any one of the criteria above is "SUFFICIENT REASON TO CHOOSE THIS BOOK DO YOU HEAR " reason to choose this book Do you hear enthusiasm I absolutely loved this book I have a new hero Georges Picuart What an amazing man The topic of the book is interesting The author turns historical figures into people you feel empathy for The author presents historical facts and never are they dry He starts the book with a brief explanation of what is fact and what fiction He draws the feel of Paris in the 1890s And of course there are love affairs soir es the The Two of Swords gas lights and the ever present stench of the sewage rats and filth It is all here To top it all off David Rintoul speaks French as the French do the names the streets the buildings the suares Men AND women his intonations are perfect for both You have never heard his narrations That is another reason to choose this audiobook simply to hear the marvelous narration I loved this book and it restored my faith in theenre historical fiction which had been Sinfully Damaged (Master Mistress, going down the drain The ending is magnificent too sorry I keep thinking of things I must mentionAnd Georges Picuart I ADORE him What happened to Dreyfus is a must know but it should have been called the Dreyfus Picuart affair In 1898 the French newspaper L Aurore printed an open letter from writer Emile Zola Under the banner headline J accuse Zola accused theovernment of anti. They lied to protect their country He told the truth to save it A ripping historical thriller from the bestselling author of FATHERLANDJanuary 1895 On a freezing morning in the heart of Paris an army officer Georges Picuart witnesses a convicted spy Captain Alfred Dreyfus being publicly humiliated in front of twenty thousand spectators baying 'Death to the Jew'The officer is rewarded with promotion Picuart is made the French army's youngest colonel and put in command of 'the Statistical .
Robert Harris Ñ 7 DownloadTheir front pages the Journal indeed has almost nothing else Its report is illustrated by a series of crude sketches of Dreyfus being marched into the parade round of the plump little official in his cape reading out the judgment of the insignia being ripped from Dreyfus s uniform and of Dreyfus himself looking like a white haired old man at thirty five The headline is The Expiation We demanded for the traitor Dreyfus the supreme penalty We continue to believe that the only appropriate punishment is death It is as if all the loathing and recrimination bottled up since the defeat of 1870 has found an outlet in a single individual pp 21 22 This rendition of the Dreyfus affair recounts how one of those men who at first was as convinced of Dreyfus Ēna guilt as anyone became his preeminent backer and defender after discovering his innocence The book s main character the titular officer and spy is not Alfred Dreyfus but Georges Picuart who is both that defender and the narrator Picuart s character development as well as what will happen next constitutes a big part of the thrill in this historical fiction since after all the reader is likely to have some basic knowledge of the historyI didn t know though about the backdrop of the public as Greek chorus ravening for Dreyfus blood because of who he was the story with Dreyfus asuilty party perfectly meeting society s needsI didn t know how to think about the French army in those days either Today I heard an American military chief Taken By the Sheriff the Deputy Too! giving a news conference He was so careful at each turn to defer to the Secretary of Defense The French army in the last five years of the 19th century was like the Egyptian army the way we think of it today No doubt that s a clumsy analogy but the army was France The army couldn t have a traitor and if it did that traitor had to be someone who was not really French And once the traitor role had been assigned the needs of the army took precedence over any other truth So we see what it s like too up against power why everybody says he or she would have spoken out about the child abuser within the sports or religious monolith or any other wrong within a power structure and why mostly that doesn t happen You want my advice Well here s a story When my regiment was in Hanoi there was a lot of thieving in the barracks So one day my major and I we laid a trap and we caught the thief red handed It turned out he was the son of the colonel God knows why he needed to steal from the likes of us but he did it Now my major he was a bit like you a little bit of the idealistic type shall we say he wanted this man prosecuted The top brass disagreed Still he went ahead and brought the case anyway But at the court martial it was my major that was broken p 227 Once we think we have the solution to some puzzle or crime that s all we can see We have on blinders We are virtually blind to other possibilities Especially if part of what we can see has to do with how our bread is butteredI m currently in the midst of another book Plato at the Googleplex Why Philosophy Won t Go Away in which the current topic is morality Does politics dictate what the Kentucky Grandmothers good is That was certainly the overwhelmingly majority opinion in circa 1895 FranceThis book hasot me comparing and contrasting scapegoat versus salvific martyr Intermixed with the expiation of evil theme is Picuart s reference to Dreyfus degradation as his Calvary Later after Picuart has become convinced of Dreyfus innocence he is reflecting on the heaping on of abuse he reads of Dreyfus experiencing in his solitary confinement on Devil s Island I have seen what the chafing of leg irons can do to a prisoner s flesh cut it to the bone In the insect infested heat of the tropics the torment must be unendurable p 229 It seems that behind the judges in every court in which Dreyfus is tried is a painting of the crucifixion or the likeIs the difference between scapegoat and martyr dependent on the perspective of the viewer Is it okay for the needs of a society to trump truth and justice if the role of the martyr is as sacrificial lamb rather than scapegoat In that case do those needs dictate morality Does politics rule Or as my other author says was true for Plato is it the other way around does morality dictate what politics should beBefore I started reading I felt like avoiding this book I had recommendations for some actual histories rather than historical fiction But after reading a number of Goodreads reviews about those other possibilities I saw that those other books Were Heavy Historical Tomes heavy historical tomes it just wouldn t do to take on another one of those bogged down in several as I already am So An Officer and a Spy it was And I must say it was uite a read fast and enjoyable Thriller lovers will love it plus it s well written And as I say thought provoking too I m oing to say 4 12 stars and round up to 5For information here s Adam Gopnik writing in The New Yorker on Dreyfus from 2009 25 2014 This article taken The New Yorker on Dreyfus from 2009 25 2014 This article taken current events in eastern Ukraine so reflected the feeling from the degradation of Dreyfus as communicated by Robert Harris that I decided to include the linkSeptember 5 2014 An Officer and a Spy won the 2014 Walter Scott Prize a British literary award for historical fiction I see from the Wikipedia entry that Robert Harris also won for one of his previous booksMay 8 2015 The Spring 2015 issue of Jewish Review of Books contains three articles dealing with antisemitism in France because of current events the Charlie Hebdo killings and attacks on Jews there One of the articles is about this book An Officer and a Spy which recently has been released in paperback The other two articles aren t locked and I ll see about posting them later in appropriate spots Unfortunately this one is locked Here s the link but I don t think nonsubscribers can open it so I m oing to hit the high points if I can Also in the past I ve been able to make and email a pdf author Steven Englund says that post Charlie Hebdo etc people are looking to An Officer and a Spy for understanding of current day France which he says is unfortunate Also he says the ordinary understanding of the Dreyfus affair boils down to the targeting of a Jewish army officer by an antisemitic society He says it wasn t that simple and it wasn t so much religious as political He cites three factors The army and the republic were in a sort of reactionary state of bluster and reactionary nationalism after the military drubbing of 1870 The church state rivalry had been ramped up again with Catholics thrown into a defensive posture leading to rassroots antisemitism over the affair although not from the Catholic hierarchy itself And finally the Third Republic was too weak to deal directly with crises As a resultThe Affair became politicized then highly politicized as it became clear that all sides on the contentious French public scene could use it to do their old business destroying each other s reputationsEnglund denies that the Affair and obsession with it contorted all France He says Drumont was the sole major French antisemite with a bunch of adolescent and n er do well followers who have been mistakenly writ large by hisotry He says anti Jewish riots were small affairs that don t measure up to what we imagine He says their main success was in projecting the myth that the
Army s reputation was tied to that of a few criminal officers Eventually forthcoming disclosures and support empowered a cravens reputation was tied to that of a few criminal officers Eventually forthcoming disclosures and support empowered a craven weak overnment to act and presently the Affair endedThe preceding paragraph may not be too clear to me but the following is The Affair as we think of it was a later construction It didn t turn on the Jewish uestion but on the rights of the state raison d tat versus those of citizens civil rights It If the Magic Fits (100 Dresses, gave the much much antisemitic countries of Austria and Russia talking points against France France was democratic and eventually did the right thing but also had citizens who took polemical advantage of the freedom of expression there All the Christianity derived European countries of that time period where characterized by antisemitism with far less in the French Third RepublicI don t think Englund intends his article as an apology for antisemitism in France so if what you read here looks that way it could be me I think he wants to avoid an oversimplified rendition and would like toet that straight before piling further analysis on top of what s thereSteven Englund is the author of Napoleon A Political Life It is highly regarded particularly in France and Englund has a Wikipedia page in French but not in English He s currently working on a book that compares political antisemitism in Germany Austria Hungary and Franc. Pite official warnings Picuart persists and soon the officer and the spy are in the same predicamentNarrated by Picuart An Officer and a Spy is a compelling recreation of a scandal that became the most famous miscarriage of justice in history Compelling too are the echoes for our modern world an intelligence agency one rogue justice corrupted in the name of national security a newspaper witch hunt of a persecuted minority and the age old instinct of those in power to cover up their crimes. ,
Semitism and the unlawful jailing of French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus The letter caused a huge a uproar as Zola pointed out the serious errors in the case against Dreyfus who had been packed off to the notorious Devil s Island in French Guyana and a lack of serious evidence to back up the chargesThe Dreyfus Affair as it became known was a part of European history that had passed me by up to this point But in this dramatisation viewed through the eyes of Georges Picuart the head of a French clandestine intelligence unit Harris brings events surrounding this famous miscarriage of justice to life Dreyfus had been found uilty of passing secrets to the Germans but Picuart starts to believe there s something seriously wrong when he stumbles across another army officer who he believes is the real spy in the camp The dialogue is of course simply the authors way of bringing the story to the page but the events and the identity of the historical players are we are led to believe historically correct In fact the whole thing is broken down into what constitutes a forensic examination of all the key components It s comprehensive and it s compellingHarris really does this sort of thing so well I do like a bit of history and when it s served up in this style it really does make the consumption of a protracted and complicated event so much fun Excellent stuff I m off to seek out of his work I loved this audiobook One of the best historical fiction spy thrillers I ve read in a long timeHighly recommend5 out of 5 stars Before reading this book I d had a vague idea of a so called Dreyfuss affair After reading it I was full of respect for Dreyfuss who showed stamina during the trial and even for his ability to survive his isolation Robert Harris did a wonderful job 45 stars There are occasions when losing is a victory so long as there is a fight This is an excellent work of historical fiction based on a real life man of honor and duty French Army officer Georges Picuart and his determination to uncover the truth surrounding the arrest and conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in what is considered to be one of the reatest judicial debacles in history While France was still stunned by the victory of the Germans in the Franco Prussian war in 1870 hostilities distrust and anti Semitism were all heightened within the military and the people of the republic at the time this novel takes place the 1890s As a Jew an officer within the army and a man to be secretly envied due to his independent wealth Captain Dreyfus was an easy target to accuse of treason when French secret intelligence discovered a traitor in their midst Major Georges Picuart was not immune to the feelings of bitterness and prejudices at the time of Dreyfus s conviction Having personally witnessed Dreyfus s military degradation which was attended by citizens and servicemen alike Picuart was only too lad to put his former student out of his mind once and for all I had no desire to see the condemned man again Only two years earlier he had been a student of mine in this very building Now I had nothing to say to him I felt nothing for him I wished he had never been born and I wanted him When Digital Becomes Human gone from Paris from France from Europe Picuart evenets a promotion to Colonel following the degradation and conviction and is assigned to the position of commander of the Statistical Section the secret intelligence branch of the French Army Despite the fact that Picuart does not relish espionage something he considers dirty work he resigns himself to his new post and devotes himself to his new responsibilities When Picuart unearths a spy in their midst he will begin to meticulously probe into the details of the Dreyfus case himself When a series of mistakes and subseuent cover ups are revealed Picuart is forced to choose between his reputation and career or the pursuit of justice In this pursuit Picuart learns that he will not have the support of the army and he too will fall under suspicion as his loyalties to the army are tested The thing is I have no wish to destroy my career Twenty four years it has taken me to et this far Yet my career will be pointless to me will lose the very elements of honour and pride that make it worth havingAn Officer and a Spy is an extremely riveting account of the Dreyfus affair as it came to be known the people involved including those that will cover their tracks at all costs and those that will seek justice no matter the price and the eventual reveal of the entire truth as discovered by Picuart I was completely engaged in this book and "couldn t read fast enough once I reached the halfway mark Not that it was dull in the first half " t read fast enough once I reached the halfway mark Not that it was dull in the first half by any means We are just PROVIDED WITH THE BACKGROUND OF THE with the background of the and the details surrounding the trial before the action so to speak begins All of it was very interesting It is appalling to think of the punishment meted out to Dreyfus following his conviction that of solitary confinement at the penal colony on Devil s Island The lengths that even the highest ranking officers will follow to persecute a man and to protect their own reputations is shocking to say the least The anti Semitism depicted during this period seems a premonition of the evil times to come during the reign of Hitler and it shows just how such a horrendous event as the Holocaust could eventually come to fruition However you will find that there are those that will stand up and do the right thing For that we can be rateful as our faith in humanity can be restored thanks to individuals such as these I highly recommend this
Book To Those That Relishto those that relish historical fiction as well as those that enjoy spy thrillers and mysteries Incredible Just brilliantI would not hesitate to call An Officer and a Spy a masterpiece My love for history spies and conspiracies have without a doubt placed this book in my favorites shelf It was so De-cluttering Your Closet gripping and I was so engrossed that I lost track of time forgot that I d planned too for my jog and ended up emotional eating Like many people I am aware of the Dreyfus affair that took place in France in the late 19th century but my knowledge was mostly peripheral I knew that Alfred Dreyfus was a French soldier who was accused of spying on France for the Germans I was born and raised Jewish so it was also part of my heritage to recognize the persecuted Jews of the past Harris s novel awakened my understanding of the political and social climate of that period in history and informed me of how this colossal miscarriage of justice was authorized permitted concocted And the blatant antisemitism of the time sanctioned the demonization of DreyfusI am an avid novel reader and historical milestonese Robert Harris isn t an author I have read before but I decided to read this on the recommendation of a family member whose opinions I value I enjoyed it immensely Basically this is a fictionalized re telling of the course of the Dreyfus Affair from the perspective of Col Georges Picuart the intelligence officer who originally blew the case open I knew about the Dreyfus Affair in outline before reading this but I knew nothing of the detail As a result this read like a thriller novel to me and a real page turner at that Had it been just a thriller though I would have dismissed the plot as implausible The rabid anti Semitism of the French General Staff and the depths to which they were willing to sink to cover up their crimes would have seemed unbelievable had I not known this was basically a true story presented as fiction The fact the events portrayed really did happen to Dreyfus and Picuart meant that at times I found this uncomfortable to read such was the level of injustice they sufferedI suppose that in writing this the author s job was made easier by the fact that he did not have to invent a plot but I think the decision to base the story around Picuart was a De Brandende Brug (De Grijze Jager, good one since it allowed the novel to build around his investigation which initially was into a case he thought was unconnected and the fact the plot is based on real events does not detract from the uality of the writingBravo Picuart I heard the whip crack twice The driver shouted a command The wagon accelerated free of the mob turned left and disappearedAn instant later the order wasiven for the parade to march past The stamp of boots seemed to shake the Humanizing Big Data ground Bugles were blown Drums beat time As the band struck up Sambre et Meuse it started to snow I felt areat sense of release I believe we all did Spontaneously we turned to one another and shook hands It was as if a healthy body had purged itself of something foul and pestilential and now life could begin anew pp 12 13Both papers have the degradation on. Ection' the shadowy intelligence unit that tracked down DreyfusThe spy meanwhile is Bonds of Need (Wicked Play, given a punishment of medieval cruelty Dreyfus is shipped off to a lifetime of solitary confinement on Devil's Island unable to speak to anyone not even hisuards his case seems closed foreverBut radually Picuart comes to believe there is something rotten at the heart of the Statistical Section When he discovers another German spy operating on French soil his superiors are oddly reluctant to pursue it Des. ,