The Road to the Dreyfus Affair (Review)

Commentary 11 (February 1951): 201-03.

A review of Robert F. Byrnes, Anti-Semitism in Modern France.


Anti-Semitism is a deplorably neglected area of modern history, and every contribution that does more than simply add another title to the formidable library of apologetics, anti-Semitica, or superficial sociology is welcome. The general contempt in which the topic of anti-Semitism has been held by the historical sciences has led not only to stereotyped interpretations without basis in fact, but also—and this is more serious—to an ignorance of the events themselves. A great deal of spadework is still necessary and monographs, therefore, are especially welcome. They have the additional advantage of not demanding too much of the historian—only reasonably good professional training, sufficient for a reliable account of what happened in a given country during a limited period. The present volume sheds light on some episodes in French history that might otherwise have been forgotten or left unrecorded; it belongs in the category of badly needed research work.