Library of Congress

    The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, films and video, audio recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

    Congress moved to Washington, D.C. in 1800 after holding sessions for eleven years in temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. Also in 1800, as part of an act of Congress providing for the removal of the new national government from Philadelphia to Washington, President John Adams approved an act of Congress providing $5,000 for books for the use of Congress—the beginning of the Library of Congress.

    However, in 1814, the British burned Washington, destroying the Capitol and the small congressional library in its north wing. Former President Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his comprehensive personal library of 6,487 books to rebuild the Library of Congress. Congress accepted his offer in 1815. Jefferson’s concept of universality is the rationale for the comprehensive collecting policies of today’s Library of Congress.

    The Library of Congress is among Washington’s top attractions. Every Library of Congress visitor must reserve timed-entry pass. Passes are available here. It’s worth planning ahead as slots fill up.

    Sources: Library of Congress, Wikipedia

    London’s Wiener Holocaust Library Celebrates 90 Years of Service

    The Wiener Holocaust Library in London is celebrating its 90th birthday. It is the oldest continuously functioning archive documenting Nazi crimes.

    The Library has its origins in the work of Dr. Alfred Wiener (1885-1964). Dr. Wiener was a German Jew from Berlin who campaigned against Nazism during the 1920s and 30s and gathered evidence about antisemitism and the persecution of Jews in Germany.

    Dr. Wiener and his family fled Germany in 1933 and settled in Amsterdam. Later that year he set up the Jewish Central Information Office (JCIO) at the request of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Anglo-Jewish Association. This archive collected information about the Nazis, which formed the basis of campaigns to undermine their activities.

    Following Kristallnacht (the November Pogrom of 1938), Wiener prepared to bring his collection to the UK. It arrived the following summer and is believed to have opened on the day the Nazis invaded Poland. 

    During the war, staff gathered evidence to document and publicize reports of Nazi efforts to annihilate European Jewry, including an eyewitness account of Kristallnacht.

    Throughout the war, the JCIO served the British Government as it fought the Nazi regime. Increasingly the collection was referred to as ‘Dr Wiener’s Library’ and eventually this led to its renaming.

    Wiener’s recognition of the danger posed by the Nazis didn’t begin after Hitler came to power in 1933. Instead, he can justly lay claim to having been one of the first intellectuals to raise the alarm about the rise of antisemitism after World War I.

    Horrified by the surge in anti-Jewish right-wing nationalism that he encountered when he returned from the trenches to his homeland, in 1919 Wiener published a tract, “Prelude to Pogroms?”, in which he warned: “A mighty antisemitic storm has broken over us.” If left unchecked, Wiener predicted, this antisemitism would lead to “bestial murders and violence” and the “blood of citizens running on the pavements.” 

    The Times of Israel


    Daniel Lubetzky, CEO and Son of Holocaust Survivor

    Daniel Lubetzky, the CEO of KIND, is the son of a Holocaust survivor and a Mexican Jew. KIND makes popular fruit and nut bars. He was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States as a teenager. He’s also a Stanford-educated lawyer.

    Lubetzky’s father was liberated from the Dachau Concentration Camp. When Lubetzsky was just nine years old, his father started describing his experiences during the Holocaust. His father felt that if he lived through the Holocaust, his son could hear about it even at an early age.

    Lubetzky explains in his book entitled Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately:

    Being the son of a Holocaust survivor marks you and makes you acutely conscious of our human frailty. My burning com­mitment to build bridges stems from a survival instinct: to pre­vent what happened to my dad from happening again to other human beings. Part of the reason I exist today is that my grandfather and my father were always kind to people.

    KIND is privately owned and has nearly five hundred employees.

    Portrait Of: The Founder and CEO of KIND - Latino USA

    Remembering Pittsburgh’s Concordia Club

    The Concordia Club was a part of Jewish life in Pittsburgh from the late 19th century until 2009.

    Foundation on Pittsburgh’s North Side

    In 1874, a group of approximately forty Jewish men, primarily of German origin, met to organize an association, whose purpose, according to its charter, was “to promote social and literary entertainment among its members.” The first president of the Concordia Club was Josiah Cohen, a prominent teacher, lawyer, and judge. Jacob Eiseman was president in 1884, when the club was chartered. The majority of the Club’s early members and almost all of its early officers were members of Rodef Shalom Congregation.

    Establishments such as the Concordia Club sprang up across the United States at a time when Jews were typically denied membership in prominent social and business clubs. Such discrimination was common in most major cities in the United States, including Pittsburgh. The Duquesne Club, in downtown Pittsburgh, did not begin to admit Jews until 1968. The Concordia Club was sometimes called the “Jewish Duquesne Club.”

    The Concordia Club’s first location was a rented home on Stockton Avenue in Allegheny City, now the North Side neighborhood of Pittsburgh. At that time more than 95 per cent of the Club’s membership lived in Allegheny City. By the late 1870s the club had grown sufficiently to need a dance hall, which was created through renovation of the original structure. The Stockton Avenue clubhouse property was purchased by the club in 1890 but a new building was later erected on the same Stockton Avenue site, at a cost of approximately $75,000. At that time, the club had 175 members.

    Move to Oakland

    During the next 20 years, the Concordia Club became a significant social institution for the Jewish community, even as the community’s demographic center was shifting from Allegheny City to Pittsburgh’s East End communities, particularly Squirrel Hill. By 1913, when the Concordia Club moved to its new location on O’Hara Street in the Schenley Farms district of Oakland, more than 95 per cent of its members lived in Squirrel Hill. The new clubhouse was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1913, with a gala banquet. The building contained a banquet hall, ballroom, library, lounges, sleeping quarters, billiard rooms, and bowling alleys.

    When the Concordia Club moved into its building on O’Hara Street in 1913, it was described as one of city’s most opulent with notably elegant china, crystal and linens along with profuse flower arrangements. A 1915 article in the Jewish Criterion commented that the new club was “entirely complete with billiard rooms, banquet hall, rest and lounging parlors, reading quarters and sleeping accommodations.” Later the club would add to its interior by installing elaborate dark-stained oak paneling rescued from the Fort Pitt Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh when the hotel was demolished in 1967.

    The Club over the years staged elaborate themed dances, vaudeville performances, musical stage revues, amateur theatrical productions and holiday parties. Private social functions of all sorts were held in the clubhouse, which continued to be a gathering place for Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. At its peak, the club had nearly 300 members.

    Sale to Pitt and Renovation

    After 135 years, the Concordia Club voted to sell the historic building to the University of Pittsburgh due to declining membership and financial shortages. It closed its doors on December 14, 2009.

    Pitt undertook $5.8 million in upgrades, preservation, and renovations that were completed in April, 2011 and provided almost 35,000 square feet (3,300 m2) of space in order to help alleviate shortages in student group event, meeting, and office space at the William Pitt Union.

    Upgrades included tearing out walls, updating the heating and cooling systems, replacing the roof, and upgrading the lighting. The first floor contains the oak paneled space for studying or socializing as well as a dining room that can double as a meeting room. A staircase, with original wood railings, leads to a second floor contains a 450-person capacity, sound system-equipped ball room – shown above – that includes an open balcony, arched windows, and a small stage. From a previous renovation more than 50 years ago, the ballroom contains three chandeliers, one larger than the others, and a number of sconces. Renovations to the ballroom included restoring access to the balcony, applying gold leaf trim to the wall panels, and a restoration of the chandeliers, including replacement of the light bulbs with LEDs, by the original lighting fabricator located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

    The basement of the Student Center is used as a storage area for student groups. The facility also houses the Math Assistance Center, the Freshman Studies Program, and the student Writing Center.

    Pitt’s renovation of the Concordia Club was very respectful of the Club’s history. The University preserved the Club’s gorgeous oak paneling and its elegant ballroom which continue to be enjoyed by the Pitt community, which now dominates the Oakland section of Pittsburgh.


    See also, Abram Enzel (1916-1994)

    'Seven Ages of Paris' by Alistair Horne

    Reading: Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne 📚 I’m listening this in the form of an audiobook. It’s a detailed and fascinating history of Paris, ably narrated by Derek Perkins. Gregg Rutter recommended the book and I’m glad he did.

    The High Cost of WWII

    The Second World War lasted for 2,174 days, cost $1.5 trillion and claimed the lives of over 50 million people. That represents 23,000 lives lost every day, or more than fifteen people killed every minute, for six long years.

    Roberts, Andrew. The Storm of War (p. 579). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition.

    We Must Not Forget the Lessons of the Holocaust

    Christopher J. Dodd served in the United States Senate from 1981 to 2011. His father, Thomas J. Dodd (1959 - 1971) also served in the United States Senate. Earlier in his career, Thomas Dodd served as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials. He held the number two position on prosecutorial team which was led by Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892 - 1954).1

    In a letter to the editor of The New York Times former Senator Dodd marks the 75th anniversary of The Nuremberg War Crimes trials and explains that the “lessons of Nuremberg must be continually relearned and that the work of protecting dignity and promoting justice are the responsibility of each generation.”

    He adds that at this moment, human rights, “the rule of law and even truth itself are threatened by continuing violence, resurgent authoritarianism, racism and anti-Semitism, and rampant conspiracy theories, propaganda and disinformation.”

    Dodd reminds us that we have not yet learned the lessons of the Holocaust and that we ignore these lessons at our peril.

    1. Imagine a sitting Justice of the United States Supreme Court traveling to Germany to serve as a criminal prosecutor. ↩︎

    Audrey Hepburn's Poignant Reaction to Anne Frank's Diary

    Audrey Hepburn describing her reaction to reading the Anne Frank’s diary in 1946:

    I was exactly the same age as Anne Frank. We were both 10 when war broke out and 15 when the war finished. I was given the book in Dutch, in galley form, in 1946 by a friend. I read it—and it destroyed me. It does this to many people when they first read it. But I was not reading it as a book, as printed pages. This was my life. I didn’t know what I was going to read. I’ve never been the same again, it affected me so deeply. We saw reprisals. We saw young men put up against the wall and shot, and they’d close the street and then open it, and you could pass by again. If you read the diary, I’ve marked one place where she says, ‘Five hostages shot today.’ That was the day my uncle was shot. And in this child’s words I was reading about what was inside me and is still there. It was a catharsis for me. This child who was locked up in four walls had written a full report of everything I’d experienced and felt.

    George Will: Holocaust Museum Showcases Lessons for Today

    George Will writing in The Washington Post on the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington:

    Nothing — nothing — is unthinkable, and political institutions by themselves provide no permanent safety from barbarism, which permanently lurks beneath civilization’s thin, brittle crust.

    This is why the Holocaust is the dark sun into which this democracy should peer.

    Audiobook: ‘Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations’

    Retired Admiral William H. McRaven was involved in high profile special operations missions, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. 

    Admiral McRaven narrates his audiobook entitled Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations skillfully. I felt as though I was sitting in my living room hearing a brave, articulate person telling a story. His tales made me feel proud to be an American.

    You can get a sense of the author in this podcast.

    Audiobook: ‘The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light’

    The Liberation of Paris is a gripping book that is packed full of interesting details about Nazi-occupied Paris and its last commander Dietrich von Choltitz.

    At the end of WWII, Adolf Hitler ordered Choltitz to hold Paris, but if that wasn’t possible, to destroy it. Although General Choltitz had been very loyal to Hitler, he could not bring himself to obliterate the City of Light. He ultimately surrendered Paris to French forces on August 25, 1944. He’s been called the “Saviour of Paris” for preventing the destruction Paris.

    After his surrender, Choltitz was held for the remainder of the war in London and the United States and was ultimately released from captivity in 1947. He died in Baden-Baden in 1966.

    The author of this exceptional book was the distinguished political scientist and biographer Jean Edward Smith. Smith’s work includes highly regarded biographies of Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. He died on September 1, 2019 at the age of 86.

    The audiobook is ably narrated by Fred Sanders, who has narrated many fine audiobooks including Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance.

    Book: ‘The Diaries of Friedrich Kellner’

    I recently read the second and final volume of the biography of Adolf Hitler by German historian Volker Ullrich. It is entitled Hitler: Downfall: 1939-1945. Roger Abrams, writing in the New York Journal of Books, calls Ullrich’s work “a remarkable treatise on the malevolence of power in modern times.”

    Early in the volume, Ullrich commends the diaries of Friedrich Kellner. Kellner was a court official in the western German town of Laubach who had no special access to wartime information. Kellner was repulsed by the Nazi regime and kept detailed diaries based on what he read in the German press and by talking to people. He hoped his diaries would be a warning to future generations about blind faith.

    Ullrich explains that Kellner’s diaries:

    show that it was entirely possible for normal people in small-town Germany to see through the lies of Nazi propaganda and learn of things like the ‘euthanasia’ murders of patients in psychiatric institutions and the mass executions carried out in occupied parts of eastern Europe."1

    The Kellner diaries were published in 2011 in German and now are available in English. The diaries are also the subject of a touching

    2007 TV documentary on YouTube created by Kellner’s American grandson.

    1. Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 6). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. ↩︎

    Ian Kershaw: Hitler Biographer

    Sir Ian Kershaw is an English historian whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th-century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world’s leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is particularly noted for his biographies of Hitler.

    I am sharing here two quotations from one of Kershaw’s books about Hitler:

    The first argues that Hitler’s rise to dictatorship might not have happened. This shows the importance of constant vigilance.

    There was no inevitability about Hitler’s accession to power. Had Hindenburg been prepared to grant to Schleicher1 the dissolution that he had so readily allowed Papen2, and to prorogue the Reichstag for a period beyond the constitutional sixty days, a Hitler Chancellorship might have been avoided. With the corner turning of the economic Depression, and with the Nazi Movement facing potential break-up if power were not soon attained, the future – even if under an authoritarian government – would have been very different. Even as the cabinet argued outside Hindenburg’s door at eleven o’clock on 30 January, keeping the President waiting, there was a possibility that a Hitler Chancellorship might not materialize. Hitler’s rise from humble beginnings to ‘seize’ power by ‘triumph of the will’ was the stuff of Nazi legend. In fact, political miscalculation by those with regular access to the corridors of power rather than any actions on the part of the Nazi leader played a larger role in placing him in the Chancellor’s seat.

    Kershaw, Ian. Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (p. 424). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

    The second quotation is about the opening of the Dachau Concentration Camp. Dachau is a small town just outside Munich. Kershaw explains that ordinary Germans knew of the camp’s existence. There was even a press conference about the camp’s opening and people feared being sent there. In other words, ordinary Germans knew no matter what some said after the war. Dachau is small. It is impossible to believe that town folk did not know what the camp was about.

    Just outside the town of Dachau, about twelve miles from Munich, the first concentration camp was set up in a former powder-mill on 22 March3 . There was no secret about the camp’s existence. Himmler had even held a press conference two days earlier to announce it. It began with 200 prisoners. Its capacity was given as 5,000. It was intended, stated Himmler, to hold the Communist and, if necessary, Reichsbanner and Marxist (i.e. Social Democrat) functionaries. Its establishment was announced in the newspapers. It was meant to serve as a deterrent, and did so. Its dreaded name soon became a byword for the largely unspoken horrifying events known or presumed to take place within its walls. ‘Keep quiet or you’ll end up in Dachau’ was soon to join common parlance. But apart from the political enemies and racial targets of the Nazis, few were disconcerted at the foundation of the camp, and others like it. The middle-class townsfolk of Dachau, watching the column of their Communist fellow-citizens from the town being marched to the nearby camp as political prisoners, thought them troublemakers, revolutionaries, ‘a class apart’, simply not part of their world.

    Kershaw, Ian. Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (p. 464). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition (footnotes omitted).

    Kershaw’s two-volume biography of Hitler is superb:

    Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris: 1889-1936: Hubris

    Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis

    1. Kurt von Schleicher was a German general and the last chancellor of Germany (before Adolf Hitler) during the Weimar Republic. A rival for power with Hitler, Schleicher was murdered by Hitler’s SS during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934. ↩︎

    2. Franz von Papen was a German conservative politician, diplomat, Prussian nobleman and General Staff officer. He served as the chancellor of Germany in 1932, and then as the vice-chancellor under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1934. ↩︎

    3. Dachau opened on March 22, 1933. ↩︎

    Books: Volker Ullrich’s Two-Volume Biography of Hitler

    Volker Ullrich, a German historian, is the author an excellent two-volume biography of Hitler in German. Jefferson Chase translated both volumes into English.

    The first volume Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 (German: Adolf Hitler: Die Jahre des Aufstiegs 1889-1939), published in German in 2013, was published in English in 2016 and covers up to 1939.

    The second volume Hitler Vol II: Downfall 1939-45 (German: Adolf Hitler: Die Jahre des Untergangs 1939-1945) was published in English in 2020 and covers the remainder of his biography.

    The book became a bestseller in Germany upon its publication.

    I am sharing here three quotations showing:

    • The establishment of the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich was well-known as was its sinister purpose;
    • Hitler had broad support in German society at the time in support of his aims; and
    • Without Hitler, there would have been no Holocaust.

    In other words, one person can make a big difference, in this case to the world’s detriment.

    Reviewing the second volume of Ullrich’s biography of Hitler, Jennifer Szalai, a New York Times book critic said that “the narrative moves swiftly, and it will absorb even those who are familiar with the vast library of Hitler books.” I agree.

    At a press conference in Munich on 20 March [1933], Heinrich Himmler announced the establishment of a concentration camp in a former munitions factory near the small city of Dachau. Initially, as a state facility, Dachau was guarded by Bavarian police, but on 11 April the SS assumed command. The Dachau camp became the first cell from which a national system of terror germinated. It was a kind of laboratory, under the direction of the SS, where experiments could be carried out with the forms of violence that would soon be used in the other concentration camps within the Reich. The German media reported extensively about Dachau, and the stories that were told about what went on there acted as a powerful deterrent to opposition to the Nazis. “Dear God, strike me numb / Lest to Dachau I do come” was an oft-repeated saying in the Third Reich.

    Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, Location 9939. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    The second volume of this biography covers Hitler’s “years of downfall.” It encompasses the relatively brief period from his unleashing of the Second World War in the summer of 1939 to his suicide in the air-raid bunker of the Reich Chancellery in the spring of 1945. It has been said, correctly, that Hitler and National Socialism “found themselves” in the war. As a magnifying glass does with sunlight, armed conflict focused the criminal dynamics of the Nazi regime and the man at its head. War gave Hitler the opportunity to act on his ideological obsessions and realise his homicidal aims: the conquering of “living space in the east” as a basis for German domination of first Europe, then the world; and the removal of Jews from Germany and, if possible, the whole European continent. On the other hand, as we will see, Hitler would never have been able to realise these goals as much as he did without willing helpers in almost all the institutions of the Nazi state and broad parts of German society.

    Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 1). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition (footnote omitted).

    Without Hitler, this much is certain, there would have been no Holocaust. His fanatical anti-Semitism was the engine driving genocide. While it may have been difficult to tell sometimes when Hitler was play-acting, the Führer was always deadly serious when he vented his maniacal hatred of Jews.

    Ullrich, Volker. Hitler: Downfall (p. 611). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    Vintage Images of Washington

    I recently discovered the Streets of Washington blog and Flickr feed where you can find many vintage and hard to find images from postcards and other ephemera about historic places in the Washington, D.C. area. It is fascinating to see how the nation’s capital has evolved.

    The author, John DeFerrari, is a native Washingtonian with a lifelong passion for local history. He is also a trustee of the D.C. Preservation League.

    This is clearly a labor of love. These images are absolutely worth perusing and preserving.

    Hitler’s Last Direct Order

    The last direct order to be personally signed by Hitler in the bunker was transmitted to Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner at 04.50 on 24 April [1945] . Now in private hands, the original reads:

    “I shall remain in Berlin, so as to play a part, in honourable fashion, in the decisive battle for Germany, and to set a good example to all the rest. I believe that in this way I shall be rendering Germany the best service. For the rest, every effort must be made to win the struggle for Berlin. You can therefore help decisively, by pushing northwards as early as possible.

    With kind regards, Yours, Adolf Hitler”

    The signature, in red pencil, looks remarkably normal, considering the circumstances.

    Roberts, Andrew. The Storm of War (p. 553). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition (footnote omitted).

    Dutch Holocaust Survivors Spied on as a ‘Danger to Democracy’

    Dutch News:

    Dutch Jews who survived the death camps and returned to the Netherlands were for years monitored by the Dutch secret service because they were considered to be extremists and a danger to democracy, the Parool …

    The revelations are based on documentation in the archives of the BVD, the precursor of the current AIVD security service, which the paper had access to via the National Archives.

    Many Holocaust survivors were spied on until the 1980s, with the BVD reporting on memorial services and taking notes on who was in attendance, the paper said.

    The Nederlands Auschwitz Comité, founded in 1956 by survivors, was also considered to be an extremist organisation and monitored, the paper said. The BVD even had a mole within the organisation who reported back on everything that happened.

    The article explains that only 35,000 of the country’s Jewish population of 140,000 survived the war. In addition, 102,000 of the 107,000 Jews who were deported were killed.

    Switzerland and Dachau

    Germany’s National Socialist (Nazi) government and Switzerland had substantial ties. Switzerland’s contribution to the construction of the Dachau concentration camp near Munich is not well known.

    Before WWII, Extroc, SA, a Swiss state-subsidized timber company built the Dachau concentration camp, under a contract for 13 million Swiss francs. The contract was negotiated by Colonel Henri Guisan, the son of the later Swiss Commander-in-Chief Henri Guisan (1874–1960) and a Swiss national hero. The Swiss Colonel was in turn connected to Hans Wilhelm Eggen, an SS captain who bought timber in Switzerland for the Waffen SS. This was the wood used to construct Dachau. Dachau was the first regular concentration camp established by the Nazi government.1

    According to a now declassified CIA report, Eggen often went to “Switzerland under cover of a delivery agent for wooden barracks.” Eggen was a friend of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS. In Nazi Germany, the SS controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system.

    See, Roberts, Andrew, The Storm of War (p. 113). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition; Goñi, Uki, The Real Odessa: How Perón Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina (p. 170). Granta Books. Kindle Edition.

    1. My father was liberated from Dachau by the US Army. ↩︎

    On the Importance of Ukraine in 1991

    With roughly 52 million inhabitants at the time, Ukraine was, in population terms, both the second-largest Soviet republic and the size of a major European state; the British and French populations were 57 and 58 million, respectively. 135 Ukraine’s history as an East Slavic and predominantly Orthodox state had long been deeply intertwined with Russia’s. There were millions of ethnic Russians living among, and married to, Ukrainians. If Ukraine decided in its referendum of December 1, 1991 to become fully independent, it would at once commence a painful economic and political divorce from its fellow Slavs and also become a greater nuclear power than either Britain or France. Ukraine’s choices would clearly have such far-reaching effects. From Moscow, [U.S.] Ambassador [Robert S.] Strauss advised Washington that “the most revolutionary event of 1991 for Russia may not be the collapse of Communism, but the loss of something Russians of all political stripes think of as part of their own body politic, and near to the heart at that: Ukraine.”

    Sarotte, M. E.. Not One Inch (The Henry L. Stimson Lectures Series) (pp. 126-127). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition (footnotes omitted).

    Audiobook: Recounting the Dreyfus Affair

    Before listening to An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris, I knew only the broad outline of the Dreyfus Affair, a political scandal that divided France from from 1894 until 1906. The twists and turns during this 12-year period are amazing and exciting. It is sometimes hard to believe this all really happened. Émile Zola’s 1898 open letter to the President of France accusing the French government of antisemitism was bold and courageous.

    This is historical fiction but Robert Harris’s writing is based upon through research. The book has a lot of detail which added to my enjoyment. As a result of this detail, I felt as though I was actually in France.

    I enjoyed learning about an important chapter of French history filled with intrigue. The ending is amazing and left me wanting more, despite the length of the audiobook — a little over 16 hours.

    The audiobook is narrated by David Rintoul, an accomplished Scottish actor. His intonation and pronunciation are exceptional and added greatly to my enjoyment of the audiobook.