Synopses & Reviews
In 1900, in a small Prussian town, a young boy was found murdered, his body dismembered, the blood drained from his limbs. The Christians of the town quickly rose up in violent riots to accuse the Jews of ritual murder--the infamous blood-libel charge that has haunted Jews for centuries. In an absorbing narrative, Helmut Walser Smith reconstructs the murder and the ensuing storm of anti-Semitism that engulfed this otherwise peaceful town. Offering an instructive examination of hatred, bigotry, and mass hysteria, is a modern parable that will be a classic for years to come. Winner of the Fraenkel Award. A Best Book of 2002.
"[B]rilliantly brings this collective madness to life...a lucid exemplar of social and cultural history at its best." Peter Gay
"An illuminating microhistory of a chilling event: a gruesome murder in a small German town." Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University
"An extremely significant study that will have a very big impact." Cynthia Ozick
"Smith's crisp writing, his analytical mind and his skill as a storyteller make his book as absorbing as a mystery novel...a stimulating, thoughtfully argued, informative and eye-opening book...[that] combine[s] sound research with pellucid prose and a spellbinding story." Merle Rubin
Masterful...a powerful volume. --Publishers Weekly
"Chilling...reads like a thrilling true-crime story." The Forward
"Masterful...a powerful volume." Publishers Weekly
One of the most dramatic explorations of a German town in the grip of anti-Semitic passion ever written.
About the Author
Helmut Walser Smith is an associate professor of German history at Vanderbilt University.