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A State Jew

David A. Bell: Léon Blum, 5 November 2015

Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist 
by Pierre Birnbaum, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Yale, 218 pp., £14.99, July 2015, 978 0 300 18980 3
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... France, spectacular anti-Semitic violence coexisted with remarkable successes for French Jewry. As Pierre Birnbaum writes in the introduction to his new book, part of a series called ‘Jewish Lives’, France ‘is virtually the only country in the world, apart from Israel, that has several times chosen as its leader a Jew openly proclaiming his ...

Family Stories

Patrice Higonnet, 4 August 1994

The Past in French History 
by Robert Gildea.
Yale, 416 pp., £30, February 1994, 0 300 05799 7
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La Gauche survivra-t-elle aux socialistes? 
by Jean-Marie Colombani.
Flammarion, 213 pp., frs 105, March 1994, 2 08 066953 2
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... traditions in excellent detail, for example; but he does not have much to say about the Jews, whom Pierre Birnbaum recently described as ‘Les fous de la République’. One would like to know more also about the para-political myths of rural and urban life (George Sand and Flaubert) or the Walter Benjamin myth of Paris as the capital of the 19th ...


Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 3 November 1983

Léon Blum 
by Jean Lacouture, translated by George Holoch.
Holmes & Meier, 571 pp., $39.50, October 1982, 0 8419 0775 7
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... socialism. He also attempted (something which is greatly to his credit) to save the life of Pierre Laval, about whose execution de Gaulle was to show fewer scruples. In 1947 he served a final term as leader of the provisional government. Visiting the United States, he confirmed his deep-seated affection for Britain and America. He died in 1950 and ...

Mon cher Monsieur

Julian Barnes: Prove your Frenchness, 22 April 2021

Letters to Camondo 
by Edmund de Waal.
Chatto, 182 pp., £14.99, April, 978 1 78474 431 1
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The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France 
by James McAuley.
Yale, 301 pp., £25, March, 978 0 300 23337 7
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... was much civic advancement for Jews, in administration, politics and the military. The historian Pierre Birnbaum has calculated that there were 25 Jewish generals, 34 Jewish judges and 42 Jewish prefects in the period to 1945. De Waal quotes Philo of Alexandria to the effect that Jews considered their ‘real fatherland’ to be the country they ...


Hal Foster: Curation, 4 June 2015

Ways of Curating 
by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Penguin, 192 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 241 95096 8
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Curationism: How Curating Took Over the Art World – And Everything Else 
by David Balzer.
Pluto, 140 pp., £8.99, April 2015, 978 0 7453 3597 1
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... aesthetics’, Nicolas Bourriaud, head of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and Daniel Birnbaum, director of the Moderna Museet, he is devoted to ‘time-based’ art, especially performances and installations staged by artists of his generation like Rirkrit Tiravanija, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno and ...

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