Reverse Discrimination

Phillip Knightley

  • The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln by Bernard Wasserstein
    Yale, 327 pp, £16.95, April 1988, ISBN 0 300 04076 8

At the beginning of this puzzling book the author, Bernard Wasserstein, Professor of History and Chairman of the History Department at Brandeis University, offers his excuses for writing it. It is, he says, the story of a man who left barely any footprints in political history and whose literary relics are without enduring value. As a further turn-off Professor Wasserstein confesses that his colleagues are unlikely to regard the life of Trebitsch Lincoln as a significant contribution to the advancement of historical understanding. In the afterword Wasserstein returns to this point. He says Lincoln left nothing of enduring value: and yet his story ‘seems somehow to mirror, albeit in a grotesque and distorted fashion, the unquiet spirit of the age.’

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