The Man on Devil's Island

The Man on Devil's Island: Alfred Dreyfus and the Affair That Divided France - Ruth Harris

"The campaign for Dreyfus's final exoneration gathered pace in 1903 because it became linked to a partisan and bitter crusade against religious congregations, and not because there was a groundswell of support for his case. And even this campaign succeeded only because the Cour de cassation, the high court, used an obscure prerogative to take the case away from the system of military justice, which did not admit its error. The end of the Affair produced no clear conclusion and no real justice, merely a political truce."


The Dreyfus Affair is a fascinating and complicated subject, and this book does the story justice by approaching the events leading up to Dreyfus' conviction, imprisonment, and final release from a lot of different angles. 


It's not the most entertaining read - and some parts are quite dry and academic - but it is quite a satisfying read - because Harris does not leave many stones unturned and as a result I have gained a much better understanding of fin de siecle France.