The Enemy at His Pleasure: A Journey Through the Jewish Pale of Settlement During World War I

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Finally available in English, the great Yiddish writer's account of a neglected time and place

In late 1914, S. Ansky, the influential Jewish-Russian journalist, playwright, and politician, received a commission: to organize desperately needed relief for Jews on the borderlands, who were caught between the warring armies of Russia, Germany, and the Austrian Empire. Thus began an extraordinary four-year journey meticulously documented by Ansky, a peerless witness of his time.

In daily accounts, Ansky details his struggles: to raise funds; to lobby and bribe at the tsar's court; to procure and transport food, medicine, and money to the ravaged Jewish towns, which, in the course of the war, were conquered and reconquered by Cossacks, Germans, Polish mercenaries, and Russian revolutionaries. Ansky depicts scenes of devastation-convoys of refugees, towns looted and burned to the ground, villagers taken hostage and raped, prey to all comers. Speaking to maids and ministers, farmers and recruits, doctors and profiteers, Ansky hears and sees it all, as the tsar's army disintegrates and the winds of revolution sweep across the land.

A wide-ranging view of a world at war, The Enemy at His Pleasure is at once powerful and poignant, a rare and invaluable addition to the historical record.

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THE ENEMY AT HIS PLEASURE: A Journey Through the Jewish Pale of Settlement During World War I

User Review  - Kirkus

Newcomer Ansky takes us on a harrowing tour of blood-soaked ground: the Russian-Polish borderlands during the worst years of WWI.Germans would behave infamously on the same soil a score of years later ... Read full review

The enemy at his pleasure: a journey through the Jewish pale of settlement during World War I

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Although the work of relief organizations, such as the U.S.-led Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to assist Jews caught in the Eastern European war zone is well known, less has come to light of ... Read full review

Selected pages


Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18

Section 9
Section 10

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About the author (2002)

S. Ansky (1863-1920), writer, politician, and folklorist, is best known for his classic play The Dybbuk and for his many ethnographic expeditions throughout the Pale of Settlement.

Joachim Neugroschel has published award-winning translations of works by Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Joseph Roth, and Hermann Hesse, among others.

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