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Richard I. Cohen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190912628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190912628.001.0001

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Pierre Birnbaum, Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist trans. Arthur Goldhammer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 218 pp.

Pierre Birnbaum, Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist trans. Arthur Goldhammer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 218 pp.

Chapter:
(p.282) Pierre Birnbaum, Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist trans. Arthur Goldhammer. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015. 218 pp.
Source:
Place in Modern Jewish Culture and Society
Author(s):
Richard I. Cohen
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190912628.003.0038

This chapter reviews the book Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist (2015), by Pierre Birnbaum. In Léon Blum, Birnbaum offers a biography of the twentieth-century French political leader Léon Blum, focusing on how Blum’s convictions and public policies were shaped by his essential “Jewishness.” According to Birnbaum, the first significant reflection of Blum’s core Jewish values was evident in his defense of Alfred Dreyfus, the French Jewish captain who was convicted in 1894 for allegedly giving military secrets to German authorities. Birnbaum also argues that Blum’s cultural background influenced his early adoption of socialist principles and his espousal of working-class reforms as prime minister during the Popular Front period of the 1930s. For Birnbaum, the most visible evidence of Blum’s commitment to his Jewish heritage was his support of a Jewish homeland.

Keywords:   Léon Blum, Pierre Birnbaum, Jewishness, Alfred Dreyfus, Popular Front

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