The Enemy at His Pleasure by S. Ansky
A Journey Through the Jewish Pale of Settlement During World War I

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Synopsis

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.
 

About S. Ansky

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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.
 
Published November 6, 2002 by Metropolitan Books. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Fueled by rumors that the region’s Jews were providing food and information to the Kaiser’s armies, and whipped up by Polish nationalists who declared, “We don’t need our independence if the Jews stay in our country,” the tsar’s forces expelled more than half a million Jews from the territory und...

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Publishers Weekly

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Ansky, a journalist and playwright best known as the author of The Dybbuk, and a socialist revolutionary turned Yiddishist, was engaged in a one-man campaign to bring food, money and medical relief to Jewish communities on the front lines and often under siege from both Russian and German troops.

Feb 24 2003 | Read Full Review of The Enemy at His Pleasure: A ...

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