A Child of Christian Blood: Murder and Conspiracy in Tsarist Russia: The Beilis Blood Libel

Edmund Levin, Author
Edmund Levin. Schocken, $28.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4299-7
Reviewed on: 11/11/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
Open Ebook - 358 pages - 978-0-8052-4324-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-46556-4
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Good Morning America writer/producer Levin makes a century-old murder case come to life in a suspenseful true crime thriller that had broad implications at the time. The March 1911 discovery of the butchered corpse of 13-year-ol Andrei Yuschinsky in a cave near Kiev led, four months later, to the arrest of a brick factory clerk, Mendel Beilis, who was accused of committing the murder as part of a barbaric ritual in which the Christian victim’s blood was drained to be consumed by Jews. That the evidence against the defendant was nonexistent was no bar to his prosecution, even as witnesses provided compelling testimony pointing to more likely murderers. Although the 1913 trial—“surely one of the most bizarre ever tried in an ostensibly civilized society”—was an international cause célèbre, prompting the largest Jewish-Christian solidarity protests in the U.S. to that time, the story and its details remain obscure today. Levin’s stellar recreation of the personalities and events places them into the context of Russia during the last years of the tsar, and makes good use of records unavailable before the fall of the Soviet Union. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency. (Feb.)
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