The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France

Ethan B. Katz. Harvard Univ., $35 (420p) ISBN 978-0-674-08868-9
Katz, an assistant professor of history at the University of Cincinnati, traces the interaction of French Jews and Muslims from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia from WWI to the present. He focuses on their different patterns of contact in Strasbourg, Paris, and Marseille, revealing how their relationship has really been a "triangular affair, with France as the third party." Early in this period, Katz shows that the French elites favored the generally better-educated Jews, who were seen as more ready to participate in France's "civilizing mission." With anti-Semitism widespread during the 1930s, the relationship shifted, and under the Vichy regime (1940–4) the situation was reversed. Beginning in 1948, the Arab-Israeli conflict impinged on the relationship, as did the 1954–62 French-Algerian war. Katz notes that only recently have Jews and Muslims become delineated categories in France, and that today Muslims are more often seen as France's "defining Other." There is a great deal of interesting anecdotal material, though the book lacks adequate sociological and historical data. Katz's prose can be ponderous, and he is prone to using idiosyncratic terminology. Still, this is generally a detailed, informative, and often colorful look at the ever-changing relationship between France's predominant non-Christian immigrant minorities. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/16/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-674-98410-3
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