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

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In late 1914, S. Ansky, the influential Jewish-Russian journalist and playwright, received a commission: to organize desperately needed relief for Jews who were caught between the warring armies of Russia, Germany, and the Austrian Empire. Thus began the extraordinary four-year journey meticulously documented here. In daily accounts, Ansky details his struggles to raise funds; to lobby and bribe at the tsar's court; to procure and transport goods to the towns 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. Speaking to maids and ministers, farmers and recruits, doctors and profiteers, he hears and sees it all, as the tsar's army disintegrates and revolution sweeps across the land. Never before available in English, The Enemy at His Pleasure offers a powerful and poignant view of a world at war, and a vital addition to our record of the past.