Maurice Samuels: The Betrayal of the Duchess
The Scandal That Unmade the Bourbon Monarchy and Made France Modern
The year was 1832 and the French royal family was in exile, driven out by yet another revolution. From a drafty Scottish castle, the duchesse de Berry – the mother of the 11-year-old heir to the throne – hatched a plot to restore the Bourbon dynasty. For months, she commanded a guerilla army and evaded capture by disguising herself as a man. But soon she was betrayed by her trusted advisor, Simon Deutz, the son of France’s Chief Rabbi. The betrayal became a cause célèbre for Bourbon loyalists and ignited a firestorm of hate against France’s Jews. By blaming an entire people for the actions of a single man, the duchess’s supporters set the terms for the century of antisemitism that followed. Brimming with intrigue and lush detail, The Betrayal of the Duchess is the riveting story of a high-spirited woman, the charming but volatile young man who double-crossed her, and the birth of one of the modern world’s most deadly forms of hatred.
Maurice Samuels is the Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French at Yale University, chair of the program in Judaic studies, and founder and director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism. He is the author of three books, including The Spectacular Past and Inventing the Israelite. Prior to teaching at Yale, he was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania after completing his Ph.D. at Harvard.