To Live Out Loud,
a book that will catch the attention of readers fascinated by history and controversial decisions and events.
An innocent Jewish military officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was unjustly sentenced to life imprisonment on a desolate island. The news that could exonerate him was leaked to the press, but was suppressed by the military. Anyone who sought to reopen the Dreyfus court-martial became victimized and persecuted and was considered an enemy of the state.
Emile Zola, a popular journalist determined to bring the truth to light, undertook the challenge to publicly expose the facts surrounding the military cover-up. This is the story of Zola's battle to help Alfred Dreyfus reclaim his freedom and clear his name. Up against anti-Semitism, military resistance, and opposition from the Church in France, Zola committed his life to fighting for justice. But was it worth all the costs to him, to those around him, and to France?
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A story that will stay with me forever, To Live Out Loud was a touching, terrifying book at times. So well written. Terrifying as it makes me realize, once again, that mankind has learned nothing from history and mistakes are repeated over and over again. I’m sad to see prejudice and narrow mindedness, the main themes of Mrs. Mahurin’s novel are so valid in our modern times, and so called ”democratic” countries. The principle of the freedom of the individual subordinated to that of national security is tackled in a masterful way in the story.
Told in the first person by Charles Mandonette, lifelong friend of Emile Zola, the novel presents in a fictionalized form the great scandal that divided the French society during the Third Republic, because of the fixation in the minds of French nationalists that there was a conspiracy to destroy France’s Catholic identity. The most easily identifiable enemies were the Jews, because many were rich and their talents had led to a disproportionate presence in the judiciary, the civil service, the press and even the army.
To Live Out Loud is a message novel, hatred or judgmental attitude highlighted in the smooth flowing story. Documents of that time are interspersed with fiction which makes the book a very special one. I read Zola’s books but I must confess my ignorance on this aspect of his great character – his courage and determination, his belief that truth must be defended no matter the consequences, and his dedication in fighting against injustice and prejudice. Even if defending the truth may jeopardize his own reputation and name.
The pace and quality of the writing kept me anxiously flipping pages to see what would happen to Dreyfus and Zola. I wasn’t familiar with this critical event in the history of France so To Live Out Loud was a captivating view on the events.