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Out of seemingly small events are sometimes born great historical moments. The case of young Edgardo Mortara is one. In 1858 the 6-year-old Jewish boy was taken from his parents' home in Bologna, Italy, by agents of the Papal inquisition. The year before, seriously ill, Edgardo had been secretly baptized, by the Mortaras' Catholic servant (or so she claimed); it was against the law for baptized Christians to be raised by Jews, and so, in the eyes of the Church, the kidnapping was only just. Secular Italians did not agree, and thus was set in motion a series of reforms that ended the Church's temporal power in Italy and forged the creation of a liberal, near-democratic state. For his part, young Edgardo became a priest and lived in a Belgian abbey until 1940--just before the invading Germans began to deport and execute all those tainted with Jewish blood. David Kertzer has shaped a remarkable narrative from almost forgotten events.--This text refers to theHardcoveredition.
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ISBN-10:  0679768173
ISBN-13:  978-0679768173
Author:  David I. Kertzer
Genre:  Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality
Publisher:  Vintage
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review by . May 06, 2013
A scholarly investigation into a Catholic-Jewish
In reading The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by David Kertzer, readers might find it difficult to not shake their heads in utter disbelief, for it elicited that reaction in me. Nominated for the National Book Award, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara tells the compelling if not disturbing true story of Catholic zealotry gone terribly awry.      On a June evening in 1858, six-year-old Edgardo Mortara and the rest of his Jewish family were at home living their lives and minding …
review by . August 09, 2010
In reading The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by David Kertzer, readers might find it difficult to not shake their heads in utter disbelief, for it elicited that reaction in me. Nominated for the National Book Award, The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara tells the compelling if not disturbing true story of Catholic zealotry gone terribly awry.    On a June evening in 1858, six-year-old Edgardo Mortara and the rest of his Jewish family were at home living their lives and minding their …
review by . September 10, 2007
Douglas Wood has already summarized and evaluated this book, justly praising its historical worth. I'd like to add a note about its shock value; in a moment of history when anti-semitism seems to be a joke in some people's minds, surely this is a book that might make the pain and folly of bigotry "real" in terms of a single family, and therefore accessible to readers who can't empathize with mass tragedy.  It's also quite a thrilling book to read, by the way, a better detective story by …
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