The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Review

zionMuch like the classic Maus by Art Spiegelman, this is a very important story. The Plot weaves through history, telling a narrative of how plagiarism from a tract called Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu by Maurice Joly ended up as a work of anti-Semitism created by Hermann Goedsche, writing under the name of Sir John Retcliffe.

The graphic novel opens with two introductions. The first by Umberto Eco, the Italian essayist, philosopher, and novelist (for those who enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, I highly recommend his book Foucault’s Pendulum, a much more honest look at the story behind Holy Blood, Holy Grail). The second is by Wil Eisner, the author of this work. In both, the first, Eco describes the importance of the work while in the second, Eisner tells about how and why he came to write it. While neither are necessary to understanding the work, they are both very informative.

Now, how does the actual work stack up? I compared it to Maus for a reason. Both deal with hatred. While Speigelman’s work offers a simplistic view of The Shoah (Cats vs. Mice), The Plot is more a historical narrative, giving the reader access to what has been known for years: that The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a forgery. While Joly wrote his work as a satire against Napoleon III. But Joly is not without the crime of plagiarism himself, having copied from Joseph Balsamo by Alexandre Dumas. Sadly, the only mention of this latter part comes in the essay by Eco.

Overall, this is a very important work. It shows how a forgery, known for many years, has remained so popular amongst the hate-filled. Since it is in graphic form, it is easier to access and understand than many of the more scholarly work. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to know a sad element of our history as humans.

5/5

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About MacJew

I am Husband to a beautiful woman, Father to two dogs and two cats. I am dovoutly Jewish. I love to read and write. I am trying to expand my horizons on film beyond the typical Hollywood garbage, so I have been watching foreign films lately. My plans for this blog are to talk about various things that are of interest to me, including Judaism, history, movies, books, et cetera. Anything that comes to mind, really.
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