November 20, 2013
19 b&w illus., 2 maps
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.07 Pounds (US)
$70.00 USD, £55.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
November 20, 2013
19 b&w illus., 2 maps
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
.7 Pounds (US)
$24.00 USD, £19.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Blood Libel in Late Imperial Russia

The Ritual Murder Trial of Mendel Beilis

On Sunday, March 20, 1911, children playing in a cave near Kiev made a gruesome discovery: the blood-soaked body of a partially clad boy. After right-wing groups asserted that the killing was a ritual murder, the police, with no direct evidence, arrested Menachem Mendel Beilis, a 39-year-old Jewish manager at a factory near the site of the crime. Beilis's trial in 1913 quickly became an international cause célèbre. The jury ultimately acquitted Beilis but held that the crime had the hallmarks of a ritual murder. Robert Weinberg's account of the Beilis Affair explores the reasons why the tsarist government framed Beilis, shedding light on the excesses of antisemitism in late Imperial Russia. Primary documents culled from the trial transcript, newspaper articles, Beilis's memoirs, and archival sources, many appearing in English for the first time, bring readers face to face with this notorious trial.

About the Author

Robert Weinberg is Professor of History at Swarthmore College and author of The Revolution of 1905 in Odessa: Blood on the Steps (IUP, 1993) and Stalin's Forgotten Zion: Birobidzhan and the Making of a Soviet Jewish Homeland.


"[A] riveting history. . . Weinberg has culled documents from the trial transcripts, newspaper articles, and Beilis's memoirs, many appearing for the first time in English, to bring us face to face with this notorious trial.Fall 2014"—Jewish Book World

"Weinberg has assembled and translated a collection of documents from the case, such as contemporary newspaper accounts and excerpts from the verbatim trial scripts [] The documents convincingly illustrate not only the virulent anti-Semitism of the right wing press, which pushed forward the ritual murder idea at the time when most investigators found the concept ludicrous, but also the contradictory testimonials and unreliable witness statements that the prosecution used to builds its case against Beilis.September 19, 2014"—Times Literary Supplement

"A first-rate summary of how leading historians of the period now view the trial's backdrop can be found in Robert Weinberg's excellent new volume . . . which tells the story through well-chosen and translated primary documents together with an insightful analysis.Winter 2015"—Jewish Review of Books

"The combination of text and sources make this very useful for studies of religious prejudice and the over-coming of religious prejudice. The book is also a fascinating read. It is a basic study for collections dealing with the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe as well as Eastern Christianity."—Religious Studies Review

"Weinberg's research is based on a wealth of published and unpublished sources, including trial transcripts, newspaper articles, political cartoons and Beilis's memoirs. . . This is an excellent historical reconstruction told in a gripping and deeply engaging style.Feb/March 2015"—Assn Jewish Libraries

"This is an excellent historical reconstruction told in a gripping and deeply engaging style. Highly recommended for all library collections."—AJL Reviews

"Overall this book succeeds in providing both a concise yet thorough account of the trial and an exploration of the significance of the Beilis Affair for late imperial Russian society. It also provides a historical perspective on an important case from the history of antisemitism, and in so doing contributes to our understanding of the social history of late imperial Russia."—Slavonic & East European Review

"This concisely written book forcefully tells the story of the outrageous ritual murder trial of Mendel Beilis in Kiev. Through careful review of published and unpublished sources . . . the author lays out the process resulting in a trial during which the state prosecution attempted to convict the entire Jewish religion of the crime of ritual murder. . . What concerns the author is that readers should come to recognize the power of prejudice, hatred, fear, and suspicion, combined with state interest, to suppress challenges to traditional authority.11/14/14"—Jewish Book Council

"Weinberg's short work provides a sober and informed analysis of the affair, coupled with a collection of relevant primary source documents."—Slavic Review

"In 1913, in the most sensational trial of its kind until then, Menachem Mendel Beilis, a 39-year-old Jewish factory manager in Kiev, went on trial for ritual murder, a crime dredged from the twisted fantasies of Russian reactionaries. An international cause celebre, the trial confirmed once and for all that Czar Nicholas II's autocratic regime was a bastion of deep-seated antisemitism. Robert Weinberg . . . skillfully reconstructs the events that led to this appalling miscarriage of justice.5/20/14"—SheldonKirshner.com

"In an accessible volume, Robert Weinberg has offered readers historical analysis and a selection of primary documents from the trial."—Canadian Slavonic Papers

"Boasting depth as well as breadth, this book is an invaluable resource for scholars, undergraduates, and graduate students in the fields of Russian and European history, Jewish studies, and religious studies."—Journal of Modern History

"Lucidly written, well argued, and rich with primary source material . . . the story unfolds like a gripping detective novel. . . . It is social history at its finest."—Jarrod Tanny, author of City of Rogues and Schnorrers: Russia's Jews and the Myth of Old Odessa (IUP, 2011)

"A concise historical reconstruction of one of the most publicized and notorious ritual murder trials in the modern world. Written in a clear and engaging style, the book analyzes a wide array of archival and published primary documents . . . all of which help capture the drama and complexity of the Beilis case."—Eugene M. Avrutin, author of Jews and the Imperial State: Identification Politics in Tsarist Russia
Indiana University Press
Indiana-Michigan Series in Russian and East European Studies

9780253010995 : blood-libel-in-late-imperial-russia-weinberg
200 Pages
$70.00 USD
9780253011077 : blood-libel-in-late-imperial-russia-weinberg
Paperback / softback
200 Pages
$24.00 USD

Other Titles by Robert Weinberg

Ritual Murder in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Beyond

edited by Eugene M. Avrutin, Jonathan Dekel-Chen, Robert Weinberg, with contributions by Michael Ostling, Haya Bar-Itzhak, Andrew C. Reed, Darius Staliunas, Hillel Kieval, Marina Mogilner, Harriet Murav, Gennady Estraikh, Elissa Bempora...
Jul 2017 - Indiana University Press
$90.00 USD - Hardback
$35.00 USD - Paperback / softback

My Life in Stalinist Russia

Mary M. Leder, edited by Laurie Bernstein, introduction by Robert Weinberg
Sep 2001 - Indiana University Press
$24.00 USD - Paperback / softback

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The Muslim Question and Russian Imperial Governance

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The Great War in Russian Memory

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Russian Folk Art

Alison Hilton
May 2011 - Indiana University Press
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True to My God and Country

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Purity and Identity in Ancient Judaism

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