The dynamite club : how a bombing in fin-de-siecle Paris ignited the age of modern terror Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 John Merriman Anarchism France Paris History 19th century, Henry, Emile, 1872-1894 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. 259 p.,  p. of plates : ill., map ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-250) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
The fascinating story of a long-forgotten “war on terror” that has much in common with our own
On a February evening in 1894, a young radical named Émile Henry drank two beers at an upscale Parisian restaurant, then left behind a bomb as a parting gift. This incident, which rocked the French capital, lies at the heart of The Dynamite Club, an account of Henry and his cohorts and the war they waged against the bourgeoisie — setting off bombs in public places, killing the president of France, and eventually assassinating President McKinley in 1901.
Paris in the belle epoque was a place of leisure, elegance, and power. Newly electrified, the city’s wide boulevards were lined with posh department stores and outdoor cafes. But prosperity was limited to a few and the ostentation of conspicuous consumption did little more than wave a red flag in front of the poor. Many who lived in dire poverty were targeted by the radicals who manipulated the unsuspecting poor into a common cause disguised as a political philosophy — anarchism — that embraced the overthrow of the state by unrelenting and unreasoned violence.
Yet in targeting civilians to achieve their ends, the dynamite bombers charted a new course. Seeking martyrdom, believing fervently in their goal, and provoking a massive government reaction that only increased their ranks, these “evildoers” became, in effect, the first terrorists in modern history.
The Dynamite Club is an account that explores a period of dramatic social and political change — and while it fails to suggest that the solution contains equal parts of justice and order the astute reader will reach these conclusions on their own.