Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Corporate Social Responsibility – Applications of Good Practices and Malpractices in Tourism and the Hospitality Industry in the Developing World

“Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a crucial and challenging aim for the tourism and hospitality industry. This book critically engages with the multidimensional and often ambiguous idea of CSR with an integrated and conceptually sophisticated but still practically driven approach. The book brings into focus the practices of CSR in Global South contexts which is a highly valuable contribution for academic and policy-oriented debates on sustainability and responsibility in tourism development.” – Jarkko Saarinen, University of Oulu, Finland, and University of Johannesburg, South Africa

“This book provides some serious food for thought. It examines a range of case studies and assists the reader to learn from the best practices from around the world. CSR is presented as a methodology to enable different actors to contribute towards value cocreation and happiness. Tourism and hospitality are particularly critical for peripheral, remote and insular places as they are often the only source of income for communities and individuals. The chapters provide a wealth of information and offer a starting point for understanding these themes. They challenge the reader to see different perspectives especially in the context of developing countries.” – Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Bournemouth University, Poole, England

“This volume offers an authoritative set of contributions steering through the complex domain of Corporate Socially Responsibility (CSR) in tourism and hospitality in developing and emerging destinations. It offers a sound collection of critical pieces discussing CSR in its different forms, dimensions and context specific applications, constituting a must read not only for undergraduate and postgraduate students, but also for those who have an interest in the subject both in the academic and practitioners’ world.” – Marina Novelli, Professor of Tourism and International Development, Academic Lead for ‘Responsible Futures’, University of Brighton, England

“The field of this edited book concerns the association of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with tourism and hospitality industry in the developing world. Overall, the book includes seven chapters, each of them well articulating the thematic of reference. The provided insights are very helpful for the reader to contextualize and understand CSR issues related with tourism and hospitality in developing communities. The editorial introduction is efficiently presenting and explaining the aspects elaborated in the edited book, as well as the main CSR issues that need to be taken under consideration for tourism and hospitality development.

Within its seven chapters, this edited book tries to provide a more internationalized perspective concerning CSR in the developing world. It successfully documents several challenges in CSR activities and regional development connecting theoretical with practical domains. In addition, the chapters individually provide a basic understanding for the areas they elaborate. This edited book can be valuable for students and practitioners especially in the field of CSR and tourism development. The illustrated diverse disciplines contribute to the provision of an understanding in terms of tourism and hospitality in the developing world and CSR’s current trends and issues. As a result, the general reader has the ability not only to attempt reading the whole book but to select the chapter(s) of interest. Additionally, it is up to the reader’s interest whether to focus on a specific part of the book or in individual chapters.” – Dr. Nikolaos Pappas, Director of CERTE (Centre for Research in Tourism Excellence), University of Sanderland, England

For more information about this book, please click here.

Modeling and New Trends in Tourism: A Contribution to Social and Economic Development

“Tourism is widely recognized as a basic determinant of economic growth at the national, regional and global level. Moreover, it constitutes a basic pillar of social development. Tourism exerts a great impact on employment and output, especially when it is examined in the context of the current economic and financial crisis. However, in an increasingly integrated economic environment a coherent scientific framework is required in order to identify emerging issues as well as latest trends and synergies concerning new policy perspectives. It must be realized that to a large extent tourism has successfully confronted the global crisis and external shocks demonstrating its resilience in terms of stimulating economies. Active tourism policies have played an essential role in supporting a competitive and sustainable tourism economy. However, addressing major challenges and maximizing tourism’s full economic potential, requires a multidimensional and operational approach in terms of policy design. The book “Modeling and New Trends in Tourism: A Contribution to Social and Economic Development” captures these ongoing tendencies and implications based on scientific methodologies in order to model and explain tourism competitiveness, local conditions of tourism and territories’ viability. Moreover, the book analyses tourism performance and recent policy trends, objectives, initiatives and reforms contributing to a new vision for contemporary tourism industry. The book highlights the need for active, innovative and consistent policy responses to ensure that tourism remains a sustainable and a competitive sector. As a result, the book may serve as an international reference and benchmark regarding the enhancement of sustainable tourism with the aim to support agents’ decisions either in the public or in the private sector.” – Ioannis Vavouras, Professor Economic Policy, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece

“Going through this book the readers will surely notice the commitment, and even passion, put into its design and enhancement. Indeed, contributors, editors and authors, were able to align a set of models giving a new insight for the contemporary tourism economy in a clear and well-structured way following a scientific approach, aiming to supply tools to decision makers, public or private. It is to highlight that the text evidences there was really much reflection and research on the current reality to base the opinions expressed in this work as well as possible. This gave rise to that “Modeling and New Trends in Tourism: A Contribution to Social and Economic Development” is a high quality scientific book, with a very pleasant reading, fundamental for professionals and researchers of the problematic of tourism and also accessible to anyone curious about this subject.” – Professor Manuel Alberto M. Ferreira, ISCTE-IUL, Lisboa

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International Event Management: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice

“Event management has become a fashionable topic over the last few decades, so there have been enormous efforts in contributing to its applications in research, education and practice. Event management is diversified encompassing academic (meetings, forums etc), social (wedding parties, concerts etc), economic (mega events, fairs, football etc), and geographical (hiking, skiing, water sports etc) dimensions; all has become a brand name in many societies. It is pleasing to see that the academia has paid much more attention to advance the limits of event management to make it as one of the most significant elements of the new millennium’s economic activities worldwide. In this context, Event Management is a nice contribution to introduce its association with some other subjects such as image, planning, policies and education and also provide case studies representing various countries worldwide. It is a useful reference for both the academia and practice.” – Professor Metin Kozak, Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey

“I welcome this edited book on event management. We need to constantly add to knowledge and these diverse, contributed chapters will be of interest to everyone in the field.” – Don Getz – University of Calgary, Canada

“This edited collection features contributions from a highly experienced and diverse group of international scholars with it representing an authoritative and timely contribution to the domain of international event management. In seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice the contribution includes a good range of event destination scenarios with examples drawn from the UK, Caribbean, Greece, South Africa and the Middle East. An invaluable read for all those engaged in the management of events internationally.” – Dr Alan Fyall, Orange County Endowed Professor of Tourism Marketing, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida

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Critical Essays in Tourism Research

“Critical Essays in Tourism Research offers a thoughtful and critical read that confronts the complacency evident across so much tourism research and the traditional, primarily Western (English-speaking), view of the marketing, management and economics of tourism. Tourism is clearly much bigger and more impactful than just an industry with this edited collection reminding us of the anthropological routes of tourism and for prompting the need to re-read many of the original classics that seem to have been forgotten in the intervening decades. A most useful and timely contribution to the future scholarly and theoretical development of tourism and its multiple faces.”
Dr. Alan Fyall, Orange County Endowed Professor of Tourism Marketing, University of Central Florida

“In this book, the contributors raise some fundamental questions about the nature of tourism knowledge that are rarely asked but always assumed. Our mainstream knowledge of tourism is a bundle of generally held beliefs and these need to be deconstructed to see the deeper undercurrents making up the tourism system. One particular epistemological question that always baffled me is the validity of responses about touristic motivation and behavior that we gather from people who are not in their touristic state of mind when the survey is conducted. The contributors to this volume have shown the boldness to un-assume beliefs and opinions to propose a critical theory of tourism. This book will offer a great reading experience for the scholarly practitioners in tourism and associated areas.” – Babu George, Fort Hays State University, USA

“Critical Essays in Tourism Research offers an opportunity to revisit furtherly some of the conceptual foundations and discourses, which are taken for granted in tourism fields. Its main value lies in the incorporation of critical perspectives to the global discussions and current understanding of tourism.” – Juan Carlos Monterrubio Cordero, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico

“Over the years tourism scholars who base their innovative insights on the social sciences stand in opposition to those who exclusively rely on management and marketing as their status quo position. Maximiliano Korstanje represents the former camp by challenging the latter. In this edited book he brings together writers who share his anti-establishment views which thereby allow the multidisciplinary understanding of tourism to progress. Interestingly, some of these contributors do not have English as their first language.” – Graham Dann, Professor Emeritus, Artic University of Norway, Norway

For more information about this book, please click here.

Delirium: Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment

“Delirium is unquestionably one of the most important psychiatric illnesses in those who have general medical illness, as it frequently results in a substantially increased risk of morbidity and mortality, if not prevented or treated early and effectively. Delirium is also unique in that it is both a “psychiatric” and general medical illness, which requires vigilance and routine partnering with other treatment partners in order to optimally manage. Bourgeois and colleagues have done a masterful job with defining and presenting a practical and balanced approach to the prevention and treatment of delirium.

It is also helpful to read their detailed evidence-based treatment plans for the most common causes of delirium (e.g. alcohol related, medication induced). I encourage all psychiatrists and other providers to read this text and use as a valuable clinical resource. Furthermore, this text should be required reading for medical students; psychiatry residents; psychosomatic fellows; internal medicine residents; family medicine residents; physician assistant students; nurse practitioner students; emergency medicine residents and neurology residents. I appreciate this important clinically relevant addition to the medical literature and strongly recommend it for medical providers.”
Robert McCarron, DO, Vice Chair of Psychiatry, University of California, Irvine

“This text is timely, important, and much-needed by clinicians, researchers, and even healthcare system administrators. The incidence, prevalence, morbidity, mortality, effects of persistence/recurrence, and costs of delirium are under-estimated and always breathtaking. There are few resources devoted to delirium assessment and management that are consolidated into a single source.” READ MORE…James R. Rundell, MD

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Humanist Psychiatry

“Professor Dr. Nash Boutros, MD, is a world-renown expert in the fields of clinical and biological psychiatry, neuropsychiatry, clinical neurophysiology and EEG. His book “Humanist Psychiatry” covers the wide range of the most important topics of modern psychiatry − from biological bases of mental disorders and addiction to such social aspects as stigma and psychiatric care systems. The existence and /or development of mental symptoms such as depression, anxiety, phobias, delusions, hallucinations, ets. have biological nature, while the content of these pathological feelings, sensations, thoughts is determined by cultural factors and by individual life experience of the patient.  Thus, the combined treatment included both appropriate syndrome-based medication and psychotherapy must be the most effective. The evolution of the views on brain-mind relationships (or psycho-physiological problem) is described by Author at example of development of the DSM classifications of mental disorders from division to “organic” and “functional” disorders up to contemporary bio-psycho-social paradigm. The book is addressed and would be useful for the wide range of readers interested in the modern humanistic psychiatry state-of-art – for medical students, practitioners-psychiatrists, university professors, as well as for mental patients, their relatives and care-givers.” – Professor Dr. Andrey Iznak, PhD, DSci.biol. Moscow, Russia 

“This book provides a broad view of how clinical psychiatry is practiced today and how it would look if the ideals of reliance on science within the context of every human’s absolute worth and dignity could be widely observed. The Introduction indicated how the author came to subscribe to the above belief system. The book covers a wide swath of the field of psychiatry from research to education and from personality disorders to correctional psychiatry. The book simply provides a new and very futuristic outlook for the discipline.”
Professor Salvatore Campanella, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

“Dr. Nash Boutros eloquently, passionately and scientifically describes the uniqueness of psychiatry as a medical discipline that strives to restore all the aspects of humanity to those afflicted by the sufferings, perils and stigma of mental illness. The author encourages and behooves not just clinicians but humanity at large, to re-examine the social biases and preconceived beliefs about psychiatric patients. The various chapters offer the reader new journeys to explore the most recent advances in utilizing DSM diagnostic criteria, laboratory and neuroimaging tools, and implementing sound scientifically based treatment interventions. Comprehensive and integrated treatment modalities that address the biological, psychological and socio-environmental domains of each individual psychiatric patient are also described. Medical students, physicians in training, mental health providers, academicians and mental health policy makers would find this humanistic account to be challenging, refreshing, practical, scientific, and all-inspiring.” – Hani Raoul Khouzam, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UC Davis Medical School, California, USA

“In my view, this is a wonderful text, which includes very good and optimistic vision of life per se. The author linked many interesting topics together and the book includes very detailed scientific information as well as clinical experiences (and more which is wisdom). I believe this book will be good step that will be useful and helpful to many people who will read it.”
Peter Bob, PhD, Prague, Czech republic.

For more information about this book, please click here.

Women and War: Opening Pandora’s Box – Intimate Relationships in the Shadow of Traumatic Experiences

“This book, Women and War, is a searingly readable collection of narratives, which painstakingly take us through the specific experiences of women in war, or resulting from war, in some cases as the remote victims of war. Running through these accounts are insights drawn from intercultural experience, and the tragedy arising from our human differentiation into races and cultures. An enthusiastic team of Editors, Marie-Claire Patron, the magician storyteller of intercultural tales, Roni Wildeboer, the wife of a Vietnam Veteran, and Ami Rokach with his psychological and editorial expertise, have assembled a work of great importance. No one who reads this book will forget it.” – Raoul Mortley AO FAHA (Officer in the Order of Australia, and Fellow of the Academy of Humanities of Australia); Pro Vice-Chancellor International. Executive Dean, Faculty of Society & Design. Bond University, Australia

“It was a real challenge to read the chapters – I had dealt with Veterans most of my working life (in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs) and some of the stories brought back memories of these times. I am very happy to endorse this book. The stories put in real terms, in simple terms, the distress felt by those suffering from PTSD or those so close to those suffering. I wish we had something like this for the people I dealt with. It concerns real people, telling their real stories and I feel it would make much more sense to PTSD sufferers than us as “workers” telling them that it is real – real people so poignantly tell their stories. What I saw as well was some hope for an education resource for the medical and other professionals from these real stories.” – Rob Fitzgerald, (BSc, DipT (sec) and MBA) Australia

“As with all of Marie-Claire Patron’s books (‘Diary of a French Girl’, ‘Victim Victorious’, ‘The Legacy of the Baby Boomers or the French Social System’), I wish I had read Women and War: Opening Pandora’s Box a decade earlier. Being a polyphony of female voices that brings different countries and tragic events in human history together, Women and War provides an insightful focus into the nature of PTSD and its intergenerational and intercultural legacy. It reveals the interconnectedness of human beings in the cruelties they inflict upon each other and the sufferings they share, regardless of their origin, race, colour, nationality, and the sides they happen to be on in any war conflict. I would recommend this book to young men, to prevent them from entrusting their lives and career choices into the hands of politicians. For it is not only their lives and careers, it is the lives and lifestyles of their future wives, children and grandchildren that are at stake. Women will also benefit enormously from the experiences of the brave authors who have worn their hearts on their sleeve. Marie-Claire Patron and her co-editors, Roni Wildeboer and Ami Rokach have produced a truly unique anthology of narratives and academic chapters told through the prism of multicultural contexts, which makes it obvious that one does not have to be directly involved in a war-torn conflict in order to experience the devastating aftershocks of war. I was born in a country that lost 27 million people to the fight against Nazis in the Second World War. It is only thanks to Women and War that I have fully realized the scale of that war’s horrific intergenerational influence on my grandmother, my mother and me. I probably would never have done it if I had not read Women and War.” – Julia Kraven, PhD, Intercultural Communication, Bond University | Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

For more information about this book, please click here.

Nigerian Immigrants in Greece: Low-Status Work, Community, and Decollectivization

“Dr. Fouskas provides us with a scholarly first-class study of Nigerian migrant labour in Greece. It considerably adds to our understanding and through a penetrating macro and micro sociological analysis deprives us of misconceptions, clichés and theoretical fallacies of the origins, patterns and functions of migrant workers’ exclusion. It is a valuable book for students and experts in migration, community and work studies.” – Iordanis Psimmenos, Associate Professor, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece

“This book provides rich insights into the lives of migrants in Greece, portraying them not as victims or hustlers but people. Fouskas’ analysis of the impact of insecurity and deregulation on the Nigerian community has important lessons for all those interested in labour organising, migration and work across the European Union. Readers will see street vendors with a new appreciation of their lives and struggles after reading this fascinating study. – Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration and Citizenship, Deputy Director at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford

“This important study provides a perceptive and comprehensive overview of the Nigerian immigrant experience in Greece. Creatively combining interviews with survey and census data, Fouskas vividly recounts the hopes, dreams, fears, trials, and triumphs of this emerging ethnic community with clarity and compassion. This book will become a reference point for research on low-status work, immigrant organizations, collective organizing, and labor rights in Greece. It not only effectively summarizes what we know about this immigrant group, but also puts a human face to how Nigerian immigrants have quietly, yet profoundly, reshaped Greek society today.” – Van C. Tran, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University

“Dr. Theodoros Fouskas, with his book Nigerian Immigrants in Greece: Low-status Work, Community, and Decollectivization, has stimulated an imperative discussion of the severe effects of precarious, low-status work on the collective organization of immigrant workers in the 21st century. This well-conceptualized book and unique in-depth research deals with crucial questions and complex issues and offers invaluable insights with remarkable efficiency. It helps fill a significant gap in Greek and international literature and should be recommended to academics, researchers, policymakers and all those seeking comprehension of labor and immigration issues. Its thorough analysis with sufficient clarity also makes it a required source suitable for classroom use. The book contributes significantly to the current discourse concerning the difficulties caused by acute employment precariousness in immigrant community organization, association formation and participation, immigrant workers’ representation, social and labor rights, trade unionism and solidarity and how these should be combated within a contemporary insecure socio-economic context.” – Angelos Syrigos, Assistant Professor, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Secretary General of Population and Social Cohesion, Ministry of Interior, Greece

“Modern Greece is a country used to economic hardship; the decades following World War II (especially the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s) and the last seven years of financial catastrophe (2009–16) have brought about major economic and social problems, the likes of which are rare in modern Western countries. As a result, during both periods (but even traditionally before World War II) Greece has been a country of emigrants.” READ MORE…John Mazis, Hamline University, Minnesota, USA

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The Doubling: Those Influential Writers that Shape Our Contemporary Perceptions of Identity and Consciousness in the New Millennium

“Diana Sheets has produced a lively and conversational presentation of the major storytellers of the modern literary tradition. It’s a wonderful introduction for American students, high school and college, who come to these works often as strangers. The Q & A format is engaging and Sheets knows just when to inform and when to interpret. I would recommend this to my own students.” – Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English, Emory University

“The Doubling is an intellectual can-opener for closed minds. It’s the book that every 21st century undergraduate needs to understand how the great works of Western literature illuminate the human condition. Mustering a highly innovative-and easy-to-read approach-Dr. Sheets and Dr. Shaughnessy pair authors and their methods of storytelling to dissect how people tick. The Doubling is a trail guide to what Chekhov called “the matchless smell of humanity,” imparting lessons on every page.” – Jonathan Sanders, Professor of Journalism, Stony Brook University

“I highly recommend The Doubling, a series of literary interviews with Diana Sheets with questions posed by Michael F. Shaughnessy. It’s an edifying enhancement of The Great Conversation exemplified in the Hutchins/Adler Great Books of the Western World. The Doubling facilitates our educational understanding of great literature and enriches our appreciation of the humanities.” – Max Weismann, Cofounder with Mortimer Adler, Center for the Study of The Great Ideas in Chicago

“These lively conversations take us back to fundamental truths about important books, works that have struck deep in the Western imagination, opening and exploring the nature of consciousness and the mystery of who and what we really are. There’s no scholastic noodling here; any thoughtful reader can read these chapters, enjoy them, and come away refreshed.” – Bruce Michelson, author of Printer’s Devil: Mark Twain and the American Publishing Revolution

“The Doubling, by Dr. Diana Sheets is a compelling, richly analytical, witty and engaging work. The pairing of key literary figures, including for example Cervantes and Kafka; or Borges and Márquez, revolves around “the familiar and the strange,” a concept fundamental to both the arts and anthropological research, at the heart of interpretation. Profound and playful at the same time, Sheets examines novels within their authorial and sociological contexts with depth, sophistication, and sensitivity.” – Liora Bresler, Professor of Education, University of Illinois

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Political Concerns and Literary Topoi in French Grand Opera

“This book brings together 12 essays written by the author over 25 years, between 1992 and 2017. Letellier is the premier writer in the English language on Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) and French grand opera. The book is set out over two parts: “Politics” and “Literature”. Apart from a lengthy consideration of the fascinating clash between the Old and New Covenants, ‘Historical and Theological Contents in La Juive (1835) by Scribe and Halevy’ (chapter 4), Meyerbeer’s compositions are a central concern of the book. So, in a sense, the unifying chapter lies in chapter 7 where the author writes on Meyerbeer the Man and Robert le Diable (1831).

The author in his first chapter raised a number of questions, including why Meyerbeer’s Grand operas (Robert, Les Huguenots (1836), Le Prophete (1849) and L’Africaine (1865) chose such sensitive and controversial religious settings. His answer is that ‘religion was perhaps the dominant force’ in Meyerbeer’s life. With chapter 7 it explains that Meyerbeer came from a devout and rich Jewish Reform Prussian family. He remained faithful to that faith and was buried in the Jewish cemetery Schonhauser Allee, Berlin. Yet he accepted the conversion decisions of his daughters Bianca , to Catholicism, and Cornelie to Lutheranism. This reviewer would argue the composer recognised the importance of religion to the human personality. Regrettably, his faith does not seem to have resulted in much joy. His marriage in 1826 to his first cousin, Minna Mosson, resulted in a devoted relationship. But Meyerbeer was a cosmopolitan traveller in pursuit of his musical career and from 1838 his wife chose to live in Berlin and later wander spas for sickness cures. Thus they led frequently independent lives.

Letellier’s extensive writings include a first rate biography of Meyerbeer. Although the composer’s musical reputation brought him fame, enhanced his wealth and brought him royal friendships and honours, he still experienced anti-semiticism (richesse). Extracts from his letters to his brother, Michael Beer in 1818 and Heine in 1839 are repeated in this volume. Arguably, the religious basis behind Meyerbeer’s first three grand operas was induced by the pain of ‘acculturation’, a preferred modern term over ‘assimilation’. The composer’s intimate correspondence was in German, not Yiddish, whilst being fluent in other languages. Yet he kept family anniversaries by reference to the Hebrew calendar. In this, he followed the western Ashkenazi differentiation from the Russian, Polish, Lithuanian eastern Jews, after the Jewish enlightenment (Haskala), led by Moses Mendelssohn (1792-86), and reflected in Meyerbeer’s Reform Jewish family antecedents and mother, Amalia. Professor Monika Richarz of the Holocaust and UN Outreach Programme has written insightfully about this distinction. If, crudely put, assimilation requires the Jewish minority to abandon its faith and accept the surrounding culture, that is to be deplored, but acculturation involves the minority’s active contribution to the surrounding culture.

Part I should perhaps be better headed Religion rather than Politics. Indeed, in his Introduction, the author explains that the issues of politics are dealt with through the ‘obvious vectors’ of power and religion. The book’s back page outline explains that it seeks to examine ‘the intellectual content and structural understanding of French Grand Opera…underscored by a theological hermeneutic of history’. This reviewer is too much of a secular historian to trace this theological hermeneutic through John Hus to a modern world created by Protestantism. Hermeneutics is after all the theory and methodology of interpretation. Article X of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789) granted religious freedom and opinion to all citizens, subject to public order. That, and Prussia’s extension of citizenship to Jews in 1812, was of obvious import to the composer. But such an hermeneutic ignores the enormous number of intellectual, military and political factors which are causative of events and how nations and individuals respond to them-and their unintended consequences.

The excellent chapter on La Juive, is set at the time of the Council of Constance (1414-18), regarded by some as the peak of medieval persecution of Jewry. The author sets out the Christian medieval persecution of the Jews. The heretical crime in the opera is centered on is the breach of the laws against miscegeny and inter-marriage occasioned by the affair between Rachel, the Jew of the title, and the scoundrel Leopold/Samuel. The representatives of the two covenants are Eleazar, the Jewish silversmith and local synagogue leader and Cardinal Brogli, President of the Council. The play is shot through with deceit. Rachel has been brought up by Eleazar, in his faith. Leopold is really the Christian nephew of the Holy Roman Emperor, Sigismund, and is married to the Princess Eudoxie. Broglie killed Eleazar’s two sons in his secular days and believed he had lost his daughter, who is Rachel. Eleazar is the only person who knows the truth of Rachel’s origins.

A beauty of Letellier’s working from the original composition and its singers is that it better enables consideration of subsequent revivals. This reviewer is still sometimes surprised at the critical severity of some opera reviewers. Thus the last revival of the opera at the Metropolitan Opera in 2004 included not only criticism of ‘the modernist’ costumes and stage setting, but also of the unbelievability of the plot. A critic, describing himself as a painter and writer on Jewish art, even raises the question whether it is a radically progressive work in a rare moment of 19th century liberalism or a complete capitulation to Christian society and a regretful example of Jewish self-loathing. The crowd scenes show both Jews and Christians are driven by mutual hostility and suspicion. The critic is at pains to attribute to Eleazar a motive purely of vengeance, unable to ignore his parental obligations. Scribe is right in presenting Rachel as the ultimate hero who has made the supreme sacrifice of love, forgiving Leopold by taking the whole of the blame on herself. Nevertheless, was she needlessly reckless in denouncing Leopold in Act 3?

Letellier’s operatic consideration is a tour de force of the sacramental and theological analysis behind the plot. One doubts that the opera goers at the original production at the Paris Opera (1835), and international acclaim in the 19th century, with more muted reception of modern revivals knew their Bible and theology as well. Also intriguing is the author’s consideration of how Scribe came to produce such a successful libretto. After all, Scribe made his living from running a factory of employees to produce c400 well known plays. He was a master of vaudeville, parodying, but satisfying, the bourgeois audiences he pandered to as a hard headed businessman. Letellier points to Scribe’s visit to Constance in 1826 and his probable use of Ulric de Reichental’s Manuscript Chronicle of the history of the Council, a lithograph from which is included in the text. This reviewer cannot dismiss entirely Fromental Halevy’s (1799-1862) guidance, which may have gone beyond any strict division between composer and librettist. Halevy was a Jew and the son of the cantor Elie Halevy, secretary of the Jewish community of Paris.

Another revival, that of the Bavarian State Opera in 2016, by Calixto Bieto, with de Billy as conductor, submits that Scribe never meant the opera to be performed as an integral edition, and to be eminently malleable to subsequent adaptations. The modern-dress costume is ‘dark and drab’, apart from Rachel’s green dress. The scenery is also modern. It freely admits that the overture and ballet and large chunks of music have been omitted. Vocally and dramatically Eudoxie captured the limelight.

Le Prophete revolves around the Anabaptist rebellion in Munster 1534-35, which the author sees as a logical continuation of the doctrines of John Hus, executed after Constance, as a result of the Catholic Church’s fury against heresy. Chapter 5 provides an excellent Biblical and sacramental and theological analysis of the plot, followed by chapter 6 on its presentations in London. Clearly, to be grand opera, the themes of love and death must be intertwined in the plot, which the author uses to characterise the principals. As the author writes, religion is ‘totally discredited’ but John and his beloved mother, Fides, are spiritually saved . Dare we hope that so is Berthe?. Nevertheless, the composition leaves this reviewer troubled as a warning against chiliastic prophets, not unlike those of the English Cromwellian period and arguably in visions of the Soviet era.

Part 2 ‘Literature’ is commended to readers, particularly the final chapter 12: The Pastoral as Structural Determinant in the Grand Opera Scenarios of Scribe and Meyerbeer. The concept of the pastoral has influenced not only music and dance , but also literature and art. The pastoral as a theme reflects the freedom of shepherds tending their flocks within the natural seasons. The quest is for ‘an ideal of peace, harmony and unity, traditionally realised through the symbolism of dance, feast, [and] marriage’. Theologically, it can be seen as a return to ‘the original justice’ of Genesis, or Adam and Eve before the Fall in Eden. This is realised in Robert, denied as in Les Huguenots, or expressed darkly and ambiguously in Le Prophete. Readers are left to consider the use of the theme presented by Letellier in Le Pardon de Ploermel and L’Africaine, considered in some depth in other chapters.

Once it is accepted that this ideal of Paradise cannot be achieved on earth, but only in heaven, then chapter 8’s focus on Goethe’s Faust , becomes understandable, if the reader is familiar at least with the plot of this major work of German literature. The pastoral is achieved by God’s grace through Alice in Robert. In Goethe, it is achieved by the soiled Gretchen’s penitent decision to refuse release from prison and accept her execution. Similarly Faust’s repentance when he recognises the limitations of human existence and experience. The author brilliantly compares Robert’s purgation and mystical ascent with the end of Goethe’s Faust 2.

This is a book for scholars, as each essay is of such depth, that ‘potted summaries’ would not do them justice and alternative interpretations would require a book sized review to explain. They assume an understanding of the plots or a willingness to study. Opera lovers-the music, singing and dance may be everything , but a little theological and literary underpinning can be beneficial. Thoroughly recommended.” – Ian Rogers

“Robert Ignatius Letellier has delved into Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète in a deep and interesting way. This book focuses on ‘parables of politics, faith and transcendence,’ and is important to anyone with interest in French grand opera and religion. For those who are able to read and understand the music dramaturgy and revised score, the original music can be found on pages 71-78. In addition, the lovely presentation totaling 278 photographs, paintings, woodcuts, and cartoons are on heavy glossy paper. For example, Fig. 18 shows ‘Caricature of Meyerbeer bringing the Prophet to Berlin like a latter-day Messiah,’ Fig. 64 shows “the Cathedral scene (stage design, Philippe Chaperon, Paris 1875),” as well as photographs of Eugene Scribe and prints from Jan van Leeden and the Anabaptist leaders. Modern productions after WWII could only provide stages fitted for Le Prophète. Revivals were first seen in London in 1959 and in the United States in 1977 and 1979. Le Prophète was performed in Germany in 2000 and in Munster in 2004 with several other performances in 2007 and 2008. Letellier has collected concise and detailed information about Meyerbeer and Le Prophète. This makes me eager to learn about Meyerbeer’s other operas..” – Dale Hesdorffer, Professor, Epidemiology, and Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, Columbia University Medical Center, USA

For more information about this book, please click here.