Zipperstein convincingly asserts that the event was exploited and mythologized, becoming a legendary and often-distorted symbol of Russian autocracy. Russian officials, including Czar Nicholas, disliked Jews but disliked mob violence and popular action even more. Zipperstein fully rejects the charge of government promotion of the attack. He also indicates how embellished reports were used to both stir up further resentments against Jews and to spur Jews to emigrate. This is a superb account of both a terrible mass attack and the effects it had upon the broader Jewish population.
Pogrom is an outstanding book, both for what it says directly and for all it implies ... Zipperstein brilliantly, and consequentially, traces the shift in anti-Semitic ideology from one based mainly in religious difference to one based in economics and cultural conflict ... But the book’s most profound impact might well be how we view anti-Semitic movements and their close progeny -- other racist or extreme nativist movements -- today.
What was different was, first, the speed with which the Kishinev story came to be told and, second, the radical variety and the literary brilliance of how it came to be interpreted. Events do not mean: they are assigned meaning. Facts do not live on the ground: they live in the mind ... Zipperstein’s account of a third Kishinev interpreter that makes his book a minor historical masterpiece ... A remarkable claim, on either side, ending a quite remarkable book.