Author: Julie Kalman
At the height of the Napoleonic Wars, the Bacri brothers and their nephew, Naphtali Busnach, were perhaps the most notorious Jews in the Mediterranean.
Based in the strategic port of Algiers, their interconnected families traded in raw goods and luxury items, brokered diplomatic relations with the Ottomans, and lent vital capital to warring nations.
For the French, British, and Americans, who competed fiercely for access to trade and influence in the region, there was no getting around the Bacris and the Busnachs. “The Kings of Algiers” traces the rise and fall of these two trading families over four tumultuous decades in the 19th century.
In this panoramic book, Julie Kalman restores their story — and Jewish history more broadly — to the histories of trade and high-stakes diplomacy in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars and their aftermath.
“The Kings of Algiers” brings vividly to life an age of competitive imperialism and nascent nationalism.