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Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor

Address Unknown (1938)

by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor

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6144815,860 (4.19)18

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Does the surgeon spare the cancer because he must cut to remove it? We are cruel. Of course we are cruel.

Martin Schulse and Jewish Max Eisenstein are partners in a successful San Francisco art gallery, and this book is made up of the letters they exchange when Martin, who has never felt settled in the USA, decides to return to Germany with his family in 1932.

To start with the letters are friendly, as Max updates Martin on how the business is doing, and Martin tells him about their new house and how his children are settling in, but the tone gradually changes over the next eighteen months as Martin becomes seduced by Nazism to Max's dismay.

Although the pen is mightier than the sword, as the saying goes, in this book the pen becomes a sword when it is used to get revenge for a terrible betrayal.

The author of this book was inspired by hearing about American students studying in Germany writing to their classmates back home begging them not to include jokes taunting Hitler in their letters as they could get someone killed. First published in 1938, this short book became a best-seller on both sides of the Atlantic and is still well worth reading now. ( )
  isabelx | Aug 1, 2015 |
This is a tiny work that delivers gut punches on every other page. Repeatedly, it seems to be overly dramatic and somewhat contrived, except that it’s all too believable and all too horrific.
It’s hard to discuss Address Unknown without including spoiler information, but I’m going to try because I think you should want to take a short time out of your busy day to read this through at one sitting and let the experience overwhelm you.
Max Eisenstein, a Jew in New York, corresponds with his non-Jewish friend, Martin Schulse in Germany, in 1932-34. They have a joint business interest, a New York art gallery. Hitler is setting the stage to become Chancellor of Germany in 1933.
Max and Martin exchange letters. Their correspondence is swiftly transformed from business matters and the chatter of friends, to awkwardly ingenuous, increasingly corrosive and bitterly destructive words that betray Martin’s embrace of the newly-politicized Aryan culture.
Max and Martin cease to be friends. The terrible consequence of their estrangement is no surprise, but not less terrible because we can so easily grasp its nature and implications.
The reader is left to wonder about the dreadful imperatives of human behavior that cannot avoid self-destruction.
More on my blogs:
http://historybottomlines.blogspot.com/ ( )
  rsubber | Feb 11, 2015 |
Originally published in 1939, this slim book carries the weight and impact of a novel five times its size. A fictional correspondence between an American Jew and a German follower of Hitler with a gasp-worthy ending. ( )
  vlcraven | Jan 4, 2015 |
I came across this by chance trying to find some radio drama on the net. It was a BBC production from a couple of years ago.I ordered the book straight away and have just finished it.
A very powerful and thought provoking read. What I don't understand is how it was forgotten for so long.

( )
  MsStephie | Jul 12, 2014 |
Haunting little book. letters to Nazi Germany. I have read this more than once and I find that my feelings about it shift. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
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My dear Martin: Back in Germany! How I envy you!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743412710, Paperback)

A rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938 --

and now an international bestseller.



When it first appeared in Story magazine in 1938, Address Unknown became an immediate social phenomenon and literary sensation. Published in book form a year later and banned in Nazi Germany, it garnered high praise in the United States and much of Europe.

A series of fictional letters between a Jewish art dealer living in San Francisco and his former business partner, who has returned to Germany, Address Unknown is a haunting tale of enormous and enduring impact.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:57 -0400)

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"A series of fictional letters between a Jewish art dealer living in San Francisco and his former business partner, who has returned to Germany."--Cover.

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