This is a penetrating and often brilliant study of Bertolt Brecht, best known in America for his immensely popular Phreepenny Opera. But few here realize that he was also the author of at least a dozen other plays, of volumes of satiric verse, and of short stories, and was hailed as the ""apostle of a new dramatic era"". Brecht's life and work was shaped by the grim events of the first World War, of the depression, revolution and rise of Hitler. During this time he wrote poems and plays that can best be described as the literary counterpart of the savage drawings of his close friend, George Gross. Opposed to Hitlerism, a strong propagandist, Brecht left Germany- spent some time in America, and ultimately returned to East Berlin where the Communists offered him a theatre and the Stalin Peace Prize.... Esselin makes abundantly clear the subtle, paradoxical, cynical creed which has motivated Brecht and has provided a first-rate interpretation of the little known artist, one of the more important exponents of post war expressionism.