Wonderfully engaging history for bibliophiles.




An eerie journey into a bold cosmopolitan publishing venture in defiance of the censorship rampant in Nazi Germany.

How did this English-language publishing house—established in Germany before the war and eventually moved to Paris—survive under Nazi surveillance from the early 1930s through the late 1940s? In an impressively thorough piece of research, Troy (English/Univ. of Hartford; co-editor: May Sinclair: Moving Towards the Modern, 2006) unearths the story of the Albatross Press, a rival to the long-running Leipzig house Tauchnitz, which had been publishing inexpensive paperbacks in English throughout continental Europe since 1841. A disgruntled, recently fired Tauchnitz editor, Max Christian Wegner, a wily, versatile German World War I vet, channeled his ambition into the new enterprise with another brilliant polyglot, John Holroyd-Reece, and Hamburg Jewish publishing scion Kurt Enoch to bring out modern Anglo-American writers (James Joyce, John Steinbeck, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, and others) in a distinctive, framed format. The press was a hit, so much so that the Nazis, recently come to power by 1933, allowed the press to slip through “the level of scrutiny and penalty that hailed down on other German publishers” for frankly economic reasons—the regime was frantic for foreign currency. The strange protection the press garnered allowed it to swallow its rival Tauchnitz, until the Nazi Aryanization policy forced Enoch to flee Germany and occupation spurred Holroyd-Reece to run Albatross from London. The Paris arm was transformed into Deutsche Tauchnitz, specializing in “modern German novels” approved by the Nazi censors. The war also allowed Albatross-Tauchnitz’s rivals to poach other publishers, including Allen Lane’s Penguin Books in London (which had hired none other than Enoch). Largely from tracing correspondence, Troy follows the trajectory of the press and its operators, maintaining that Albatross “became one of the last voices for Anglo-American culture in Nazi-occupied Europe.”

Wonderfully engaging history for bibliophiles.

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-300-21568-7

Page Count: 440

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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