The letters of the brothers Mann constitute a crucial document of 20th-century German culture and politics, and they are by...


The brothers Mann, both articulate witnesses of this century's European upheaval, give lively testimony to their usually competing perceptions.

Thomas Mann and his older brother, Heinrich, were both prominent novelists in Germany before the First World War. Though they had much in common, they fell out politically and philosophically with each other over their competing visions of Germany. Thomas was a deeply conservative, anti-Western nationalist; Heinrich was a francophile advocate of Western democracy, an avowed opponent of Germany's prevailing romantic nationalism. The war brought their rivalry to a head and provides this fine volume with its most compelling, bitter, and revealing letters—revealing about Germany at the time, about the sibling rivalry of two novelists, about myriad fascinating details of their private and writing lives. The underlying love-hate relationship that defines all their exchanges to one degree or another lends this book the character of an epistolary novel: Thomas's internationally rising star vs. his older brother's decline into obscurity. Thomas, of course, is best known in the US for his cosmopolitan commitment to Western democracy during the Nazi era. The letters to and from his brother clarify just how gradually the shift in his thinking occurred and what its limits were. It took the great novelist a good long while under considerable pressure from Heinrich and his children to break with Nazi Germany entirely. Happily, this beautifully edited and translated volume contains copiously informative notes and explanations. Anthony Heilbut's (Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature, 1996) foreword helps to situate the renewed interest in the brothers Mann. Edited by Hans Wysling, longtime director of the Thomas Mann Archive in Zurich, this first complete English translation of the correspondence is an exemplary edition.

The letters of the brothers Mann constitute a crucial document of 20th-century German culture and politics, and they are by any standard fine reading.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-520-07278-2

Page Count: 428

Publisher: Univ. of California

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1997

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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