Genres Fiction & Literature
A rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938, and now an international best-seller, it reveals the extraordinary power of the pen as a weapon.
First published in 1938 in Story magazine as a wake-up call warning Americans of the true nature of the Nazi menace, this punchy epistolary tale enacts a stunning drama of friendship, betrayal and vengeance.
In 1932, San Francisco art-gallery owner Max Eisenstein, a Jew who grew up in pre-Nazi Germany, bids farewell to his longtime friend and business partner Martin Schulse, who returns with his family to Munich, where he becomes a Nazi.
Through their letters to one another, which quickly move from warmth to a chilling disregard, we watch as the once-liberal Martin, seduced by grandiose visions of German destiny and by the rantings of “our Glorious Leader,” vents an anti-Semitism that he tortuously rationalizes.
Max, alarmed by reports of anti-Jewish persecution in Germany, asks Martin to look after his actress sister, Griselle, who is performing in Berlin. When she is murdered by Nazi storm troopers after being refused refuge at the Schulse house, Max takes revenge through a clever epistolary ploy that provides a satisfying surprise ending.
“This modern story is perfection itself. It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.” The New York Times
“A tale already known and profoundly appreciated by members of my generation. It is to our part in World War II what Uncle Tom’s Cabin was to the Civil War.” Kurt Vonnegut
First published in 1938, Address Unknown resonated within the United States, changing many Americans’ views of the growing conflict in Europe. Kressmann Taylor’s revealing tale of the consequences of genocidal fascism remains as sadly relevant today as when it was first written.