Stephen Koch, the former head of the Writing Division of Columbia University's School of the Arts, is the author of numerous books including Double Lives and The Modern Library Writer's Workshop. He lives in New York City.
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A remarkable story of a forgotten seventeen–year–old Jew who was blamed by the Nazis for the anti–Semitic violence and terror known as the Kristallnacht, the pogrom still seen as an initiating event of the Holocaust
After learning about Nazi persecution of his family, Herschel Grynszpan (pronounced Greenspan) bought a small handgun and on November 7, 1938, went to the German embassy and shot the first German diplomat he saw. When the man died two days later, Hitler and Goebbels made the shooting their pretext for the state–sponsored wave of antiSemitic terror known as Kristallnacht, still seen by many as an initiating event of the Holocaust.
Overnight, Grynszpan, a bright but naive teenager, was front–page news and a pawn in a global power struggle.
Hemingway, Dos Passos, and the Murder of Jose Robles
When American authors John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway went to Spain in 1937 to witness the Spanish Civil War firsthand, the devastation they encountered was far from impersonal: As Spain was unraveling thread by thread, so was the relationship between these two literary titans. They had arrived in Spain as comrades, leftist writers–in–arms. But a real–life literary mystery unfolded when Dos Passos' friend José Robles—a Spanish–born Johns Hopkins professor—disappeared. Written from a novelist's eye for detail, The Breaking Point is the story of two lives at the intersection of friendship and murder, of love and death, and of literature and history.