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by Kressmann Taylor

Download Address Unknown fb2, epub

ISBN: 0285636294
Author: Kressmann Taylor
Language: English
Publisher: Souvenir Press; None edition (March 1, 2002)
Pages: 64
Category: Literary
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 832
Size Fb2: 1368 kb
Size ePub: 1777 kb
Size Djvu: 1652 kb
Other formats: mbr txt docx mobi


When it first appeared in Story magazine in 1938, "Address Unknown" became an immediate literary sensation. It was published as a book in 1939 and sold 50,000 copies. In recent decades it has been a bestselling book in France (in translation) and has became an acclaimed stage play. Address Unknown reveals the extraordinary power of the pen as a weapon. Written on the eve of the Holocaust it is an exchange of letters between two friends: an American Jew living in San Francisco and his former business partner and friend who had returned to his native Germany. It is a haunting tale of enduring impact, exposing the poison of Nazism and warns in age of racial and ethnic intolerance that history can repeat itself.

Comments:

The Apotheoses of Lacspor
I love this book in an earlier edition. I would have given it five plus stars. I gave this one star because it is a terrible edition of this
amazing book. It does not have the last page-- which is the whole point of the book. I urge anyone who wants to read it to
find the earlier edition-- the book is almost square with a brown cover. This edition ruins a very special book
Vital Beast
The blurb from Kurt Vonnegut on the Washington Square Press edition of Address Unknown states "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."

I think Vonnegut's comparison of this 1938 short story to Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel is especially apt. Both books were written with the intention of exposing a great evil; for Stowe, it was the horrors of slavery and for Katherine Kresssman Taylor, the increasing persecution of Jews. Neither author had first-hand information on the conditions she described, Stowe in the American South, Kressman in Germany of the 1930s. Yet each woman was informed by eye-witness reports and discussions with people who had experienced the terrible conditions which these works of fiction depict.

Some of the reviewers on this site have questioned the authenticity of Kressman's account, as she lacked the intimate knowledge which a person living Germany at the time would have had. Other aspects of this work have been criticized, such as the fact that the Germans depicted are invariably villainous (or at best oblivious to the evils around them), while the Jewish characters, few as they may be, are nobler and more courageous, or at least innocent of any wrongdoing, with one exception, which I will discuss.

Again, if we look to Stowe's novel, we see a precedent in this. Most of her characters can be labelled as either good or evil. (I'm relying on my memories of the book which may have faded over time; if you believe I've misrepresented her work, please feel free to comment.) Stowe was a moral reformer and a crusader for the abolitionist movement. She might well be called a propagandist. But she was also a gifted story teller with a remarkable ability to create memorable characters in unforgettable situations. (Eliza fleeing Simon Legree would be one example.) Her talents as a novelist were limited but within their narrow range they were extremely effective. I daresay more people in the antebellum era became keenly aware of the plight of the slaves through her book than they would have from any number of political tracts. And this awareness led to an ever-increasing pressure to put an end to slavery, as Stowe hoped it would.

Kressman also had a mission when she wrote her book, namely to alert her readers to the growing threat to Jews and to other opponents of the Nazi regime in Germany. She chose to show how insidiously the mentality of the Hitler regime could infiltrate and corrupt even those, like Martin Shchulse in this book, who had been previously untainted by it. Her methods of demonstrating this corruption are, from a literary standpoint, rather simplistic, even crude. The two main characters progress along what are soon rather predictable paths, and though one can admire the way in which Martin's descent into evil is foreshadowed and then carefully delineated, step by step, it's not an unforeseeable transition. Similarly, the ending, much admired by some for its ingeniousness, is compromised by its moral ambiguity. Rather than showing Martin's friend and colleague, Max, as a righteous vindicator of Martin's betrayal of him and his family, Max's act of retribution is rather is a callous "eye for an eye" form of justice, which claims a number of innocent victims. This conclusion appears to cloud Kressman's moral vision, and perhaps weakens her case from an ethical standpoint. (Conversely, it might be said to make the story more interesting from a psychological, and possibly even a literary angle.)

In short, if you're looking for high literary achievement, Address Unknown will probably fall short of your expectations. If, however, you're in search of a concise, and carefully constructed tale which exposes in an engrossing manner the dangers of seduction by a malevolent social system, a story similar in its social consciousness to Uncle Tom's Cabin, look no further than Address Unknown. You will not be disappointed.
Jeb
This 2011edition is an illegal and sloppily constructed book. Its publication constitutes copyright infringement. Legal proceedings are currently underway to have it removed from the internet. Look for an authorized edition to appear shortly, both in print and electronic versions.
C .D. Taylor,
son of the author and current owner of copyright and all publishing rights.
Risinal
Address Unknown is a chilling epistolary novella written a year before the outbreak of World War Two. It is a series of letters between two former business partners and close friends, one a German-American living in San Francisco who is Jewish and the other a German Christian who, having lived in the United States, has returned to Germany. Over the initial series of letters, it is revealed that the partner in Germany has become enthralled with Hitler and Nazism. The ensuing letters reveal duplicity, betrayal and, ultimately, revenge. This is a classic that, despite its age, is timeless. It will leave the reader open-mouthed in shock.
Nejind
My husband is the son of a family most of whose members were murdered during WWII. He read it in Hebrew and I read it in English.
Strong and very convincing. A short glimpse of the building political situation before WWII from a "personal" angle, a subtle and very clever revenge on a "friend" - evil is done when ppeople don't do good - (I can't remember tthe correct phrasing of the quote) and an ending that has the reader sighing with satisfaction at mission accomplished.
Rainpick
Sixty years later, apologists for the slow American response to the holocaust say that, gee, we just had no idea until the camps were liberated at the end of the war. Not so. In 1938, Katherine Kressman Taylor published the short story ADDRESS UNKNOWN in Story Magazine. Its popularity inspired a stand alone hardcover release the following year. The critics could not say enough. They and those who made it a bestseller knew.

It is a perfectly crafted, creatively conceived story and it is a story that delivered an unmistakable message about the Nazi menace. Taylor was inspired by what became of a couple she knew who moved to Germany in the 30's and from a newspaper article. This edition includes an introduction by the author's son who reveals some biographical detail and how the story came to be written. Even with this information and what we know of history, the story packs an unexpected punch. It takes fiction to the living edge of what it can do for society and culture.

This is a nicely produced edition, with a sturdy, flapped soft cover and rich vellum pages,worthy of the classic it is.
Thundershaper
It is a simple story that is not simple at all. The characters are real and complex as they grapple with and balance fundamental ethical questions with life-and-death consequences. Their decisions impact their personal lives but also are a metaphor for how our personal decisions can shake world events -- and the personal lives of people we will never know or will meet. It's easy to do the right thing when the consequences are minor; it's also easy to rationalize oneself into thinking one is doing the the right thing when the consequences are profound. And that's just the tip of the iceberg in this book -- all packed into 65 pages. This book stays with you and creeps into your head at unexpected moments. An important read that forces us to be more honest with ourselves.

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