Tag Archives: W.H. Auden

The Plural of Us


The Plural of Us –
Poetry and Community in Auden and Others
By Bonnie Costello
Princeton University Press – £37.95

When will we learn, what should be clear as day,
We cannot choose what we are free to love.

          ‘The Future of Us’

Poetry’s ‘we” can be highly nuanced and variable […]
marking overlapping and concentric circles.

          ‘Speaking Of Us’

In the final chapter of this highly focused book (‘The Future of Us’), Bonnie Costello endeavours to once more enter, and finally come to terms with the great chasm of an elongated, and at times self-induced ambiguity; by highlighting the non-definable space that surely lies betwixt the most pronounced personal of ‘I,’ and the most assumptive universal of ‘we.’

In so doing, she reinvests a certain assertion that the reader might readily agree with what is at best, a poetically endorsed thesis, wherein analysis takes centre stage almost throughout these 225 pages ( excluding Acknowledgements, Notes, Biography and Index). For example, when she writes: ”Whatever the scale of relations, being is always already being ”with” – ”we are pressed, pressed on each other” – and one effort of the poetry is to discover meaningful unity within this condition of proximity, for ”we have chosen the meaning /of being numerous;” are we to readily agree?

What does the authoress essentially mean when she writes of ”meaningful unity”?
As for the ”condition of proximity,”this surely differs in relation to each and every varying circumstance?

I have to confess to initially being drawn to The Plural of Us – Poetry and Community in Auden and Others, largely due to the Auden in the title. For along with Eliot and both Dylans’, Auden is for me, the quintessential poet of the twentieth century.

As such, I was inquisitive to embrace the rather scientific formality of the subject matter ([…] some poetry seeks to harness the rhetorical power of the first-person plural to posit and promote community, often where there is social fragmentation. It can also alert us, intentionally or not, to the pronoun’s dangers and exclusions […]), within the context, or at least within the realm of the Auden trajectory.

Rather like Costello herself: ”He is perhaps the preeminent modern poet for thinking about groups and group organization, intuitively and in the abstract, but he is he rarely fixed to a particular theory or ideology for long. He is the poet of ”private faces in public places,” and of ”private stuff”and ”public spirit,” interested in the tensions and continuities between our intimate lives and our historical relations. He loves theories and doctrines, sometimes to the detriment of his verse, and passes through them like the pages of a calender, but the questions remain the same, and give coherence to the process. He is a writer not only interested to think about but interesting to think with, in part because he is always thinking, always changing position and genre.”

One could readily assert that it was said change that enabled Auden to remain at the vanguard of true poetic thinking.
Even to this day.
All the more so I’d have thought, simply because he did wrestle with (and love) theories and doctrines. Even if he did pass ”through them like the pages of a calender.”

That Bonnie Costello substantiates the fact that Auden was ”a writer not only interested to think about but interesting to think with,” accounts for much this book’s adherent allegiance to that of deciphering what its title suggests.

As not once does Costello remotely deviate or straddle off course.

There again, she appears to understand Auden all too well: ”As a ventriloquizing poet, always playing us back to ourselves so that we may hear what we mean, he is highly sensitive to the many postures and tonalities that can arise in the use of the first-person plural.”

In and of itself therefore, many could readily assert that this book is something of a first within its field; or, as Jahan Ramazani, the author of Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayer, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres, has since written: ”Bonnie Costello’s exquisite book brilliantly explores how Auden and other poets use the first-person plural to conjure collectivities into being even as they also unsettle them. Her rigorous and commanding reflections on the pronoun ‘we,’ her luminous close readings, her deep knowledge of lyric poetry, and her nuanced yet cogent arguments make this book a model of literary criticism.”

As the title The Plural of Us might suggest, this book circumnavigates the plurality of humanistic value in such a way that sheds new light on an oft, far too forgotten subject.

David Marx

Milosz – A Biography


Milosz – A Biography
By Andrzej Franaszek
Belknap/Harvard University Press – £25.95

There is too much talk about what poetry ought to be and too little about what poetry ought to be and too little about what it is. It is primarily a contradiction to nihilism. Like an apple in a Dutch painting […] because it refers to something that is particular. An author of rhyming introductory articles can be a fairly good poet for a while, because he uses his observations as resources, but he has to shout much louder… because this is the price for moving away into a desert of ideas. One real tree, one real droplet of dew, are enough to destroy him and reduce him to nothingness.

          Czeslaw Milosz (‘Poetry and Diadectics – 1951’)

What equipped him for his truth-telling role was the incomparable quality of his intellect and poetic skills, which enabled him to endure and, much later, process imaginatively experiences and sufferings which might well have destroyed a less driven individual.

          Seamus Heaney (Introduction)

In order not to kill himself, he sought any argument that could dissuade him from such an act, although the most important and hardest to pinpoint was something deep within him. Faith and piety? To be more precise, it was the belief that the world was not based on a void, that there was a higher authority which did not allow anything to occur by chance.

          Andrzej Franaszek
           (‘A Story of One Particular Suicide Case’)

What is it that drives a person to such incomparable lengths as to endure, and as a result, be capable of delivering occasional work that is (almost) beyond description? Beyond depiction? As Seamus Haney clearly states, perhaps its a mixture of acute gift and suffering.

But gift and suffering alone, do not necessarily make for terrific, enlightening and what’s more, in-depth writing. One need only ask Vladimir Nabakov, Ted Hughes or indeed W. H. Auden. All three of whom somehow, inadvertently subscribed to the ideological thinking of ”One real tree, one real droplet of dew, are enough to destroy him and reduce him to nothingness.”

It is just such open-wound-like, regal realisation on the part of Andrzej Franaszek, that accounts for this book being such a spell-binding and all round invigorating read. As Adam Zagajewski has since written: ”Franaszek is well suited to his subject.” To be sure, Milosz – A Biography might well be considered as being many things to many people; one being that it could nigh well be deemed a cleansing of the intellect…

Just one of the (many) reasons being – apart from the huge body of extraordinary work it traverses – is that Milosz, surely one of the most unquestionably important poets of the last century, simply bypassed all folly, all insincerity, all hypocrisy.

And if such weren’t enough to fully engage with both Milosz and Milosz – A Biography, then I really don’t know what is.

Once again, returning to Zagajewski: ”Franaszek’s outstanding biography of Czeslaw Milosz narrates one of the great lives of the twentieth century and does not shy away from recounting the more private side of the poet’s loves, moods, victories, and defeats. Milosz was an artist who was also a political thinker, who stood in the centre of the ideological debates of his time, who was an incredibly industrious writer and on top of all this had a sublime gift for poetry:

My generation was lost. Cities too. And nations.
But all this is a little later. Meanwhile, in the window, a swallow
Performs its rite of the second. That boy, does he already suspect
That beauty is always elsewhere and always delusive?
Now he sees his homeland. At the time of the second mowing.
Roads winding uphill and down. Pine groves. Lakes.
An overcast sky with one slanting ray.
And everywhere men with scythes, in shirts of unbleached linen

(‘Diary of a Naturalist’)

When Zagajewski writes about the author not shying away from ”the poet’s loves, moods, victories, and defeats;” as much is rather evident within the fine selection of black and white photographs contained herein – where many a picture does indeed paint many a thousand words.

Each of these 470 pages (excluding Maps, Chronology, Notes, Bibliography, Acknowledgements, Illustration Credits and Index) lends the reader with a most refined window into one of the most understated, misunderstood, greatest of (Polish) poets to have ever graced the blank, yet seemingly troubled, page.

Edited and translated by Aleksandra and Michael Parker, I can honestly say that Milosz – A Biography opens many, many an invigorating and (already preordained) invigorated window.

David Marx

Early Auden, Later Auden


Early Auden, Later Auden –
A Critical Biography
By Edward Mendelson
Princeton University Press – £27.95

Auden wrote that ”In so far as poetry, or any of the arts, can be said to have an ulterior purpose, it is, by telling the truth.

     (‘Introduction to Early Auden’)

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s sensual ecstasy.


They say that in times of complete darkness, only poetry will suffice. And so far as poetry is concerned, I do sometimes wonder if only W. H. Auden will suffice.

Reason being, his vision and literal vortex, not to mention overt considered contextualisation, appear to evidently know no poetic parameters. No parameters that is, in the (true) sense in which we have been conditioned to understand, and occasionally embrace them. For sure, there are the two Dylans along with T. S. Eliot and a further array of stunning poets – far too many to mention here – although I do feel Auden stands somewhat alone.

Alone within a distinguished gambit of prime, idiosyncratic invention.

A thinking that the author of Early Auden, Later Auden – A Critical Biography, Edward Mendelson, appears to (wholeheartedly?) subscribe to: ”During the first twelve years of his career, the years that are the subject of this book, Auden made the difficult passage from a private poetry to a public one, from apparent formal disorder to manifest artifice, and from lonely severity to a community of meaning.”

Said ”community of meaning” and the analysis thereof, being both the centrifugal focus and adroitness of this simply sublime critical study.

To be sure, an exceedingly well considered and more than comprehensive study, I’m probably not alone in believing it will lead the way. Something the The New York Times writer, Christopher Lehman-Haupt already substantiates when he writes: ”It’s a wealth of intelligent, knowledge and insight that Mendelson… brings to this study… With his array of interpretive tools, he solves for the first time the notorious obscurities of Auden’s earliest work.”

An early work, which in ‘The Exiled Word,’ the author clarifies as being ”for intense love affairs that end quickly; the later poems are for marriage.”

To my mind, so much of Auden’s work touched on so many integral issues. He was never afraid to hold back; in subject matter, as well as in style, imagery and definition.
Indeed, he shot from the hip and wrote from the heart.
And what more could one possibly ask from a poet?

Qualities, that surely could on occasion, become a little overwhelming for the uninitiated. Qualities, which these 817 pages (excluding Preface, Notes and Index) are fully prepared to divulge by way of the poet being at the eventual vanguard of an assimilation of possible influence and writing styles: ”While other styles of writing seemed content to rest on the sad margins of a conventional past, modernism alone seemed to look toward a difficult and inexorable future. Its procession of landmarks stands as imposingly now as it did then: 1920 saw the publication of Women in Love; 1921, Yeats’s Four Plays for Dancers; 1922, The Waste Land and Ulysses; 1923, Birds, Beasts and Flowers; 1925, A Draft of XVI Cantos and Eliot’s Poems 1909-1925; 1926, Personae; 1927, To the Lighthouse; 1928, Anna Livia Plurabelle and The Tower. And in 1927 – 28 Auden wrote the first of the intensely modernist verse he gathered in his 1930 Poems. For a young poet whose early ambition was to write the great poems of his generation, there seemed no turning back.”

Turning back?
If anything, Auden always looked readily to the future, as if, from a literary perspective at least, it couldn’t come quick enough.

One need only read some of the poetry written throughout the various stages of his life:

There head falls forward, fatigued at evening,
And dreams of home,
Waving from window, spread of welcome,
Kissing of wife under single sheet;
But waking sees
Bird-flocks nameless to him, through doorway
Of new men making another love.

(‘The Wanderer’)

Each lover has some theory of his own
About the difference between the ache
Of being with his love, and being alone.

Why what, when dreaming, is dear flesh and bone
That really stirs the senses, when awake,
Appears a simulacrum of his own.


Our present, meanwhile, is about
Our business here and abroad:
A boy is whipped in a cell,
An old woman is bustled out
Of the house she loved so well;
Both whimper and are ignored.

(An early draft of ‘A Walk After Dark’)

With the Early Auden split into two parts (entitled ‘The Border and the Group’ and ‘The Two Worlds’) along with the Later Auden into three parts (‘Vision and After,’ ‘The Flesh We Are’ and ‘Territorial’), the actual whole follows the major evolution of the poet’s thought process. Thereby offering a comparison of Auden’s various views at the various junctures throughout his lifetime.

With penetrating insight, the author re-evaluates Auden’s early ideas, methods and personal transition(s) as reflected in the many poems, manuscripts and private papers.

Early Auden, Later Auden – A Critical Biography, also goes on to link the numerous changes in the poet’s intellectual, emotional and religious experience, by way of his ever evolving public persona. Thus enabling readers to confront head-on, Auden’s personal struggles with the self, and the trajectory of fame; not to mention the means by which these internal conflicts were oft reflected in his writing. Especially in later years.

That Edward Mendelson is the literary executor of the Estate of W. H. Auden, and is the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, it should come as absolutely no surprise that these thirty-three chapters account for a book that is resolutely more inspired than the actual word inspired itself.

Let it be said that so far as literary criticism is concerned, Early Auden, Later Auden is going to take some beating.

David Marx

A Heaven of Words


A Heaven of Words – Last Journals, 1956-1984
By Glenway Wescott
Edited by Jerry Rosco
University of Wisconsin Press – $24.95

I sing wine and I drink water.

As the author of Wild Animals I Have Known: Polk Street Diaries and After, Kevin Bentley states, this (at times) overtly colourful and enlightening book is ”a frank and insightful collection of later journals from a brilliant gay writer and Lost Generation survivor.”

That it is ”full of literary and sexual anecdotes, wise ruminations […] and poignant reflections on growing older as a writer and lover of men,” does much to recapture not only a lost generation, but a lost time. An era, that when things happened, they were truly special amid the people to whom they were actually happening, rather than beamed across the planet – for all and sundry to see and share and comment upon – a mere few seconds after they’ve taken place.

The more than aptly titled A Heaven of Words (Last Journals, 1956-1984) is an inadvertent reflection, as well as confirmation of such; whereby the acutely observational Glenway Wescott (clearly never one lost for meditative thoughts nor words), mirrored all that he saw through his own, honest and highly intellectual prism of nuanced portrayal.

”Observation of pleasure” was after all, his ”religion.”

As mentioned in the title, these 279 pages (excluding Index and a section called ‘A Glossary of Glenway Wescott’s Contemporaries’), begin in 1956 and conclude in 1984. Along the way, there’s a menagerie of simply terrific one-liners, the altogether witty and esoteric likes of which, one doesn’t stumble across everyday: ”He introduced me to Jesus Christ, and also to the Queen of Romania,” ”[…] partings have to be a rehearsal for the great aloneness,” ”The verb ”belittle” was an invention of Thomas Jefferson’s,” ”What pain is to the body, shame is to the mind,” ”There is nothing stranger than life, unless it is literature.”

As with all great writing, the reader is transported unto another place, wherein the translucence of one’s own imagination is extraordinarily viable to be both educated and enhanced simultaneously. Take the following passage for instance, where, on May 13th 1957, Wescott wrote: ”I am an aging genius, with an insufficient talent; now pregnant with certain books that I have been gradually labouring at for years; in extremely unhappy circumstances in some ways; extraordinarily independent but with very little liberty; kept in extraordinary luxury here at home but penniless otherwise; perhaps due to be famous before long, perhaps more apt to fail, to sicken, to disappear from the picture. Yet there are a few things I know more about than anyone else alive.”

It is just such idiosyncratic insinuation that enabled Wescott – who began his writing career as a poet but is best known for his short stories and novels – to live the charmed life he did. Whether as part of the American literary expatriate community in Paris during the 1920s or revelling amid the company of such celebrated writers as Jean Cocteau, Somerset Maugham, Christopher Isherwood and (one of my all-time favourite poets) W. H. Auden – much of which is captured throughout this wonderful recollection in earnest.

David Marx

The Complete Works of W.H. Auden – Volume V


The Complete Works of W.H. Auden – Volume V
Prose 1963-1968
Princeton University Press – £44.95

Having already reviewed the previous four volumes of W.H. Auden’s colossal body of work that Princeton University Press have published over the years; it should come as no surprise that I’d be more than compelled to write about this rather marvellous collection too.

Weighted in overt literary curiosity, my reasoning is such that almost all of Auden’s work, whether it’s prose, poetry or indeed, just about anything, remains so instantly enlightening. Not to mention consistently refreshing and invigorating to read.

In the words of The London Review of Books’ Frank Kermode: ”When you add in the volumes already devoted to plays, libretti, poems, it becomes hard to avoid describing the whole enterprise as heroic. In fact it could also be described as unique, for no other twentieth-century English poet has been so fully and patiently honoured.”

Indeed, it’s not remotely easy to even marginally fathom what makes W.H. Auden – Prose 1963-1968 so very readable. So very enjoyable; other than it being a darn good read of the highest (and I do mean the highest) calibre.

With the possible exception of only a handful of exceptional writers such as Burroughs, Camus or Orwell, where else would one read such colourful and quintessentially vital provocation in any other book’s Introduction – as any of the following: ”When in love, the soldier fights more bravely, the thinker thinks more clearly, the carpenter fashions with greater skill […]. It is quite true, as you say, that a fair principle does not get bald and fat or run away with somebody else. On the other hand, a fair principle cannot give me a smile of welcome when I come into a room. Love of a human being may be, as you say, a lower form of love than love for a principle, but you must admit that it is a damn sight more interesting […]. For millions of people today, words like communism, capitalism, imperialism, peace, freedom, democracy, have ceased to be words, the meaning of which can be inquired into and discussed, and have become right or wrong noises to which the response is as involuntary as a knee-reflex […]. Propaganda, like the sword, attempts to eliminate consent or dissent, and, in our age, magical language has to a great extent replaced the sword.”

Replete with philosophical undercurrent(s), the above quotations are equally cerebral and regal. Yet the tonality of the actual language used, remains nothing less than that which one has come to wholeheartedly expect from surely one of the twentieth century’s greatest of poets.

Yetr, what set Auden apart from so many of his contemporaries, was his uncanny and sometimes audacious ability to wax lyrical without ever falling into the trap of taking his eye off the ball. A facet of both thinking and writing, that still isn’t all too easy to accommodate. As not only was his writing simultaneously succinct and elaborate, it was anchored in being acutely fundamental: ”[…] ”there is no comprehensible relationship between the moral quality of a maker’s life and the aesthetic value of the works he makes;” the sources of every artist’s art ”are what Yeats called ‘the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart,’ its lusts, its hatreds, its envies.””

Suffice to say, the above is a mere tip of the extraordinary, literary iceberg contained within these 509 pages (excluding seven sections of Appendix, numerous Textual Notes and an Index of Titles ad Books Reviewed). From the very outset of Prose 1963-1968, Auden testifies to his own resounding translucent belief, where, in a Foreword to The Plough and the Pen: Writings from Hungary, 1930-1956, he writes: ”[…] in deceiving others, I cannot help knowing that I am telling a lie. I can, of course, choose to avoid learning certain facts because I am afraid of the truth and prefer to remain in ignorance, as the average German under Hitler, though he knew that concentration camps existed, preferred not to think about them […]. We must not, of course, imagine that political freedom in itself guarantees the creation of good art; indeed one of the most obvious characteristics of any country where there is freedom of speech and publication is the vast quantity of rubbish which gets spoken and printed. Persons with a love of and a talent to perceive and utter it are, unfortunately, a minority, but only under conditions of freedom can this minority develop its powers and have an influence.”

Hopefully, what I’ve written will give just some indication as to the sheer breadth and depth of W.H. Auden – Prose 1963-1968. To simply call it an altogether wonderful book could be construed as getting off too lightly, but in truth, that really is what it is: ”The articles will delight any reader with their wit, charm, and elegance (Charles Rosen, New York Review of Books).

David Marx

What W.H. Auden Can Do For You

What WH Auden Can Do For You

What W.H. Auden Can Do For You
By Alexander McCall Smith
Princeton University Press – £13.95

”The moral certainties of the Left are comfortable for those who feel themselves rejected, and a sexual nonconformist might well find such circles welcoming […]. Those moral certainties also offer a new you.”

The above quote, taken from the fifth chapter (‘The Poet as Voyager’) of this altogether rather splendid read, certainly makes one think – while instantly bequeathing the reader with an abundance of political, as well as philosophical food for thought. As such, one of the fundamental attractions of What W. H. Auden Can Do For You lies just as much in the author himself, as it does the all looming and continuing trajectory of his subject.

By way of appealing to those interested in Alexander McCall Smith as a novelist and Auden as one of the greatest poets of our time (at the same time), these twelve chapters are, if nothing else, a charming account of how a relationship between a budding writer and his colossus of an influence, can, over many years, come to bountiful fruition.

It is as the author of Early Auden and Later Auden, Edward Mendelson has written: ”This is not only a convincing account of W.H. Auden’s poetry and life. It is also a self-portrait of McCall Smith himself and a testimony to the wisdom and courage he has found in Auden’s poems. This is a valuable and memorable book.” Valuable, might I add, because of some of the brave and open, yet quasi-contentious consideration throughout: ”[…] Auden has been taken to task for trying to be too clever, for using words for effect and without real regard to their meaning, and for being juvenile. There are other charges against him: in particular, he was famously criticized by the poet Philip Larkin for turning his back on political and social engagement in favour of the self-indulgent and the frivolous – a criticism that has lingered and is still occasionally encountered” (‘Love Illuminates Again’). And Memorable, because of some of the book’s many astounding declarations of common-sense: ”Understanding helps us deal with most threats, and seeking to understand must be our first response to evil, just as it is to anything else with which we have to deal. But there will be limits to our understanding, as Auden points out in ”If I Could Tell You.” Some things, we come to learn, just are” (‘If I Could Tell You I Would Let You Know’).

Entertainingly dense yet poetically informative, I found What W.H. Auden Can Do For You a more than inspiring read, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone remotely interested in poetics and the sometimes shameful ways of the world.

David Marx

Jews In Berlin


Jews in Berlin
By Andreas Nachama, Julius H. Schoeps and Hermann Simon
Berlinica – £20.00

The thirties, once described by the poet W.H. Auden with such devastating force in ”September 1, 1939,’ as a ”low dishonest decade,” were years during which Germany descended into what was probably the greatest moral disaster of its history.

No-where was this more horribly pronounced than in the country’s capital city of Berlin, still one of the most exciting and greatest of cities in the world, although as written in the Forward herein: ”The city associated with glamour, decadence, sophistication and terror has become a city of serious scholarship and research on Central European Jewry, which, of course, includes glamour, decadence, sophistication and terror.”

To be sure, in the fifth chapter of this rather wonderful, at times poignant, and all round informative book (‘Jews during the Period of National Socialism (1933 – 1945)),’ Hermann Simon leaves no ghastly ideological stone unturned – especially in relation to the city’s Jewish population: ”The transports followed one after another until, on Frebruary 27, 1943, the so-called ”Factory Action” took place. More than 11,000 Jews had been working in armaments factories. They were arrested on the job and deported. Berlin was now considered ”free of Jews!” The expression comes from Goebbels, who needed a new success bulletin to take people’s minds off the defeat at Stalingrad.”

In and of itself, the last sentence is as inflamatory as it is fundamentally hard to believe.

Not only was the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) a complete and utter disaster for Germany; it’s close to impossible to believe, let alone imagine, that the ruinous deportation of Berlin’s remaining Jews, would constitute as a ”success bulletin.”

Whether or not at the time it (subliminally) did, is yet another chapter in the city’s dark and quintessentially chequered history. An unfortunate chapter that could well warrant a book in its own right, for as Simon further clarifies, Goebbels most defiantly gave it his utmost: ”He entered into his diary: ”The rest of Berlin’s Jews are finally being forced to go; as of February 28, they will all be put in camps and then deported, up to 20,000 per day. My goal is to make Berlin completely free of Jews by mid or at the latest the end of March.”

Assimilate such madness as you will, but there’s no doubting that the key words in the above paragraph are quintessentially chequered history, which Jews in Berlin really does cover and portray magnificently.

From the very outset, wherein authoress Claudia-Ann Flumenbaum states: ”The earliest trace of Jewish history in the area is a gravestone dating back from 1244 found in the western district of Spandau, once an independent city. This was the same year that Coelln’s sister city, Berlin (which wouldn’t give its name to the entire city until 1709), is first mentioned in an official document. The year 1244 thus marks both the first official mention of Berlin and of the region’s Jews” (‘From the Beginnings until 1789’); right through to where Judith Kessler and Andre Anchuelo semi-conclude with: ”The exotic combination of West Berlin’s solidity and East Berlin’s optimistic spirit has contributed to the fact that young Israelis and Americans prefer to take up residence in old Berlin neighbourhoods, rather than locating in Paris or Rome. The decades long condemnation of the ”land of the perpetrators” is apparently over” (‘Jewish Life after Reunification (1990 – present’)); Jews in Berlin covers a tumultuous terrain.

A deeply entrenched terrain that is all the more enhanced by the varying tonality of the several writers involved.

Along with an array of black and white as well as colour photographs, predominantly Jewish newspaper headlines – which still resonate with a clarity of authenticity and power – a Jewish related Chronology of the city and a superb Selected Bibliography, these 300 pages are more than likely to touch many a heart of the inquisitive, humane persuasion.

As Carol Kahn Straus so eloquently reminds us in the book’s aforementioned Forward: ”the secret of redemption lies in remembrance.”

And once again, no-where on earth is this more pronounced than in Berlin.

David Marx