For those who have followed the Libris story so far, the contract which was Libris’s ‘best news’ on our last news post, but which could not be revealed then, can be now. In Spring 2005, to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, we will be publishing Sebastian Haffner’s Germany: Jekyll and Hyde, first published by Secker and Warburg in 1940. The Libris edition, subtitled ‘An Eyewitness Analysis of Nazi Germany’, will be introduced by Neal Ascherson.
This highly personal analysis is like no other. Haffner was an untypical émigré (neither Jewish nor leftwing, but from a liberal conservative family). He left Germany for England relatively late – in November 1938 – in order to marry a German Jewish woman (a criminal offence in Hitler’s Germany). His analysis is not only very well-informed but, as it was begun in September 1939 and finished in January 1940, and thus was written before the subsequent Holocaust made objective analysis of Germany so difficult, its gaze is unusually steady and its conclusions sober and level-headed. Ian Kershaw (Hitler’s biographer) writes:
‘Sebastian Haffner’s book is unmatched as a contemporary analysis of the Third Reich. It is quite remarkable that, writing in 1940, he could produce such acute insights into Hitler’s character and ‘political hold over Germany.’
Other declassified Libris news is that Changing Countries (edited by Marian Malet and Anthony Grenville) and Richard Dove’s Journey of No Return will appear as Libris paperbacks, also in Spring 2005 (click on these titles for publication details). We have just taken delivery of a handsome German edition of Richard Dove’s book (Parthas, Berlin). This brings up to three the number of Libris titles translated into German; the others are Richard Dove’s biography of Ernst Toller (Steidl, Göttingen), and Jenny Williams’s of Hans Fallada (Aufbau, Berlin). For any German publisher listening, German-language rights to Changing Countries are still available through our agents Mohrbooks, Zurich.
Photograph by Jane Bown c. Observer