Milena

The Tragic Story of Kafka's Great Love

Translated by Ralph Manheim
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About The Book

A powerful portrait of loss, love, and survival in Nazi Germany.

Kafka’s great love, Milena Jesenká, to whom he wrote his most passionate letters, was a beautiful, politically committed, talented free spirit. At one time Kafka’s translator, she later became a celebrated journalist. Milena took an early stand against Hitler, which she pursued with vigor after the Nazis came to power.

As the head of a politically committed newspaper targeted by the Nazis, Milena was arrested in 1939 and sent to one of Hitler’s death camps, Ravensbrück. There she met Margarete Buber-Neumann, a fellow political prisoner, also a writer and opponent of Nazism. This book portrays a unique and remarkable friendship between the two women, a bond that helped them endure. They made a pact: if they survived, they would write a book together; if only one made it, she would tell the story. Three weeks before D-day, Milena died in the camp. Thus it fell to Buber-Neumann to tell Milena’s story. This book is a full biography of Milena, from her strict childhood in Prague to her love affair with Franz Kafka. By artfully and discreetly interweaving images of Ravensbrück with episodes from Milena’s life, the author avoids repeating the already well-documented accounts of concentration camps. She gives us a lesson in humanity and dignity, and an unforgettable homage to friendship.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Arcade, Good Books, Sports Publishing, and Yucca imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Our list includes biographies on well-known historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Nelson Mandela, and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as villains from history, such as Heinrich Himmler, John Wayne Gacy, and O. J. Simpson. We have also published survivor stories of World War II, memoirs about overcoming adversity, first-hand tales of adventure, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Arcade (May 6, 2014)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781628723298

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Raves and Reviews

“A remarkable story of courage and survival.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Inspiring and sobering.” —The New York Times

“A remarkable story of courage and survival.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Inspiring and sobering.” —The New York Times

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