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The Oppermanns

Introduction by Cohen
Published by McNally Editions
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

About The Author

Lion Feuchtwanger (1884–1958) was known in the 1920s as a bestselling historical novelist, a frequent collaborator with Bertolt Brecht, and an early, outspoken critic of the Nazi movement. Forced into exile in France, Feuchtwanger and his wife were interned by the Vichy government during World War II. They escaped to the United States and settled in Pacific Palisades, where they became central figures in the émigré community that included Brecht as well as Thomas and Heinrich Mann, among many others.

Product Details

  • Publisher: McNally Editions (October 18, 2022)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781946022370

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Raves and Reviews

“Feuchtwanger’s masterpiece . . . At once unbearable and unputdownable.”

– Claire Messud, Harper's

"As for Feuchtwanger, the same year that The Oppermanns was published, the German Jewish author was stripped of his citizenship and had his property in Berlin seized and his books burned . . . He ultimately escaped to the United States, where he lived for the last 17 years of his life. Is this still the same country where he’d find refuge?"

– Pamela Paul, New York Times

"A long-forgotten masterpiece published in 1933 and recently reissued with a revised translation by the novelist Joshua Cohen . . . The novel is an emotional artifact, a remnant of a world sick with foreboding, incredulity, creeping fear, and—this may feel most familiar to us today—the impossibility of gauging whether a society is really at the breaking point."

– Gal Beckerman, The Atlantic

"Readers will be struck by how little the language about White supremacy, antisemitism, the swapping of lies for facts, the discrediting of the press, and the embrace of violence over reason has changed. It's hard to imagine a 90-year-old book being more timely."

– Kirkus (starred review)

"Feuchtwanger chronicles the tsunami of antisemitism that engulfed Germany and its people in the years leading up to WWII in this harrowing novel, originally published in Amsterdam and in Cleugh’s translation in 1933, and revised with an introduction by Pulitzer winner Joshua Cohen . . . For readers discovering this clear-eyed account now, it’s made all the more devastating by the vast scope of horrors it anticipated."

– Publishers Weekly

"The Oppermanns presents how extinction feels from the inside. The habits that once kept you alive, passed on from generation to generation, no longer work. Everything you thought would prepare you for future success instead narrows your chances of survival. The news from 1933 is still news, if we know how to listen to it."

– Marco Roth, Tablet

“The Nazi cloud deepens on the horizon. But anyone who has read Mein Kampf in one of its early editions will appreciate the witticisms a reading aloud of some of its passages arouses in [the Oppermanns’] circle. When all else fails they can always fall back on ‘The Leader’s’ German prose for entertainment. They refuse to believe that such a fellow can ever come to power over the German folk . . . And so this novel is addressed to the German people, who will not be allowed to read it, urging them to open their eyes. And it is addressed to the world outside bearing the message ‘Wake up! The barbarians are upon us!’”

– Fred T. Marsh, New York Times

“Solid and exciting, conceived and realized by an artist, the best novel Feuchtwanger has written.”

– Nathan Asch, New Republic

“Feuchtwanger reveals the strength of his argument by understatement, for he is writing a narrative, not a tract . . . There are few novelists living today who can compete with Feuchtwanger’s rare gifts of historical observation and understanding of individual character.”

– Horace Gregory, New York Herald Tribune

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