Berlin in Lights: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1918-1937
Derlin in Lights, chosen as a New York Times Notable Book, is the collection of German aristocrat Harry Kessler's diaries between the two world wars. Count Harry Kessler (1868-1937), the son of a German banker and an Irish beauty, was a diplomat and publisher who moved easily among the worlds of art, politics, and society. He lived in Berlin but traveled throughout Europe, always with a keen eye to the political climate of the times. His diaries encompass an extraordinary variety of people: Einstein engages him in long discussions on his theories, and Josephine Baker dances naked in Kessler's drawing room. Kessler had lunch with Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill, and Erik Satie, and dinner with Max Reinhardt, George Grosz, Virginia Woolf, Jean Cocteau, and Andre Gide, to name a few. His diaries encapsulate this tumultuous time frame, recording at first hand the agonizing collapse and death of Weimar Germany and the arrival of the Nazis. Beautifully written, the diaries provide rare insight into the frenetic, constantly changing mood and give us a brilliant portrait of Germany and Europe between the wars.