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Address Unknown

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  7,538 ratings  ·  1,088 reviews
A rediscovered classic, originally published in 1938 --

and now an international bestseller.

When it first appeared in Story magazine in 1938, Address Unknown became an immediate social phenomenon and literary sensation. Published in book form a year later and banned in Nazi Germany, it garnered high praise in the United States and much of Europe.

A series of fictional letter

Hardcover, 64 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Souvenir Press (first published 1938)
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Angie Fehl Griselle is a stage actress whose show takes her across Europe. Griselle is Jewish and at one point her production takes her to Berlin, perhaps one of…moreGriselle is a stage actress whose show takes her across Europe. Griselle is Jewish and at one point her production takes her to Berlin, perhaps one of the most unsafe places for a Jew during World War 2, what with Nazi occupied Germany. (less)

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  7,538 ratings  ·  1,088 reviews

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Reading this article in The Guardian last week, which praises Address unknown as an anti-Nazi-novel that saw into the future, I admit I am frightened that the author is right concluding that the novel’s prescience is not confined to its time and saw into our own future too. In hindsight, it is this chilling perspective which makes the novel even more worth reading at present.

As originally published in 1938, this is a striking document as Kathrine Kressmann Taylor wrote on ordinary, liberal-mind
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Words have power. We readers know that as we find ourselves moved to tears, beside ourselves with outrage, or smiling at the foibles of our fellow humans – and ourselves.

Spoken words have power, too. Charismatic leaders and fanatic leaders know this, and know exactly how to put their words across to increase their own power. Generating and maintaining fear is one way to do it; taking credit for improvements that are actually the result of a previous leader’s efforts is common; and so is scapegoa
Mutasim Billah
"A short time before the war, some cultivated, intellectual, warmhearted German friends of mine returned to Germany after living in the United States. In a very short time they turned into sworn Nazis. They refused to listen to the slightest criticism about Hitler. During a return visit to California, they met an old, dear friend of theirs on the street who had been very close to them and who was a Jew. They did not speak to him. They turned their backs on him when he held his hands out to em
Aqsa (On Hiatus)
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Aqsa (On Hiatus) by: Jaline
Read for March Reading Sprint-2019 in Buddy Reads.

Believe me, you do not want to miss this book. It’s just 40 pages long and just read it.

“This modern story is perfection itself. It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.”

──The New York Times Book Review

This is written in the form of letters (which are easy to get into) between a Jew (Max) living in America and his best friend and partner (Martin) who has returned to Germany. You see how Nazi poison got hold of Martin an
Jan 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Address Unknown by Kressman Taylor is an amazing little book. Shot and west but boy does it pack a punch.

The narrative consists of a series of letters exchanged between Max, a Jewish man living in California, and Martin, his German business partner and close family friend, recently returned to Germany; and this correspondence takes place shortly before Hitler takes power.

This tiny book (54 pages) really made a big impression on me and it only took about 40 minutes to read it. A book where not
“In 1939, Simon & Schuster brought out ‘Address Unknown’ as a book and sold fifty thousand copies — a huge number in those years. A quote from The New York Times Book Review stated:
This modern story is perfection itself. It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.”
(From the foreword)

At the end of 1938, this was first published in “Story”, a literary magazine, and the issue sold out in ten days. Today, we’d say it went viral. It’s easy to see why, and also why they to
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Flannery by: Elizabeth
I am updating this because it referenced a review that is no longer available on GR. (the reader removed her profile a few years back) Anyway, I was browsing Goodreads back in 2012 and saw a review for this book from someone with amazing taste in books. I'd never heard of the book before but she rarely gave books five stars so I was intrigued. I immediately put it on hold at my library and read it as soon as I got home. I was skeptical about the claims made about the book, including the front co ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars. What a book. Correspondence between two men who had had an art gallery in San Francisco in the early 1930s, a Jewish man named Max Eisenstein and a German, Martin Schulse. Martin moves back to Germany with his wife and two sons, and the book is a set of letters that go back and forth between the two starting on November 12, 1932 and the last letter to Schulse coming back to Eisenstein with Address Unknown stamped on it from Germany on March 3, 1934. Mr. Schulse had never received it, fo ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Follow the banality of evil through this exchange of between the lines and find one of the best horror stories ever.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars and more if I could give them. This was so cleverly written! So much is said in a few pages. I'm impressed.
It's a correspondence between a Jewish American and his former business partner who has returned to Germany. In the letters you read how the business partner turns to Nazism.
Jill Hutchinson
A GR buddy just read this book and it moved me to read it again since it overwhelmed me the first time. I stand by my original review from 2012

This is an amazing and disturbing little book....only 64 pages long, it packs a punch in every page. First published in 1938 and banned in Nazi Germany when released, it is comprised of letters between two friends. One is a Jewish man living in the US and the other is his Gentile partner in their art gallery who has, with his family,
Meredith Holley
One of my supervising attorneys is 88 years old. He basically helped invent tort law in Oregon and has been influential in anything you can name. The governor comes by to get his opinion on judicial appointments and whatnot, and in his prime, he was called "the prince of torts."

In my first week of working for him, he called me into his office. When he was 14 years old, he told me, the young men of military age had all gone off to war. This left the boys like him and the old men to work in the l
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful short story. Read it in half an hour, then went back to re-read most of it. Elegantly done as a series of short letters with a brutal twist - for both writers.

It's the story of two friends in America, one Jewish, one German, who own a gallery together. When the German returns home in 1933 things happen, relationships alter, and history overlays and rewrites friendships in unthinkable ways.

When I questioned my mother about this time period - she was born in 1923 - she said they didn't t
Diane S ☔
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this little book and was absolutely astonished at how much it accomplished in so few pages. Friends and partners, one Jewish, one German and the letters they sent back and forth from Germany to the United States, show the rise of Hitler and the changing viewpoints of the Germans as they came to accept them as their leader and hope for the future. Loved the way revenge was taken at the end of the book. Heartfelt and poignant.
Lisa Vegan
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody, especially those interested in history & social justice, like twist endings
Recommended to Lisa by: Chrissie
The edition I read has a wonderfully informative foreword by the author’s son. The foreword does give some information that gave me a clue as to what was coming in the story, but it didn’t really contain any spoilers.

A few of my Goodreads’ friends have read this story recently and their reviews and comments definitely piqued me interest.

So, wow! This story was published first in 1938, and I can see why it’s a classic.

I can’t remember the last time I so enjoyed a story, in this case told via lett

How do I even start? I finished reading ’Address Unknown’ (1938) by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor on April 26. For the last month, not even one day has passed without pondering on this short book. I simply can’t forget it. It is like a shard of glass circulating in my veins.

Frankly speaking, I underestimated the power of this epistolary novella while reading it and it took me a while to realize how heart-rending it actually was. Beware, it is easy to be fooled by its mock plainness. When I
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, history

"Empfänger unbekannt" (addressee unknown). A simple stamp, but in Germany under Nazi rule it could be a question of life and death.

What a story, short but powerful like a ram. Published in 1938, I am not surprised that it is experiencing a second wave of success in our days. It is a great answer when the younger generations ask, how normal people could become faithful and obedient to the Nazi ideology. What changed their hearts so? What steps brought them to such cruelty? I recommend all my Good
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
While I understand the significance of this story being published in late 1938, I found it hard to believe in the characters, so I never got invested in the story. Perhaps if I hadn't predicted the ending (or something similar to it), I might've felt differently.
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Address unknown is a short story by American author, Kathrine Kressmann Taylor. It consists of a series of letters between two friends over a period of sixteen months commencing in early 1932. After some years in America, Martin Schulse has returned to Munich with his wife Elsa and his five young sons, for the sake of their education. His good friend and business partner, Max Einstein runs their thriving art gallery in San Francisco, and sends financial reports along with personal notes. They to ...more
Lyn Elliott
A brilliant short story written as an exchange of letters between a Jewish American and his former business partner who returns to Germany from the U.S. in 1933.

Listen here:

Publication date 2008-06-20
Topics BBC Radio Drama, Afternoon Play
Language English
Dramatisation of the 1938 novel.

It is 1938 and two old friends, former business associates in San Francisco, exchange letters. One is an American German Jew, the other an American German who, excited and energised by the new Germany of the 1930s, has gone home. Attitudes harden with the seemingly inexorable rise of Hitler, t
It was interesting to read this short story in letter form about the sudden and violent rise in antisemitism in Germany in the 1930's while reading Russell Hoban's Pilgermann at the same time. Pilgermann recounts the story of a very bizarre and dreamlike excursion accross Europe and accross centuries in search of an answer to the same question of antisemitism. But these two books are very different. And yet, there are similarities. Pilgermann is weighed down with masses of Hieryonimus Bosch type ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Dennis Jacob Rosenfeld
I had never heard of either Address Unknown or its author, Kathrine Taylor, who published under the pseudonym Kressmann Taylor. This short story first appeared in a magazine in 1938, revealing the brutality of the Nazis against the Jews and anyone who opposed them in the slightest. But the heart of the story is how a heretofore tolerant, liberal German could gradually be seduced by omnipresent propaganda and the over-the-top promises of an authoritarian strongman.

Address Unknown has been publish
Thomas Hübner
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Address Unknown is a short epistolary novella with a fascinating plot and a strong message; it was first published in 1938 and its author, Kressmann Taylor, is today almost forgotten.

Max and Martin own a successful art gallery in San Francisco. They are not only business partners but best friends. The bachelor Max is a frequent and welcome guest at Martin's home and quasi a member of the family; the delicate situation that Max' sister and Martin have an affair
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A chilling artifact from 1938, given new relevancy with the rise of fascism (and the benign response to such) in this country currently. Really not even a novella, but a short story that packs an emotional wallop.
Jun 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is an extremely quick read, easily read in one sitting. What is amazing about this book is that it came out so early - in 1938, first in the magazine Story! It is about the holocaust, the consequences of a few letters between a Jew in San Francisco and a friend in Germany. How did it happen that the Germans believed in Hitler? How can long term friendship be so quickly stamped out? And what could be the consequences of just a few letters?
classic reverie
I am adding to my review below, after having re-read "Address Unknown" so I can compare the 1944 movie version which I saw for the first time last night and the short story. There are a lot of significant changes but the meaning is the same. Katherine Kressman Taylor decided to write this short story after traveling through Germany. The short story is of letters between partners and good friends, which start in 1932 and ends 1934. Martin takes his family back to his homeland in Germany and his J ...more
Taylor's son has written a beautiful forward that so aptly describes the book. I quote two sections:

"WHEN “ADDRESS UNKNOWN” WAS FIRST published in the United States, in STORY magazine in September 1938, it caused an immediate sensation. Written as a series of letters between a Jewish American living in San Francisco and his former business partner, returned to Germany, the story, early on, exposed the poison of Nazism to the American public."

"Author Kressmann Taylor, “the woman who jolted Americ
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Originally published in 1938, The New York Times Book Review hailed it as "the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction." In 1995, a year before the author died, it was reissued and gained the status of an American classic. After her death, it became a bestseller in Europe.

The novel is epistolary and roughly based on real-life experiences of the author. Two very close friends and business partners in San Francisco, California, a Jew and a German. The latter, a kind, liberal-mind
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An American Jew and a German are best of friends and partners in a rather successful art gallery in the US. The time is just before the outbreak of WWII, when Germany is under great economic stress as a result of the penalties and constraints placed upon it after WWI. The German returns to his homeland where he has bought a huge new family home with his newfound wealth. The tale unfolds in the form of a series of letters between the two. Great premise but the book is way too short. Due to the co ...more
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Born Kathrine Kressmann, she married Elliott Taylor in 1928. Her first and most famous book, "Address unknown", was initially published by Story magazine. As both the editor and her husband deemed the story "too strong to appear under the name of a woman", she took on the pseudonym Kressman Taylor, which she used for the rest of her professional life.

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