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Cover illustration byVíctor Rodríguez, 2005

The Hesse-Mann letters: The correspondence of Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann, 1910-1955.
by Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann. Introduction by Pete Hamill.
(6' by 9', Perfect Bound 232 pp) $24.95
Originally published by Harper & Row in 1975. ISBN 0-9742615-5-6
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The Letters of Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse originally published in english in 1975. Pete Hamill wrote an introduction, highlighting the importance of these 2 classic Nobel Prize winners and their correspondence.
“Both Mann and Hesse were charged with … energy. Mann, the resident of cities (particularly his beloved Munich) poured his uncertainty and his corrosive insights into his great first novel, Buddenbrooks, which was published in 1901 and sold an astonishing one million copies. The bourgeois writer had exposed most of the fault lines in bourgeois society, not only in Germany, but in most of Europe. At twenty-six, he was famous, proclaimed by many as a coming master of the literary twentieth century…., Hesse had solidified his literary reputation with Siddharta and Steppenwolf. One of their most attentive readers was Thomas Mann.

. .. the best of the letters present us with two fundamentally decent, sophisticated men grieving for the ruined world. In the 1930s and 1940s, they rail against the stupidity of war and the cowardice of diplomats, against the social savagery of the Nazis, against the blind forces of abstraction and nationalism. They brood about the fate of Germany and of Europe after the last shots have been fired.  They have lived through a time of extraordinary horror and yet they have not surrendered to despair or nihilism. Reading the letters, I feel like some privileged guest in a special room, sitting off to the side somewhere, listening while these men talk. A fire burns in a fireplace. Through the windows I can see snow falling against a dark sky. We are in the country of exile. Neither man has given up hope. Art will prevail, they insist. Civilization will prevail. Music will drive off the explosive rumble of artillery. Life will defeat death. Listen to them: they are speaking truth. Nothing else matters. “

From the Introduction by Pete Hamill
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About the Author
Pete Hamill was born in Brooklyn, N. Y. in 1935. He is the oldest of seven children of Irish immigrants from Belfast, Northern Ireland and attended Catholic schools as a child. He left school at 16 to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a sheetmetal worker, and then went on to the United States Navy. While serving in the Navy, he completed his high school education. Then, using the educational benefits of the G.I. Bill of Rights, he attended Mexico City College in 1956-1957, studying painting and writing.

For several years, he worked as a graphic designer, while studying at Pratt Institute. Then in 1960, he went to work as a reporter for the New York Post. A long career in journalism followed. He has been a columnist for the New York Post, the Daily News, and New York Newsday, and has won many journalistic awards. As a journalist, he has covered wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Lebanon and Northern Ireland. From his base in New York he has also covered murders, crime, the police, along with the great domestic disturbances of the 1960s. His work has also been published in all the major magazines, including Esquire, New York, the New York Times Magazine; he is currently on the staff of the New Yorker. Most recently, his essay on the Second Amendment for mightywords.com stirred controversy and argument on the Internet.

Since the 1950s, he has had a continuing interest in Mexico, living there for extended periods, visiting every year, covering the events in Tlatelolco in 1968, the Olympic Games that followed, and the earthquake and its aftermath in 1985. For six months in 1986, he served as editor of the Mexico City News. He has one additional distinction: he has been editor-in-chief of both the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

At the same time, Hamill has pursued a career as a fiction writer, producing eight novels and two collections of short stories. His 1997 novel, Snow in August, was on the New York Times bestseller list for four months, and has been published in more than a dozen foreign editions. His memoir, A Drinking Life, was on the same New York Times list for 13 weeks. He has published two collections of his journalism, a book about the relationship of tools to art, and a book about New York City, along with Why Sinatra Matters, an extended essay on the music of the late singer and the social forces that made his work possible. In 1999, Harry N. Abrams published his lavishly illustrated biography of the Mexican painter Diego Rivera. He is now working on another novel, and on an art book about the illustrator Thomas Nast.

Hamill is married to the Japanese journalist, Fukiko Aoki. He has two grown daughters, one a poet, the other a photographer for the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. He and his wife divide their time between New York and Cuernavaca, Mexico.

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Head First

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