The Breaking Point by Stephen Koch
Hemingway, Dos Passos, and the Murder of Jose Robles

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Synopsis

The thrilling story of friends Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos in the Spanish Civil War, an ideological adventure that brought their friendship - and their literary rivalry - to the breaking point The Spanish Civil War was a flashpoint for many artists of the era, and the political left's romance with its cause led many creative luminaries to Spain. Perhaps the most notable of these was Ernest Hemingway. Another important writer to make the trip was John Dos Passos, widely regarded at the time as the literary voice of America's new socially engaged generation. Dos Passos and Hemingway had long been companions, and it is likely that mild-mannered "Dos" was oblivious to Hemingway's obsessive resentment of him. Regardless, the two men arrived in Spain as comrades of a sort. In The Breaking Point, Stephen Koch reveals that both Hemingway and Dos were in Spain as part of a group sponsored by Stalin's propaganda ministry. Shortly after their arrival, Dos's close friend Jose Robles Pazo was killed as a purported fascist spy. Dos could never accept Robles's guilt, putting him at odds with Hemingway and placing his politics (and literary reputation) into question. Dos's career never fully recovered. Both a biographical portrait and history-in-miniature, The Breaking Point explores the time the two men shared in Spain, and how it affected each man, his work, and American literature as a whole.
 

About Stephen Koch

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Stephen Koch is chairman of the Writing Division of the School of Arts at Columbia University, New York. He lives in Manhattan.
 
Published January 1, 2005 by Targum. 255 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Koch (Double Lives: Espionage and the War of Ideas, 1994, etc.) revisits the rude coming-of-age for American intellectuals in a deeply thoughtful, trenchant examination of a literary friendship soured during the Spanish Civil War.

| Read Full Review of The Breaking Point: Hemingway...

The New York Times

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O what went wrong between Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, the two most famous writers of their generation?

Apr 17 2005 | Read Full Review of The Breaking Point: Hemingway...

California Literary Review

Hemingway and his Stalinist handlers chose a party–the choice of lovers the world over as the setting to end it without risking a scene–for Dos Passos to be told that Robles was executed as a traitor.

Apr 10 2007 | Read Full Review of The Breaking Point: Hemingway...

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