The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan by Jonathan Kirsch
A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

Reading this excellent, thought-provoking biography, one is all too easily reminded of Camus's 1942 novel, "The Stranger."
-WSJ online

Synopsis

"Reading this excellent, thought-provoking biography, one is all too easily reminded of Camus’s 1942 novel, The Stranger."—Philip Kerr, Wall Street Journal


On the morning of November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a desperate seventeen-year-old Jewish refugee, walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat. Two days later vom Rath lay dead, and the Third Reich exploited the murder to unleash Kristallnacht in a bizarre concatenation of events that would rapidly involve Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Hitler himself. But was Grynszpan a crazed lone gunman or agent provocateur of the Gestapo? Was he motivated by a desire to avenge Jewish people, or did his act of violence speak to an intimate connection between the assassin and his target, as Grynszpan later claimed? Part page-turning historical thriller and part Kafkaesque legal drama, The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan brings to life the historical details and moral dimensions of one of the most enigmatic cases of World War II. This compelling biography presents a story with twists and turns that “no novelist could invent” (Alice Kaplan).
 

About Jonathan Kirsch

See more books from this Author
Jonathan Kirsch is the author of the best-selling The Harlot by the Side of the Road and A History of the End of the World, the book editor of the Jewish Journal, and a longtime contributor of book reviews to the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
 
Published May 6, 2013 by Liveright. 361 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Philip Kerr on May 03 2013

Reading this excellent, thought-provoking biography, one is all too easily reminded of Camus's 1942 novel, "The Stranger."

Read Full Review of The Short, Strange Life of He... | See more reviews from WSJ online

LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by David Clay Large on Apr 25 2013

...Jonathan Kirsch manages to put some meat on the skinny frame of his protagonist and also to put a human face on his victim. In so doing, Kirsch has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of Kristallnacht...

Read Full Review of The Short, Strange Life of He... | See more reviews from LA Times

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by James Macgowan on Jun 14 2013

And while Kirsch has done an admirable job of telling Grynszpan’s story, he has oversold him as a hero. In the final analysis, he is closer to being just another tragic figure from a time and place that produced far too many.

Read Full Review of The Short, Strange Life of He... | See more reviews from Toronto Star

Reader Rating for The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 26 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×