“A deeply thoughtful, trenchant examination of a literary friendship soured during the Spanish Civil War… A whopping good literary tale… explored here by a master of the literary and the political.”

—Kirkus Reviews 

An eye-opening read that shatters the idealized mythology of Hemingway

When American authors John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway went to Spain in 1937 to witness the Spanish Civil War firsthand, the devastation they encountered was far from impersonal: As Spain was unraveling thread by thread, so was the relationship between these two literary titans. They had arrived in Spain as comrades, leftist writers-in-arms. But a real-life literary mystery unfolded when Dos Passos’ friend José Robles—a Spanish-born Johns Hopkins professor—disappeared. Written from a novelist’s eye for detail, The Breaking Point is the story of two lives at the intersection of friendship and murder, of love and death, and of literature and history.

A Note from the Author…

From the time when I was a kid, I revered Hemingway. His justly famous interview in the Paris Review became my holy writ. And despite his flaws and afflictions (the wretched man was dangerously bipolar, suicidal, and a severe alcoholic) I still believe Hemingway is one of the greats. A nice man? No. But greatness and niceness don’t always go together. Which this book proves.

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Praise for The Breaking Point

The Breaking Point is literary and political history that belongs alongside Homage to Catalonia and the best biographies of Hemingway and Dos Passos. It’s an important historical analysis of the Spanish Civil War, but made in the context of  the profoundly conflicted friendship of two American literary giants.”

 

—Russell Banks, author of Darling and The Sweet Hereafter

“What a gripping literary saga! The two heavyweight American writers of the Great Depression era—Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos—feud over the horrific death of José Robles. Written like a mystery novel, laced with political intrigue, and with the Spanish Civil War as the backdrop, The Breaking Point is one knockout punch of a book.”

 

—Douglas Brinkley, Director of the Theodore Roosevelt Center for American Civilization and Distinguished Professor of History, Tulane University

“Stephen Koch’s The Breaking Point is simply a masterpiece—a spell binding page turner that finally unravels the whole story behind the Hemingway and John Dos Passos break. Based on a solid sense of the real history of the Spanish Civil War and the nefarious role played by Stalin, this is a major contribution to both literature and history.”

 

—Ronald Radosh, Professor Emeritus of History, CUNY, co-author of The Rosenberg File

This well-written, well-researched book on Hemingway’s Spanish period was an eye-opening read that shatters the idealized mythology of Hemingway that other articles and books sometimes reflect. Fans and scholars alike will benefit from reading this book which is filled with details of the political complexities and intrigues of the Spanish Civil War and Stalinist propoganda of the times, while examining its affects on Hemingway’s writing and his brutal betrayals of his then-friend writer John Dos Passos and Hemingway’s 2nd wife Pauline.”

 

—L. Rodriguez-Florido, Amazon Review

L. Rodriguez-Florido

 

A fast paced, wonderful and insightful read. For those Hemingway fans who have gone through all of Hemingway, this book reads like the memory of an old friend. Hemingway is further depicted as a flawed and unlikeable man but a deeper understanding of the source of his talent and material is supported through the weaving of his personal life with the works he had produced during and shortly after the Spanish Civil War. Dos Passos is depicted as sincere and caring in his search for the truth of the demise of Jose Robles. The strained relationship between Hemingway and Dos Passos and thier reasons are carefully constructed throughout the book. The real hero of the book is Jose Robles himself, who silently haunts throughout the chapters. Dos Passos and Hemingway were American spectators of the Spanish Civil War. Jose Robles Pazos was the real thing, a Spaniard committed to his beliefs, rightly or wrongly, for the betterment and love of Spain.

 

—Amazon Review

About Stephen Koch

Koch is the author of two novels and five books of nonfiction, ranging from history to literary history and a handbook on creative writing called The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop. His most recent book is Hitler’s Pawn – The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust  about the life of a Jewish teenager who in 1938 assassinated a minor German Diplomat and gave Hitler his pretext for Kristallnacht, and had worldwide repercussions in the lead up to the second World War. 

Koch has steadily written essays and reviews about literature, art, and the cultural scene. One of his books, Stargazer – The Life, World, and Films of Andy Warhol, is now regarded as a classic discussion of Warhol’s films, art and sensibility. Read More…

About Stephen Koch

Koch is the author of two novels and five books of nonfiction, ranging from history to literary history and a handbook on creative writing called The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop. His most recent book is Hitler’s Pawn – The Boy Assassin and the Holocaust  about the life of a Jewish teenager who in 1938 assassinated a minor German Diplomat and gave Hitler his pretext for Kristallnacht, and had worldwide repercussions in the lead up to the second World War. 

Koch has steadily written essays and reviews about literature, art, and the cultural scene. One of his books, Stargazer – The Life, World, and Films of Andy Warhol, is now regarded as a classic discussion of Warhol’s films, art and sensibility. Read More...

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