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Out of the Night by Jan Valtin

Out of the Night by Jan Valtin

Out of the Night  - The Memoir of Richard Julius Herman Krebs, Alias Jan Valtin

This is one of my favourite books that Active has, an incredible true story that is very inspiring. 

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"This is a historical document of the first rank, a biography, an adventure story, and in places, so it seems, a brisk novel. It is all these in one, and in addition the writing and structure are excellent. Before you start to read it you had better plan to take three days off. Its suspense is such that you will not be good for anything else until you have turned the last page. And then you will need time to think and to remember...Out of the Night will be misused in many quarters. The red-baiters will eat it up, but that will matter little so long as it is read widely. The fighters of the future will learn from this work many of the fallacies which they will have to avoid. Jan Valtin, after grave errors has at last made his contribution to the cause of the oppressed, and with more than good measure." - Franz Hollering The Nation, Jan 18 1941. "This is a book by a man who began his life as a European revolutionary and died in Maryland as a member of the PTA. This is also a book by a man who was a socialist when Stalinists devoted more time and resources to murdering members of the democratic left than they devoted to fighting capitalism. And this is a book by a man who experienced from the inside the dominant isms - communism, socialism, national socialism. It's the best insider's tour there is, better even than Koestler's Darkness at Noon and Trotsky's The Revolution Betrayed." - Bruce Anderson, editor of the Anderton Valley Advertiser, from the introduction. Jan Valtin came of age as a bicycle messenger during a Communist uprising on the German Baltic coast just after the end of World War 1. His life is an intimate insider's account of the dramatic events of the 1920s and 1930s, where he rose both within the ranks of the Communist Party, and on the Gestapo hit list. As eventual head of the Party's maritime organising, he crossed Europe, and the globe - professional revolutionary, agitator, spy,and assassin - including America, where a botched 'hit' on Party orders landed him three years in San Quentin. Captured by the Gestapo, he endured years in a concentration camp, engineering his release by convincing his captors he could work as a double agent. Narrowly escaping the murderous clutches of Stalin's thugs, who brooked no deviation from the Party line, he eventually washed up in America, where he wrote this memoir - an unlikely bestseller that sold over a million copies in 1941. A brilliant, humble account of a young life filled with idealism and devotion, disillusionment and loss, in a world full of revolutionary promise and totalitarian reaction. Selected as a Book Of The Month Club, they described it as "....full of sensational revelations and interspersed with episodes of daring, of deserate conflict, of torture, and of ruthless conspiracy...It is, first of all, an autobiography the like of which has seldom been." "An exciting, real book without a trace of unnecessary melodrama." - H G Wells.

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