Some of the chapters in this book appeared in different form in The New Republic, the magazine I have been proud to call my home for the past decade. I thank my colleagues there for their support and intellectual stimulation over the years. Erin Leib, Chloë Schama, Francesca Mari, and Sophia Lear were meticulous and dependable assistants. Amanda Silverman was endlessly patient with my requests from the archives. Deborah Friedell went above and beyond in more ways than I can list here. James Wood was the first person to suggest that I might want to review books, and the first to encourage me to turn some of my pieces into a book of their own.
I conducted research mainly at the Library of Congress, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the New York Public Library. I give deepest thanks to the staff of those institutions for their help. I am very grateful to the Corporation of Yaddo and all the residents in June 2009 for two very happy and productive weeks there. Back home, Scott Adkins and Erin Courtney provided a stellar working environment at the Brooklyn Writers Space. At the New York Institute for the Humanities, I found camaraderie and inspiration.
I am lucky to have a group of friends and colleagues who are both brilliant and generous with their time. Jaroslaw Anders, Alessandra Bastagli, Blake Eskin, Arnon Grunberg, Katy Lederer, James Luria, Jenny McPhee, Zia Haider Rahman, and Catherine Toal all read and offered suggestions on individual chapters. I spent a lovely evening with Alicia Nitecki and Barbara Girs looking at original editions of Tadeusz Borowski’s books. Adam Zagajewski’s comments forced me to reconsider some of my initial assumptions about Borowski’s self-representation. Atossa Abrahamian conducted covert operations at the Bibliothèque Nationale. Tatjana Suchy and Martin Zelewitz