More Literature, Film, Mystery, and a Surprise, from James Pepper Rare Books
By Michael Stillman
James Pepper Rare Books has issued a new catalogue, this one being Catalogue 176. As usual, the focus is on literature, film and mystery, with most items being from the twentieth century. There is one major exception to this rule, which we will get to later, but all in all, those who have found items of interest in previous Pepper catalogues will undoubtedly do so once again. Here are some of the 142 items offered for sale this month.
Albert Speer is one of those figures that history has struggled to evaluate. A young architect in Germany in 1931, he was spellbound by a Hitler speech, which led him to join the Nazi Party. His architectural skills made him a favorite of Hitler, and he was commissioned to design many buildings for the Third Reich. Hitler would later put his skills to more practical use during the war, making him Minister of Armaments, where Speer efficiently pumped out arms under difficult conditions. Of course, much of this was accomplished through forced labor under the most inhumane of conditions. Speer would later deny knowledge of the more brutal aspects of the Nazi regime, though admitting he chose not to look when news came his way that would draw suspicion. At the end of the war, Speer was convicted at Nuremberg and sentenced to twenty years in prison, a light sentence for someone so high up in the government and personally close to Hitler. He was one of the few defendants to apologize for the regime's behavior, and acknowledge his responsibility for the crimes as a high-ranking government official. It will probably never be known how much Speer knew, and how someone with at least a measure of conscience and humanity could become involved in such a regime, or be so enthralled with the likes of Hitler. However, whatever one thinks of Speer personally, he was certainly one of the best chroniclers of the Nazi regime from the inside. Item 122 is a second printing of the first English edition (1970) of Inside the Third Reich. Memoirs by Albert Speer. This copy has been inscribed by Speer. Priced at $1,650.
From real Nazis, we go to fake ones, and Nazi refugees. Item 78 is Otto Klemperer. His Life and Times. Volume 1 1885-1933. Otto Klemperer was a great German conductor, who being Jewish, wisely fled Germany shortly after the Nazis came to power. He conducted orchestras in the U.S. and, after the war, returned to work in Europe. This biography was written by his son, Werner Klemperer, who is well known to American audiences as the actor who portrayed the Nazi commandant, Colonel Klink, in the television series Hogan's Heroes. It is inscribed by the younger Klemperer in 1986 to another great conductor, Zubin Mehta. $150.
Here is an interesting collection of literature: Playboy Stories. The Best Forty Years of Short Fiction. Edited by Alice K. Turner and published in 1994, it contains over 600 pages of short stories that originally appeared in the pages of Playboy, from writers such as Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Irving, James Thurber, and many others. This is a book for those people who actually did buy Playboy for the articles. The copy is signed by Hugh Hefner. Item 60. $225.
Item 114 is a copy of Stallion Road, by Stephen Longstreet, published in 1946. The following year, it was made into a movie, and this copy is signed by almost 50 members of the cast and crew of that film. Among those who signed was Ronald Reagan, who played the role of a horse veterinarian. It also contains the rare signature of major American cinematographer Arthur Edeson. $1,750.
Now for that chronological exception to most items offered by Pepper. Item 129 is a contract signed by Italian renaissance artist Tintoretto (or Jacopo Robusti). Tintoretto, so named because as a youth he apprenticed as a tinter or dyer, was a 16th century resident of Venice. Offered is a contract he signed to create two paintings, one of Lazarus' resurrection, the other of Moses receiving the law. The contract was signed by Tintoretto in 1572. $65,000.
James Pepper Rare Books may be reached at 805-963-1025 or email@example.com. Their website is found at www.JamesPepperBooks.com.