This intriguing novel follows German author Thomas Mann during three crucial days in 1936. Away in Switzerland and fearing arrest by the Nazis upon his return to Germany, Mann must choose whether to travel back to Munich. He decides to release an open letter to the regime in a Swiss newspaper but is then tortured by doubt: his Jewish publisher in Germany will be furious with the unwelcome attention Mann’s letter is sure to bring, and by choosing exile, isn’t the writer abandoning his loyal readers back home? Will the Nazis burn his books? Will they confiscate his diaries, which include intimate, homoerotic confessions?
Britta Böhler shows us one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers as a family man, a father, a writer, and a man with moral doubts. We see a human soul trapped in a historical setting that forces him to make a seemingly impossible choice. A convincing depiction of a dilemma addressed only sparsely in Mann’s own writings, The Decision eloquently explores the all-too-human price of confronting totalitarianism.