by Curzio Malaparte, afterword by Dan Hofstadter, translated from the Italian by Cesare Foligno
Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living.
Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved.
Kaputt is an insider’s dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing.
...[A] transcendent work about the admixture of high culture, bestial depravity and human sadism. Part autobiography and part fiction, it captures seemingly unfathomable history. No work has ever revealed more about the murderous blend of zeal and indifference that is fanaticism. Simultaneously mythic and wholly human, Kaputt haunts the reader forever.
— Wall Street Journal
A scrupulous reporter? Probably not. One of the most remarkable writers of the 20th century? Certainly.
— Ian Buruma
Frank, glamorous and gruesome, Kaputt delivers a unique insider's verdict on the damned elite of a damnable system.
— The Independent
Kaputt is a sad, astonishing, horrifying and lyrical book. It shows us the results of ideological fanaticism, racism, twisted values masquerading as spiritual purity, and the hatred of life, in their most personal and shameful aspects. It is essential for any human understanding of World War II.
— Margaret Atwood
An amazing and engrossing book...quite brilliantly done, crammed with incredible and terrifying stories.
— Orville Prescott, The New York Times
[Kaputt] is like a report from the interior of Chernobyl. Malaparte had gotten very close to the radioactive core of the Axis Powers and somehow emerged to tell the tale, simultaneously humanizing things and rendering them even more chilling as a result....Required reading for every citizen of the Twentieth Century.
— Walter Murch