An ambitious and entertaining mix of history, adventure, and romance, Upton Sinclair’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Lanny Budd novels are a testament to the breathtaking scope of the author’s vision and his singular talents as a storyteller. “Few works of fiction are more fun to read; fewer still make history half as clear, or as human” (Time). In these three novels, as the threat of Nazism grows in the 1930s, Lanny progresses from international art dealer to international spy.
Wide Is the Gate: When his arms dealer father strikes a business agreement with Hermann Göring, Lanny uses the opportunity and his art world reputation to move easily among the Nazi high command and gather valuable information he can transmit back to those who are dedicated to the destruction of Nazism and Fascism. He’s playing a dangerous—albeit necessary—game, which will carry him from Germany to Spain on a life-and-death mission on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.
The Presidential Agent: In 1937, Lanny’s boss from the Paris Peace Conference—now one of Roosevelt’s top advisors—connects him to the president. Appointed Presidential Agent 103, he embarks on a secret assignment that takes him back into the Third Reich as the Allied powers prepare to cede Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler in a futile attempt to avoid war. But Lanny’s motivations are not just political: The woman he loves has fallen into the brutal hands of the Gestapo, and Lanny will risk everything to save her.
Dragon Harvest: Lanny has earned the trust of Adolf Hitler and his inner circle, who are convinced the American art dealer is a “true believer” committed to their Fascist cause. But when Roosevelt’s secret agent learns of the Führer’s plans for conquest, his dire warnings to Neville Chamberlain and other reluctant European leaders fall on deaf ears. The bitter seeds sown decades earlier with the Treaty of Versailles are now bearing fruit, and there will be no stopping the Nazi war machine as it rolls relentlessly on toward Paris.
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DUST TO DUST
Freddi himself wouldn't have wanted an elaborate funeral or any fuss made over his broken body; but funerals are not for the dead, only for the living. Here was his devoted Jewish mother, aged not so much in years as in feelings, and a prey to terror as well as grief. The calamities which had fallen upon her family and her race could not be blind accidents, they must have a cause; somebody must have done something, and what could it be save that her people had again departed from the ways of their faith and incurred the wrath of that most jealous of Gods, who visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of them that hate Him? It was Jahweh, Lord God of Sabaoth, it was El Shaddai, the Terrible One, thundering as He had done all down the centuries. Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of Hosts.
The Lord God of Hosts had given to Leah Robin, formerly Rabinowich, a husband and two tall sons, and to them two lovely wives, and to one of these a son; all blessings beyond price. But husband and sons and daughters-in-law all five had dared to treat with contumely the Law and the Prophets, to call themselves "modern" and to prate about "Reform," presuming to decide for themselves what was good and proper, regardless of all those commands which the Lord God of Israel had laid down in His holy books. The mother, though anxious in soul, had permitted herself to be dragged along; trying to keep her family about her and to avoid dissension, she had seen one ancient custom after another dropped and forgotten in her home.
El Shaddai the Implacable had waited, for such is His way. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers. ... The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.
Beyond anything which had confounded Job were the calamities which had fallen upon this happiest of Jewish families. The dreadful Nazis seizing first the father and then the younger son and throwing them into prison; robbing the family of everything in the world, torturing the son in unspeakable ways and finally throwing him out of their land a piteous wreck. A mother who had been taught from earliest childhood that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom could draw only one conclusion from such a chain of events; Jahweh was behaving according to His nature: the Lord God Omnipotent, who had cast out Adam and Eve and pronounced His terrible dooms, that in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and cursed is the ground for thy sake!
The inheritor of these dooms was now fleeing back to the ark of her covenant. Her son had been a poor strayed sheep, a "pink" sheep, tinged with Marxist hues, and it was too late to help him in this life, but at least she could prepare him for that resurrection to which the Orthodox look forward. He must be buried according to sacred tradition, with no concession to those fatal delusions known as "Reform." The stricken household was in a panic; and the estate upon which they lived was thrown into turmoil; for the mother believed that a Jewish corpse was dishonored if it was left above ground more than twenty-four hours, and it might not be buried after dark.
Rahel Robin, the young widow, had tended and watched over her husband for a couple of months; she had heard him pleading for death and had made up her mind that that was the way of mercy for him. She had no idea whatever that this so cruelly tortured body would ever rise from the grave, whether in its present distorted shape or restored to its original perfection. But there was no restraining the hysteria of the older woman. Mama wept and wrung her hands and tore her garments; at the same time she rushed hither and thither, trying to perform those offices which decency requires for Jewish dead.
There were many of her race on the French Riviera, but they were for the most part rootless persons, parasites and pleasure-seekers, as much tainted with skepticism and exposed to the wrath of Jahweh as the Robin family. Who among the devotees of fashion would understand how the fingernails of a dead person have to be trimmed? Who among bridge-playing ladies would know how to prepare a "meal of condolence"? Who among tennis-playing gentlemen would see to it that the mourners returning to the home washed their hands and forearms in accordance with the Talmudic formula?
There was a synagogue in Cannes, but Mama would have none of it; it was "Reformed," and the rabbi was so fashionable that he might as well have been an Episcopalian. But in the Old Town of the city there lived in direst poverty a few families from Russia and Poland, earning their bread by such labor as peddling, collecting rags, patching old clothes. They were real Jews, as Leah had once been; they had a sort of hole in the wall where they worshiped, and Leah had gone among them doing charity and had met the head of their synagogue. His name was Shlomo Kolodny, and he was no French rabbi of the Coast of Pleasure, wearing a big black armband at funerals, but a real scholar, a melamed, or teacher of the young; also he was the cantor, and the shammas, or sexton, and the shohet, or ritual butcher; in case of need he would be the undertaker according to the ancient code. After laborious days he spent his nights poring over sacred Hebrew texts and disputing in his imagination with learned ones whom he had known in Poland, concerning thousands of minute points of doctrine and practice which had been raised during twenty-five centuries of dealings between Jahweh and His Chosen People.
So now the chauffeur of Bienvenu drove in haste to the city and came back with this Shlomo of all trades, wearing a long black beard and a badly stained Prince Albert which he probably thought looked like an old-style caftan. In a Yiddish slightly mixed with French he assured the bereaved mother that he knew everything and would do it in style, and no "Reform" tricks whatever — "Pas de tout, Frau Robin, niemals, niemals will I drain the blood from a good Jew or put any poisons into him." He rubbed his hands together and purred, for he knew all about this lady whose husband had been one of the richest men in Germany and who was still important enough to be a guest on one of the finest estates of the Cap d'Antibes.
A great consolation he was to Mama. He hastened to assure her that she need not worry because her dear one was buried so far from home; if she so desired, a little forked stick could be put in the grave, wherewith he could dig his way to Palestine when the last trumpet blew; and of course the screws in the coffin lid would be left loose for him. As for the mutilations which evil men had done upon his body, they would all be repaired, and a noble young Jew would arise, transformed into an angel shining like a star. His broken fingers would be mended and he could play his clarinet for the greater glory of the Most High. Meanwhile his soul was comfortable in a sort of dove-cot in Hades, with an immense number of tiny compartments for the containing of righteous souls. This wasn't exactly accepted doctrine, but Shlomo had read it in some ancient text and Mama found it most comforting.
There are some of the old ways which are utterly impossible in modern days. The cemetery was up in the hills, and while city people have not forgotten how to walk, they have forgotten that it is possible to do so. The coffin and the mourners would have to be transported in automobiles, but the men would ride in separate cars, followed by the women, and when they came to the gates of the cemetery everybody would enter on foot. Tactfully the melamed mentioned that in his flock were a number of poor women who would make excellent mourners; they would expect to be paid only a few francs each, plus a meal, and they would weep copiously and make a truly impressive funeral. It was too much to expect that all the Jews of Cannes or even of the village of Juan-les-Pins would stop work and follow the cortege; alas, they wouldn't even know that if they met it on the street they were in duty bound to turn and accompany it a distance of at least four cubits. Who could even tell them how much a cubit was?
There was the question of the hesped, the funeral eulogy. Shlomo was competent to pronounce it, but he had never met the deceased, and somebody would have to tell him what to say. At this point the young widow dried her tears and broke into the discussion. The person who should deliver the oration was the dead man's dearest friend, the one who knew him best and had risked his life to get him out of Naziland. This friend was in Paris, and Rahel had telephoned to him; he had promised to hire a plane and arrive in Cannes before the day was over. Surely Mama must know that it would be Freddi's wish to have the wonderful Lanny Budd speak the last words over his grave.
This was embarrassing to the master of ceremonies. To be sure, there was nothing in the Torah to forbid a goy to speak at a funeral; but it would seem very "modern," and would trouble the Orthodox, into whose hands the mother wished to entrust her son's fate. Nevertheless, Rahel insisted: not merely would it be Freddi's wish, but also that of his father and his elder brother. They, alas, were in South America, and there was no way to consult them; but Rahel knew their minds, and Mama knew that they looked with disfavor upon her most cherished ideas. So there would have to be two orations; Shlomo would speak the proper conventional words and then dear kind Lanny Budd would say whatever came from his heart. Everyone who attended the funeral, Jew or Gentile, would know how much the two young men had meant to each other, how many clarinet and piano duets they had played, and for how many months Lanny had labored to get his friend out of the clutches of Adolf Hitler and Hermann Wilhelm Goring.
It was a mild day in early October, and Lanny's plane should arrive in time. The hour for the ceremonies was set as late as possible, and the bereaved women summoned friends by telephone. By various means word was spread among all Jews, rich and poor, who might be willing to attend; for it is necessary to the honor of the deceased that there shall be a procession, accompanied by convincing demonstrations of grief.
Rahel took a step which came near to spoiling the occasion for her mother-inlaw; she sent a message to a Spanish Socialist who was employed in Cannes and who ran the workers' school which Freddi and Lanny had helped to finance. Yes, indeed, Raoul Palma would attend the funeral, and many of the comrades would find ways to leave their work and pay the last tribute to a brave and loyal soul. The funeral ought to have been delayed for several days so as to give the anti-Fascists of the Midi an opportunity to make a demonstration of it. But since Moses hadn't known about refrigerants and formaldehyde, the comrades would do their best at short notice and later would hold a memorial meeting with music and Red speeches.
Toward the middle of the afternoon the motor-cars began to assemble in the driveway which circled the pink stucco villa of Bienvenu. Some parked their cars and waited decorously outside the gates, ready to take their places in the procession, and not realizing how this would mix things up. It was hard for modern people to understand that the men must precede the hearse and women follow it. Such has been the fate of the most holy customs in these evil days — people don't even know that they exist!
Six pallbearers carried the plain wooden coffin to the hearse and then took their places in a car preceding it. In front went the car with the melamed and the little five-year-old son of the deceased. His mother would have preferred to spare him this ordeal, but the grandmother insisted that duty required him to become familiar with grief, and on the way the melamed would teach him the words of a Hebrew prayer which would be helpful to his father's soul.
Next rode the men friends, taking with them various Jewish males who were too poor to have cars of their own. Behind the hearse rode the mother and the widow, heavily veiled; no one would see their faces or that of Freddi, which had been distorted by pain beyond power of an undertaker's art. Next rode the women friends of the family, these also taking a few poor women, to symbolize the fact that in the eyes of Jahweh all are the same; all are commanded to appear before Him in white grave-clothes of the same humble and unpretentious cut.
Slowly the cortege proceeded into the city of Cannes, and everywhere, according to the French custom, passers-by stopped and the men bared their heads respectfully. But apparently not one of them knew that he should walk four cubits, a distance of six feet, with the procession. It went by appointment to the school, where quite a company had assembled; at least fifty men and women, but they had no idea that the sexes should be separated. They were working people, with a few intellectuals; some were black-clad and others had armbands of crape; several carried wreaths, again being ignorant of ancient Jewish prejudices. They stood respectfully until the last car had passed, and then they fell in behind, carrying a red banner having two clasped hands and the initials E.T.M., Ecole des Travailleurs du Midi.
So into the beautiful hills which line the Cote d'Azur. When they came to the gates of the cemetery the cortege stopped, and the pallbearers bore the coffin to the grave. Three wealthy and fashionable friends of the family did not enter the cemetery grounds, but watched the procedure from outside, reading the prayers which they could not hear. The reason was that they belonged to the tribe of the priests, the Cohanim, who are not permitted to enter a burial ground, a place contaminated and perhaps a haunt of evil spirits.
Frequently the pallbearers stopped and set down their burden; this was not because they were weary, but because it was a part of the ritual. As they walked, the melamed recited the Ninety-First Psalm, full of assurances to those who put their trust in the Most High. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. So spoke the psalmist; he mentioned plagues and stones and lions and adders and dragons — but nothing about Nazis!
Several times male friends came forward at the pauses and replaced the pallbearers, for this is a way to do honor to the deceased. Lanny Budd had arrived at the cemetery in a taxicab and waited at the gates; when a friend of the family explained the custom in a whisper, Lanny stepped up and did his share. He had known the Robin family for twenty years, and had heard poor Mama wailing over her darling's dreadful fate. He would have done whatever she wished, even if it had included the most ancient custom of having the pallbearers walk barefoot, lest they should stumble over the latchets of their sandals.
The bier arrived at the grave, and the rabbi recited the Zidduk ha-Din, a Hebrew prayer; very few knew what it meant, but it had fine rolling sounds. When the coffin had been lowered to its appointed place the Orthodox ones came forward, plucking bits of grass-roots and earth from the ground and throwing them upon the coffin as a symbol of the resurrection. They said a Hebrew formula which means: "And they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth." Some of the Gentiles threw flowers, and had to be excused because they didn't understand the proprieties. The Jewish people wept loudly, because it was good form and also because they felt themselves at one with the bereaved women, exiles in a strange land and heirs of the man of Uz. When the dark-eyed, pale little son of the dead man stepped forward and with tears on his cheeks recited the Kaddish, part Hebrew and part Aramaic, there were few dry eyes in the assembly.
Shlomo Kolodny delivered his hesped. He said about the son of Johannes Robin the same things he had said about a thousand other Jewish men in the course of his long service. He laid stress upon the young man's piety, a virtue in which Freddi had been lacking — unless you chose to give a modernized meaning to the word. He laid stress upon Freddi's dutifulness to his parents and to his wife and child — virtues especially commanded by Jewish law. The melamed said another rolling Hebrew prayer, and then it was the turn of a young Gentile to speak for the Socialist portion of this oddly assorted procession.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Lanny Budd Novels Volume Two"
Copyright © 2018 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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Table of Contents
WIDE IS THE GATE,
Book One: Into the Lion's Mouth,
1 Dust to Dust,
2 Indoctus Pauperiem Pati,
3 A Young Man Married,
4 When Duty Whispers,
Book Two: Some Hidden Thunder,
5 Des Todes Eigen,
6 On Top of the World,
7 Spirits of Just Men,
8 The Dusky Clouds Ascending,
9 Shape of Danger,
Book Three: The Worst Is Yet to Come,
10 The Head That Wears a Crown,
11 Farewell to Every Fear,
12 Perilous Edge of Battle,
13 A Brand from Heaven,
Book Four: Truth Forever on the Scaffold,
14 When We Two Parted,
15 Need a Body Cry?,
16 Survival of the Fittest,
17 A Fruitless Crown,
Book Five: A Tide in the Affairs of Men,
18 Fears of the Brave,
19 Where Men Decay,
20 Disastrous Twilight,
21 Hazard of the Die,
Book Six: Through Slaughter to a Throne,
22 Put Money in Thy Purse,
23 Sic Transit Gloria,
24 True Faith of an Armorer,
25 O Freude, Habe Acht!,
Book Seven: A Hangman's Whip,
26 Perils Did Abound,
27 The Way to Dusty Death,
28 So Money Comes Withal,
Book Eight: The World Turned Pale,
29 Ignorant Armies,
30 My Life Upon a Cast,
31 Put It to the Touch,
32 And Win or Lose it All,
Book One: Seats of the Mighty,
1 Sweet Aspect of Princes,
2 Wise as Serpents,
3 Trust in Princes,
4 Plus Triste Que Les Nuits,
Book Two: Wrong Forever on the Throne,
5 Forward Into Battle,
6 Blondel Song,
7 Spain's Chivalry Away,
8 This Yellow Slave,
Book Three: Most Disastrous Chances,
9 His Honor Rooted in Dishonor,
10 Falsely True,
11 Time by the Forelock,
12 Observe the Opportunity,
13 My Life on Any Chance,
Book Four: In the Midst of Wolves,
14 The Jingling of the Guinea,
15 To Have a Giant's Strength,
16 Fuming Vanities,
17 Dangerous Majesty,
Book Five: Extravagant and Erring Spirit,
18 Après Nous Le Déluge,
19 Vaulting Ambition,
20 Mohammed's Mountain,
21 Der Führer Hat Immer RechtI,
22 Foul Deeds Will Rise,
Book Six: A Full Hot Horse,
23 Les Beaux Yeux De Ma Casette,
24 God's Footstool,
25 Slings and Arrows,
26 Pleasure Never Is at Home,
Book Seven: The Things That Are Caesar's,
27 Fever of the World,
28 The Stars in their Courses,
29 The Hurt That Honor Feels,
30 Hell's Foundations Tremble,
31 Courage Mounteth with Occasion,
Book One: Regardless of their Doom,
1 The Little Victims Play,
2 Cherry Ripe, Ripe, Ripe!,
3 Gold Will Be Master,
4 Portents of Impending Doom,
Book Two: Who Sups with the Devil,
5 The Pitcher to the Well,
6 Fighting the Devil with Fire,
7 Heute Gehört Uns DeutschlandI,
8 Face of Danger,
9 Time Gallops Withal,
Book Three: Let Joy Be Unconfined,
10 When Fortune Favors,
11 The Trail of the Serpent,
12 T'Other Dear Charmer Away,
13 Where Duty Calls Me,
Book Four: The Brazen Throat of War,
14 The Best-Laid Schemes,
15 Fools Rush In,
16 Where Angels Fear to Tread,
Book Five: Ancestral Voices Prophesying War,
17 Oh, What a Tangled Web!,
18 Grasp the Nettle,
19 Double-Dyed Deceiver,
20 They That Take the Sword,
21 Auf den Bergen 1st Freiheit,
Book Six: Let Slip the Dogs of War,
22 Mournful Midnight Hours,
23 Two's Company, Three's a Crowd,
24 A House Divided,
25 On with the Dance,
Book Seven: The Winds Blew and Beat upon That House,
26 Time Ambles Withal,
27 With Hell at Agreement,
28 The Sparks Fly Upward,
Book Eight: The Flinty and Steel Couch of War,
29 Secret Dread and Inward Horror,
30 Those in Peril on the Sea,
31 Even in the Cannon's Mouth,
32 They That Worship the Beast,
Preview: A World to Win,
About the Author,