Events | Book Launch: Thomas Mann's Los Angeles - Stories from Exile 1940—1952

Los Angeles | July 23, 2022 | 4:00 PM (PDT)

To celebrate the release of the book Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles: Stories from Exile 1940–1952 (Angel City Press, 2022), the editors Nikolai Blaumer & Benno Herz will engage in a conversation with authors Tobias Boes, Donna Rifkind and Alex Ross in the garden of the Thomas Mann House.

Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles: Stories from Exile 1940–1952 paints a vivid portrait of Mann’s experience through beautiful illustrations and about seventy brief, entertaining essays on literature, film, music, leisure, political thought, and more. As Mann and fellow émigrés used their skills to fight Fascism in their homeland, they also embraced and enriched the culture of their adopted city.

The Manns hosted a who’s who of social, cultural, and political figures in their modernist home, designed by Case Study House architect J.R. Davidson. Their circle included writers Bertolt Brecht, Vicki Baum, Christopher Isherwood, and Aldous Huxley; actor/screenwriter/activist Salka Viertel; Hollywood luminaries Max Reinhardt and Ernst Lubitsch; and musicians such as Igor Stravinsky and Arnold Schoenberg.   

Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles conveys the richness and complexity of Mann’s time in the city through the people and places that shaped it, connecting them to Mann, each other, and the present. 

The book, which is available in bookstores and to order, is published by Angel City Press together with the Thomas Mann House. On the occasion of its launch, editors Nikolai Blaumer and Benno Herz will moderate a conversation with three of the authors: professor for German Tobias Boes (University of Notre Dame), book critic and author Donna Rifkind, and music critic Alex Ross. 

This event will take place at the Thomas Mann House and is by invitation only.


Tobias Boes is the chair of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on the circulation of German culture in the world, and on the question of how German national identity is shaped by global forces. In his most recent and critically acclaimed book Thomas Mann’s War: Literature, Politics, and the World Republic of Letters, he traces how Thomas Mann became one of America’s most prominent anti-fascists.



Donna Rifkind is a book critic and author. She has published reviews in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Her critically acclaimed book The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler's Exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood tells the little-known story of screenwriter Salka Viertel and was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist.




Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. His first book, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His second book, Listen to This, is a collection of essays. His latest book is Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music, an account of Wagner’s vast cultural impact. He has written often about Thomas Mann and the émigré community in L.A. for The New Yorker.



Nikolai Blaumer was the Program Director at the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles from its initial opening in 2018 until May 2022. Blaumer earned a doctorate in philosophy from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) and taught at LMU, Bauhaus University Weimar and at UCLA, Los Angeles. Since 2014, he has been working for the Goethe-Institut’s Department of Culture. He is co-editor of the book Teilen und Tauschen (S. Fischer Verlag, 2017).




Benno Herz is the current Program Director at the Thomas Mann House Los Angeles. He worked in the online communication division at the Städel Museum Frankfurt, Germany, before joining the Thomas Mann House. Prior to this, he studied Theater, Film and Media Studies at the Goethe University Frankfurt focusing on digital aesthetics and interface theory. In 2021 and 2022 he taught a Digital Humanities class on European Exile at University of California, Los Angeles.



An event by the Thomas Mann House in collaboration with Angel City Press.

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