The Breaking Point: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and the Murder of José Robles
Historical biography focusing on the relationship of the two writers during the Spanish Civil War, detailing the progression of their friendship and final estrangement over the execution of Dos Passos’s friend, José Robles, by Stalinist forces. Koch’s unsympathetic portrait paints Dos Passos as a naïve idealist and Hemingway as an insecure egotist eager to restart his slumping career through his support of the Spanish Republic. Covers the spread of Soviet propaganda aimed at 1930s intellectuals and speculates on the extent of Hemingway’s knowledge of communist subterfuge during the war. Treats Hemingway’s protracted break from second wife Pauline Pfeiffer and tempestuous relationship with future wife Martha Gellhorn during this period considering Hemingway’s dependence on new romantic liaisons to rejuvenate his artistry. Includes endnotes but no index.