History Department

The Red Count

The Life & Times of Harry Kessler

“Laird M. Easton's The Red Count: The Life & Times of Harry Kessler can be enjoyed as both cultural history and ironic tragedy. And as comedy. . . . This rich and careful biography fills in the tragic fate of one more figure of goodwill and intellect defeated by fanaticism and unbridled cruelty.” --Harpers Magazine, August 2002

“Aesthete, patron, diplomat, diarist, peace campaigner, defender of the Weimar republic and exile from Nazism, this ultra-sophisticated German count belongs to a type that probably no longer exists: a moneyed and cultivated amateur whose brains and background brought him effortless access to politics, society and intellectual life in any capital where he set foot. . . . In the first full biography in English, Laird Easton describes Kessler's life in detail and well.” --The Economist, August 24-30, 2002

“Laird M. Easton . . . has written a thoughtful, well-researched, and fascinating biography of Kessler's life that is also a contribution to the history of fin de siècle avant-garde art.” --The New York Review of Books, October 24, 2002

Chosen by The Economist as one of the five best biographies of 2002.
Selected by the editors and contributors of The New York Review of Books for inclusion in The Reader's Catalog, a list of the best books in print.

Translated into German as Der Rote Graf: Harry Graf Kessler und seiner Zeit (Klett-Cotta, 2005).

“Uncommonly worth reading because of its elegant and fluid [style]. . . . Finally we are able to make the acquaintance of one of the most fascinating, politically farsighted, and culturally receptive Germans of the 20th century, thanks to Easton's vivid and erudite portrait. This book is truly an enriching experience." --Deutschlandradio, December 25, 2005

Listed as one of the best books of 2005 in Die Literarische Welt, December 3, 2005