"Dragon’s Teeth" is the third in the eleven part classic Lanny Budd series written by Upton Sinclair in 1942. It was the most celebrated of the eleven book series because Upton was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1943 for this book. The book covers the period of 1929 to 1934.
I read this book first because it was the only new issued hardbound copy available on Amazon.com. At the beginning of the book, the protagonist and art expert extraordinaire, Lanny Budd is recently married to a 23 million dollar heiress, Irma Barnes. Irma is expecting and she and Lanny become the parents of a baby girl, Frances.
Not having read "World’s End and Between Two Worlds", the first two books in this magnificent epic series, I found the first few hundred pages somewhat less than exciting. My patience and perseverance was rewarded..
In the beginning there is a fabulous yachting cruise around the Mediterranean and North Sea with Lanny, Irma and the fabulously wealthy Dutch Jewish Robin family, headed by the father Johannes Robin. Lanny’s step-sister, Bess, has married Hansi, one of the two Robin sons and a violin virtuoso. There was joy and delight with the extravagant trip amongst the families on board the yacht as they visited many cities in many different countries. But suddenly everything changed as the pleasure and delight that was being enjoyed on the cruise comes to an abrupt end.
"Dragon’s Teeth" covers the rise of Nazism and Hitler’s total control over the German people. Included in this period and which Lanny is witness to is the Blood Purge. The dates are between June 30th and July 2nd, 1934. This purge results in the political executions of hundreds of critics and enemies of Hitler. As a result of this purge the Nazi’s now have complete and absolute control of Germany. The purge strengthened and consolidated the support of the Reichswehr (the official German military) for Hitler. It also provided a legal grounding for the Nazi regime, as the German courts and cabinet quickly swept aside centuries of legal prohibition against extra-judicial killings.
The ascension of Hitler, the SS and Gestapo instantly changed Germany and portended danger to all of Europe. Hitler had been working for years to remake Germany into a military power and to exact revenge against those countries which he believed had levied too harsh of reparations against Germany following the end of World War One. Hitler also believed the Allied nations make it difficult for Germany to recover from the ruination of World War One.
The climax of this brilliant story is Johannes detention and torture. The Nazi’s steal the Robin’s fortune because of his Jewish faith and because they believe that he has earned his fortune illicitly. His son, Fredi is abducted by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp set up by the Nazi’s for the eliminations of Jews, Gypsies, political opponents and other undesirables. Lanny uses all of his ingenuity and persuasive skills to successfully negotiate the release of Fredi from the Dachau concentration camp. I read the last 300 pages without a break.
I could not wait to read the other books in the series. I contacted Frederick Ellis about acquiring the other ten books. To my dismay, I found they were all out of print and had to be purchased on the secondary market. Frederick located all ten and I purchased them from him. Except for one, all of the books were Viking Press original first editions and near mint condition. I read them with the eagerness of a child who awaits Santa Claus. It took me about six weeks, some 6600 pages to savor all ten books.
I decided I had to make every effort to make these magnificent books (all were best sellers when published and were sold in over twenty countries) available for more fans of Upton Sinclair and 'world history' from the first half of the 20th century. So I contacted Frederick Ellis, who had published "Dragon’s Teeth" in a beautiful hardbound edition, and offered to help him to publish the entire series. He responded that he would like to do that and asked me to become a Patron of Upton Sinclair in order to bring the entire series back into publication.
Frederick and I will have published the entire series in beautiful, collector hardbound volumes. Only Between Two Worlds will be two separate books. The other ten books will be beautiful individual books. We will provide a website for the series and we hope, you the reader, will get as much enjoyment and learning as we have from reading these long forgotten best selling classics. Please visit our website coming soon at: www.uptonsinclairinstitute.com. You may also contact Frederick at email@example.com..
January 11, 2011