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By the war’s end, Kessler saw clearly that the old order had come to an end and a new Europe was coming into being. Mr. Easton, the translator and editor of the diaries, provides an afterward describing Kessler’s life in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Kessler became a close friend of Albert Einstein. He lectured in America, urging a less draconian peace than the one imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. He founded the Cranach Press, which produced some of the 20th century’s most beautiful books. He also despaired as he saw many of his former friends embrace Nazism. Kessler fled Germany in the mid-1930s and died in exile.

But as Mr. Easton points out, Kessler left us “the rich tapestry that had been his life” in his incomparable diaries, a very fine gift indeed.

Stephen Goode wrote on art and culture for Insight Magazine.