The author of several of the major classics of modern European fiction, including Death in Venice, The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks, and The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Thomas Mann was also a staunch opponent of Nazism (which eventually drove him into exile) and a towering presence in German and European intellectual life for more than fifty years. Celebrated biographer Donald Prater traces Mann's life and work from his upbringing in Lubeck, through his years in Munich, his exile in the United States, and his last years in Switzerland. He analyses the image and reality of a man regarded both as arrogant and aloof and as a vulnerable and sensitive witness to the traumatic upheavals of the twentieth century. Particular attention is devoted to Mann's political thinking and his role in the rise and fall of Hitlerism. In Mann's development from nationalistic conservatism to a vigorous humanist anti-Nazism. Prater sees a fascinating and crucially important embodiment of the 'German problem' still so much of relevance to the Europe of today. But alongside discussion of Mann's career as an intellectual statesman, and the vast achievement of his novels, Prater also reveals the hidden side of a life dedicated to the pursuit of fame, discussing Mann's homosexuality, and highlighting the importance to his career of his family and his not infrequently complex relations with its talented members, many of them significant authors in their own right.