Jan Valtin was
pseudonym of Richard Julius Herman Krebs, author of the wildly
popular "OUT OF THE NIGHT." Now out-of-print, this was a seven
hundred fifty page book which sold a million copies in 1941 and was a
Book-of-the Month Club selection.
The autobiography of a renegade German communist agent, Jan Valtin/Richard
Krebs, the book described his intrigues throughout the world and capture
and torture by the Gestapo. Having convinced them he changed political
allegiance, he was permitted to leave Germany as THEIR agent, his wife
and son remaining as hostages.
Failing to gain Communist support for their rescue and afoul of
bureaucratic politics, he narrowly avoided kidnap to Russia and
execution. After flight to America he wrote the book, served 39
months in San Quentin, testified before Congress' Un-American Activities
Committee, was pardoned by the Governor of California for a
(deliberately) botched assault committed years before, drafted into the
Army, re-married and had another family.
He died in 1951 of pneumonia, screaming nightmares of torture on his
deathbed, by then being (of all things) a PTA member in Maryland.
The book is available used and, still, well worth reading.