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Book jacket: Known primarily as a dramatist, Bertolt Brecht was also a gifted poet. These fifty poems--among them many ballads that later became part of The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, and Baal--reveal the tremendous range and versatility of Brecht's expression. His first and best book of poetry, Manual of Piety uses the traditional form of devotional literature to provide both an irreverant spoof and a serious critique of the post-World War I European (and more specifically, German) culture that gave rise to fascism. His characteristically sly wit combines with mordant social commentary to make Manual of Piety Brecht at his most hilarious--and also his most brutally incisive.