Nikos Kokkinos in collaboration with Henry I. MacAdam and Thomas Sayers, A Coat of Many Colours: Max Kranzthor, His Family and His Plays About Herod and Spartacus, Szeged, Hungary: Americana, 2023 (eBook);  Athens: Eleftheroudaki (Pb). ISBN: 978-615-5423-84-0. 16 X 23 cm. 277 pp. with 30 illustrations, 3 tables, and 2 genealogical trees.

The purpose of this book is twofold. First, it is a biography of a European Jewish family, the Kranzthors, who migrated from Hungary to the USA near the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. A fully-referenced narrative of that family's history is here presented, accompanied by genealogical trees, charts, photographs, and correspondence – including a reconstruction of an unpublished Holocaust letter. The lives of most of the members – four brothers (Max, Jacob, Alexander, Samuel) and three sisters (Katie, Fanny, Jenni) – and their descendants to the third generation, are examined, in order to reflect interrelations and interactions.  Second, this book includes the full text of two historical plays with commentaries. How did they occur? After fascinating adventures through various American states (such as New York, Illinois, and primarily Texas of the silver rush period) and Mexico (of the gold rush period to the time of the 1910 revolution), a senior member of the family, Max Kranzthor (1853-1934), finally settled in Los Angeles just before World War I. There in the 1920s, after a change of direction to his career, from previously being a dry-good businessman to a real estate agent, and in his mid-70s, he wrote two plays. Both seem to have been aimed at the then embryonic 'sound' cinema in Hollywood: the first was about the famous gladiator-rebel Spartacus, the second about the famous (or infamous) King Herod. Although privately and fleetingly published, they have never been discussed or produced. They contribute to the long tradition of stage dramas written in Shakespearean style, featuring larger-than-life characters from both Roman history and Biblical history.

The book was written in collaboration with Henry MacAdam (Visiting Professor, Liberal Arts/Humanities DeVry University, New Jersey) and Thomas Sayers (Genealogical Researcher in Los Angeles). Nikos wrote the two parts of the biography (and appendices), with documentary help from Thomas, and editing help from Henry. Nikos also wrote the introduction and commentary to Herod's play, while Henry wrote the introduction and commentary to Spartacus' play. The rest of the chapters were written jointly by Henry and Nikos, with editing help from Thomas.





Part 1: Biographical Profiles of Max, Alexander and Katherine

Part 2: Biographical Profiles of Jacob and Samuel

Part 3: Max Kranzthor’s Spartacus: A Commentary

Part 4: Spartacus: Full Text as Published

Part 5: Max Kranzthor’s Herod: A Commentary

Part 6: Queen Mariamne and King Herod: Full Text as Published


 1) Special Claims Commission: The Claim of Max

 2) The Letters of Max

 3) The Bloch Family in the Censuses of the United States (1900-1940)

 4) Addresses of Max’s Immediate Family from El Paso to Los Angeles

 5) The Letter of Elsa: Notes by Maryelton Benton-Schutz (with Help from     Anita Kranzthor-Bargman)

 6) The Letter of Gregory

 7) A Selection of Photos from the Extended Kranzthor Family

 8) Genealogical Trees

 9) Comparative Table of the Dramatis Personae in the Plays about Herod and Mariamme I, from the Beginning of the 19th century to Max Kranzthor (1929)

10) The Name 'Mariamne' in the Plays about Herod