Erich Kahler was a literary scholar and an essayist. He studied philosophy, literature, history, art history, sociology and psychology at the University of Vienna. When the Nazis gained power, Kahler left for the United States, where he began teaching at Princeton and befriended Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Hermann Broch. Among his works are Man the Measure: A New Approach to History (1943), The Tower and the Abyss (1957) and The Meaning of History (1964). After his death, his correspondence with Thomas Mann was published as An Exceptional Friendship: The Correspondence of Thomas Mann and Erich Kahler (1975).