In 1929, Dr. Frederick Ritter and Dore Strauch fled post-World War I Germany and settled on the dry, uninhabited volcanic island of Floreana in the Galapagos chain, west of Ecuador.
What happened to them and a handful of other settlers there became one of the most lurid and lasting scandals of the 20th century, prompting Strauch to write a book entitled, “Satan Came to Eden: A Survivor’s Account of the ‘Galapagos Affair,’ ” published in 1934.
The conflict among the settlers, inflamed by the arrival of a second family and then a pistol-packing, self-proclaimed Austrian “baroness” and her two young lovers, ultimately culminated in deaths on the island, surrounded by suspicion. The baroness disappeared, never to be heard from again. The story resurfaced in newspapers and magazines for decades.
“The story died down and the book went out of print,” said independent publisher Joseph Troise of Sonoma, who has put a new paperback edition of the book on sale at Amazon.com.
Troise intends the book to be the first in a series he plans to call “Out of Print But Not Out of Mind.” He was inspired to start with the Strauch book after Los Angeles filmmakers released a documentary on the case this year, “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden.” Troise had stumbled onto an original copy of the Strauch book in a thrift store.
“It’s worth $400 now,” he said.
After extensive research, Troise discovered he could legally reprint books that had become part of the public domain once the copyrights expired.
“My idea of reprinting rare and out-of-print books was spurred by the rise of the print-on-demand phenomenon,” Troise explained.
“The book isn’t printed and shipped until after it’s been ordered online.”