Monday, June 13, 2011

Erik Larson

Erik Larson's new book is In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin: The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

From Larson's Q & A with Randy Dotinga at the Christian Science Monitor:

Q: With her great interest in the opposite sex and her flirtatious lifestyle, Martha Dodd [the ambassador's daughter] has been called a kind of Carrie "Sex and the City" Bradshaw in Berlin, although Martha seems much more intelligent and seductive to me. Is that comparison fair to her?

I've also heard her compared to Paris Hilton. But Martha was a complex character. That seems to be coming through to readers. Some readers are critical of her and me for writing about her: They see her as flighty and kind of promiscuous and all of that. But a lot of people see her as a compelling character. She was liberated at a time when that wasn't always the case for women.

I'm the father of three daughters, and I thank God I don't have a daughter who's like Martha. On the other hand, she's obviously a smart woman and sexy in her own way.

Would I have liked to have dated her? You bet. Would I have sought her out as a good friend? I don't know.

Q: What surprised you as you researched your book?

I was never concretely aware of the extent of anti-Semitism in the United States and in...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue