tv Q A CSPAN July 25, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
why is it in your book? >> i have very few photographs. we can talk about why. but i have that in a particular place in the book because it signals what is coming next. the madness is intensifying. >> would do learn about mr. hitler that you did not know before you started writing your book? >> it is not so much -- well, i learned that his favorite movie was "king kong." but it was what people thought about hitler in these early days that i found very striking. >> what do you see there? >> i see hitler and his onetime friend and ally/officer, ernst rohm, a day -- it is hard to describe their looks.
the reason i included that in the book is because it captured their malignant thuggishness. >> what about ernst rohm? >> that was hitler's friend and enforcer, essentially, at the beginning of their rise to power. he was the chief of the storm troopers. and when hitler needed something done, there was capt. rohm to course of those who are resistant to getting it done. book? >> mostly, it takes place in 1933-1934. these early days. it is after the time that hitler was appointed chancellor, including the point where he becomes the absolute leader, the fuehrer of germany in the summer of 1934.
>> they are three things i want to ask you about in the book. there is the troopers. they were a group of men who were supposed to be, initially, hitler's selected guard. the best day --the gestapo was an entirely different group. it would be a secret police agency to keep tabs on political opposition and so forth. 1933. >> here is a photograph of a man named william dodds. who is he in your book? >> he became america's first
ambassador to not to germany. -- notprior to that, he was a a nazi germany. professor of history at the university of chicago. he was a mild-mannered guy. this photograph became the subject of some arrests in the -- mirth state department where people, senior men, were not married pleased that roosevelt went directly and hired dogs for this position. his dwarfed by a tapestry behind them and by his desk. daughter, martha. what is her role in your book? >> that is not her best shot, i must say. but there's a glance shot in my book. martha was his daughter. half the reason why i did my book was because of martha.
when she arrived in berlin with the family, she was in love with what she referred to as the nazi revolution. she was enthralled by the nazis. it really struck me as a surprising thing, given what we all know in hindsight. how can you be in trouble with the nazi revolution. it was not an unusual position for somebody to have. >> william dodd, who was a professor of the university of chicago, you say he was the first ambassador to the not too regime. -- nazi regime>> yes. . >> had did he become the fuehrer? >> hitler was appointed chancellor early in 1933 in a political deal.
those who engineered this deal thought that they could control him. there were proven wrong. he did not possess all powers initially. he was chancellor. hindenburg had word on who had power or not. but hindenburg died and hitler engineered not really a coup but seized, through various machinations, the power that hindenburg had and became the absolute ruler of germany. >> if we look at william dodd and his wife, natalie -- what role did she play in this story? >> in my book, she takes a background position merely because, sadly enough, there's
not enough material out there about her. she was an enforcer any family. she was charming and soft- spoken, southern woman. she finds herself in the midst of this cauldron of the nazi regime. she found yourself -- she really disliked lot of the nazis. curiously, she liked others. she liked, for example -- she was the hostess of the family, of course. one of the senior officials, they head of the reichsbank, she was always willing to fill an empty seat at the table. she let some of the higher-ups, but she was unhappy with all of the trappings and the kind of malevolence in the regime. >> you write a blog that anyone can look at.
when did you start that? >> if anyone would like to spend a boring afternoon, they can go to my blog. >> you said you were late to the gain. >>i started my website in january of this year. i started it because i felt that i wanted to communicate information about this book as the launch approached. also, i wanted people to know that i had written more than one book. >> in july, you wrote this -- "once again, i am stranded in the dark country of new ideas, as a friend of mine once described it -- -- no ideas. i wanted to go to the dark as before this book. how did you get out of it? >> that may explain what that means. whenever i finish a book, i do
not know why this is the case, i do not have a bad ideas to go back to. -- backlog of ideas to go back to. they all disappeared. i do not know why that is. i have a blank slate. for many writers, that is not the case. it is a hard place for me to be because i want to feel productive, but i cannot really have anything to work on. it is a process at that point of putting myself in the way of luck, trying to find my next book idea. this goes back to five years or six years ago. i have not been working on this for five years or six years. this book took about four years. i went to a bookstore in seattle, where i live, and i just started browse in the history section.
rye was looking to see what kinds of covers of books would appeal to me, what covers were an immediate turn off, what board may, just to get my mind thinking on different channels. i've found a book face out on the shelf that i had always meant to read, 1200 pages, tiny print, really intimidating. it was the rise and fall of the third reich. i had nothing better to do. i took the book home, started reading, loved it. but what really lit my imagination was that the author had actually been there in berlin in these early days. he came in 1934. i met these characters that we know today in social context as well as formal contacts. what occurred to me was what would that have been like for these people, when you did not know the ending? when you did not know what was coming down the pike? how would you have appraised them?
how would you have viewed them at that time? i started thinking about that more and more. i tried on some other book ideas. but it kept coming back. then i stumbled upon william e. dodd, the first ambassador to germany. >> where did stumble upon him? >> i started reading as many personal memoirs and diaries of that era as i could. at some point, i came across the william e. dodd published diary. i read that and i liked it very much. i like dodd as an individual. i like his story that, out of the blue, he became the ambassador to nazi germany when, really, there was no good reason for him to be an ambassador.
he had no diplomatic training, nothing. so i really liked that. i was not so enamored of him at that point that i wanted to hang an entire book on him. it was when i stumbled upon his daughter's memoir, probably soon after that, that i realized that these might be my characters. these might be the people want to follow into nazi germany. they both had such different orientations at first, but the undergo what i see as very compelling personal transformations. as you know, in fiction, you cannot write a good novel without having a character be transformed in one way or another. in nonfiction, you have to go with what you have. it is relatively rare to find people, let alone to people in the same family, who undergo a very satisfying real life transformation. >> you are still in that dark spot? >> now that this book is done, yes.
i am looking for the next. i have killed off a couple of ideas thus far. >> how many affairs did martha have that you could find. why were you able to find them? >> i do not know how many affairs she ultimately had. i can talk about a few. first of all, she tells us in her more and in her papers in the library of congress. she makes references to the people that she knew and became involved in affairs with. she was one of these people who -- we have all met them. we probably have all dislike them because you want to be like them. she's one of these people who
has immense personal charm before the opposite sex. even in late high school and early college, she was courted by people who would ordinarily be courting older people and more sophisticated women. she had that thing. >> let me show a picture of karl hamburg. did she and have an affair with him? >> she did. one of my delights in research -- i always do my own research. a large part is because of one of the moments i am about to describe. this one was going through martha's papers in the library of congress. in one file, as i was going to all of her papers, i came across, in a clear plastic archival envelope, two blocks of carl sandburg's hair, each
tied at one end with black coat thread. i found it absolutely charming. there they were. his hair was quite blind. -- blond. it was quite course as well. >> you put it on your blog, but you did not put it in your book. >> i think i mentioned his locks somewhere. >> i am talking about the photograph. it is not in your book. but we stop you there. -- let me stop you there. he made a comment earlier about your decision on what photographs to run and what not to run. we showed an earlier photograph of martha, but you did not put it in the book. >> that is for a couple of reasons. i wanted to have her more glamorous image in the book. i think that more captures how she came off to the people she encountered in real life. the photograph is very hard --
-- it's very hard -- you can see the one photograph and more than find yourself thinking that this woman was attractive. she had all of these affairs? quacks like that one right here. >> right,but she was -- i think the glamorous photograph captures better the sense of what people saw in her who encountered her on a daily basis in berlin. >> we will show some photographs that are not in your book. what is your overall philosophy of what to run and what not to run? >> i have a peculiar view of photographs in books. frankly, if it were entirely up to me, i would not have any photographs in the book at all. it is not necessarily my goal to inform. it is my goal to create a historical experience with my books. my dream, my ideal is that someone picks up a book of
mine, start reading it, and just lets themselves sinking to the past and reads the thing straight through and feeling like they have been emerged into another world entirely. photographs, as valuable as they can be, are a distraction in the reading process. if you have 10 photographs in the heart of a book, to me, it is like having a lighthouse in the fog. you want to turn back to those pages and that signature. every time you come across the passage involving someone, you kind of fun -- you kind of want to find out something about them. i do not want a signature in the book because marketing focus insist on photographs. i have come to a happy medium. at the start of each major section in the book, each of which are college park, part
one, part to, etc. that is where you will find a photograph. that photograph is not just stuck there. it works. it tells you what will happen next in that part, ideally propels you into it. you come across it in the course of your reading. you can find that photograph rally. -- readily. you cannot come back to it. you sit and read it and take the meaning of it and then you move on. in the next part, the similar thing happens. you are propelled forward. that is my philosophy. >> here is another photograph of one of her affairs. thornton wilder. >> they were very good friends. she carried a picture of him in a locket. what is remarkable though is that she had these friendships that were filled with such potent literary figures at that
time. that speaks to her compelling character. >> where else? -- who else? >> carl sandburg. >> but she also had thomas wilkes. >> of course, thomas wilkes occurs after the action in the book. 1934 is when the book is centered. he comes into the picture fairly late in the program. but they had a hot and heavy affair actually. he was a frequent visitor to the embassy. who knows? who knows how she was able to do it? but theirs was clearly a physical affair. >> leonardo dicaprio will be playing dr. holmes from your next book. that came out about eight years ago? that was the last time you were here. martha stuck out as a possible future movie. >> who would play the woman? >> scarlet johansson.
[laughter] i do not know. i think it would work best as a miniseries. it is hard to speculate. >> how many of your books have been made into a movie? >> none. some have an option, but none have been made yet. >> "isaacs storm"? >> yes. >> and do i have to deal with the pressure of having had a book like "devil in a white city?" yes. >> de fight this? >> do i have to deal with the pressure? yes. thank you for mentioning it. >> no matter what book is sold, you get something.
>>having had successful books puts you in the position of having pressure to come up with a winning idea that i feel passion -- passion is a strange word -- feel compelled to spend the next four years or more with. also, i have to be very much aware that there is an inclination to acquire whatever idea i put forward. so the pressure is entirely on me to, but something i can live with in that time. is a daunting to try to feel like i have to do as well or better with the next book as i did with "devil in a white city"? yes. huge pressure. >> tell us to this man is right here. >> this is one of my favorite characters in the book.
this is rudolph diels. he was one of the first members of the gestapo. the gestapo was formed in 1933. -- april. i have to emphasize first --he lasted in that job for one year and was replaced by himmler who was brought in by hedrick. but then the game changed entirely. they were thoroughly evil. to me, rolf embodies the complexity of this time. that is what the book is about, how complex the time was. and how hard it seemed to really peace together with the future -- what the future would be because of what was happening in 1933-1934. he embodies this sense of new ones.
-- not once. -- spurtedbecause he was not a member of the nazi party. he was viewed by dodd and others as one of the best men of the nazi regime. he was the menu when to if you -- he was the man you went to if you wanted to extract someone from daschau. this was not a camp for jews. it was a camp for political opponents. he was also a very romantic figure. he is a very handsome, at least from the cheekbones up. he was pretty heavily scarred. this was from a practice common among students called bear belated doing. -- their belated doing.
-- their belatedthey would fight with actual swords. the idea was to so mark your opponent in that you would become the victor. it was purely meant to demonstrate once courage and one's manhood. so here is diels marked from the cheekbones down. but he was very attractive to women. he and martha had become involved in would also appear to be a physical affair. >> how early in their arrival? >> the exact date -- when they became an item -- is not known. it was pretty obvious thatby the fall of 1933, it was obvious the they were involved. i don't think we found a picture of bora>> you have rudolph diels over is. here run in the gestapo. and then there is boris. what is that relationship? >> when martha made sam, that is -- when mark that meets
boras, that a little after she becomes is involved with rudolf diels. she was not opposed to seeing numerous men at the same time. she was far ahead of time in that respect. boris was 6 feet 4 inches, very handsome, russian, very charming. she meets mma party. -- she meets him at a party. as far as anybody could tell, it was love at its -- she meets him at a party. -- love at first sight. as far as anyone could tell, it was love at first sight. it was a very important love affair for her. she would describe it as one of the three great loves of her life. when she becomes involved with boris, she appears not to recognize something that everybody else in berlin seems to know. that is that it is very likely
that boris is an operative or in some way alive with the soviet intelligence apparatus, a precursor to the kgb. eventually, this becomes a very important part of the story. >> there are so many names and so many connections and all that. when you went after this story, where did you go? did you go to germany? how did you educate yourself? you were a russian major, as i remember. >> i was a russian history major. >> so is that you came to this? >> no, this was all new to me. when you study european history, you know some of it. i think most of us tend to view this time, 1933-1945, has won block of horror.
as of 1 homogeneously block of our and holocaust. what surprises me is how things evolve from this 1933-1934 time forward. the education to me was terrifically interesting. i went about the way that anybody would do it, you start at the outside, the great works of scholarship. let me say right here that i wrote this book about this one very narrow, but very important time, through the eyes of these two americans. i am not a hitler scholar. i am not the go to guy for hitler and world war ii. there are scholars who have written tremendous workers. -- works. richard evans and adam bullocks, you start with those.
you start getting a feel for the territory and start working. you start looking at personal memoirs and things like that, not just of my principals, but of the people they knew and who knew them and to make references to them in their works. then the fun begins. one archive became really valuable at the wisconsin historical society. i found some wonderful materials about and by people who knew and were friends with the dodds in berlin. that is invaluable when somebody else tells you about the key actors in your book. that was in madison, wisconsin,
of all places. >> to go back to 1933. connect the dots. you have dodd in the american embassy in germany. hitler is not the top dog. -- he is the chancellor. >> he is not the top dog again. -- yethe will be sent. . >> back in the united states, you have the president. >> and you have the pretty good club. a man came up -- to describe the nature of the diplomatic corps, it was very clubby. the senior guy was typically wealthy hand had gone to all the right schools, harvard, princeton, so forth. they kind of came from the same world. they knew each other. many were independently wealthy. most ambassadors prior to dodd were independently wealthy.
the club by the extends to the fact that, if you were not of that class, that character person, you were an outsider. dodd was an outsider. he did not go to the schools. he did not have independent wealth. this became a serious source of low grade and a career-ending conflict within the state department, between the club and dodd. >> you can imagine dodd sitting in germany and having the state department constantly undermining him as he tells fdr that we have problems here. >> fdr's mo was often to make an appointment himself without consulting much the person who was in charge of whatever department to appointing someone
to. in the case of the state department, it was roosevelt who pointed dodd to be ambassador to germany without consulting the secretary of state. dodd road handwritten letters to roosevelt about the real situation in germany. beyond that, you had 3 senior guys in the state department. it is not so much that they were not paying attention. it is not that they did not accept what dodd was telling or what the world was telling roosevelt. it was as though they felt that germany was kind of an irritant rather than the important center it would become in a year's time.
that was very interesting from the lines of conflict and force within the state department. i was startled by that. >> germans well known in this country, joseph goebbels. >> he was a coveted party guest at a diplomatic tensions because -- diplomatic functions because he had a great sense of humor. he was perceived to have a great sense of humor, a vicious sense of humor. i found that really intriguing, startling, actually. >> did you learn whether they spoke english? >> not really.
-- i never tried to learn thehitler never spoke english. . he made a point of speaking termsdodd spoke german quite well. . >> martha? >> she learned quite a bit of german. >> heinrich himmler -- these next three people all committed suicide by cyanide at the end of the war. >> heinrich himmler had ambitions to run all of the secret police operations throughout germany. he was a fairly mundane human being, an evil human being. >> how did you find out how evil he was?
>> history tells us that. during this time, no one knew exactly how awful was going to be. one has to be very careful. in my book, himmler plays a fairly mild, fairly minimal role because he does not take promise -- prominence in berlin until the march of 1934. himmler, the gestapo after that, the role in the holocaust, that is all known and obvious. at this time, however, he was considered a rather mundane individual, always the same kind of bland appearance. he looked more like a schoolteacher then this evil police agent. >> hermann goring was very fat.
he was a large man. he was considered one of the betterment of the regime. -- he was said to be a world war i flying ace with a lot of courage. it was more of a relative thing at that time. it was relative to hitler. people could withstand goring much more readily. it was found to be much more reasonable and rational at first. goring seemed to be a flamboyant 9-year-old boy who had a lot of power. he was a very strange character. the charming moment when mrs. dodd, martha's mother, is that a function at the embassy and
there are all of these little gilt chairs set up around the room for people to listen to this concert. goring sits in the chair in front of her and overwhelms the chair. she spends the concert watching him. -- she was chair -- she was terrified thatthe chair breaks and he collapses. it was a charming moment. >> this next guy is a giant. he is so tall, ernst hanfstaengl. he was a piano player.
he could play with some vehemence that you would not want to hear a concert. he was reputed to play late at night to help hitler calm his nerves. he would sometimes week with passion that he was putting into the music. his mother was american. he was a harvard graduate. but he was money member of the club. -- he was not a member of a pretty good club. >> what about martha and hitler? somebody attempted to -- >> he had some pretty wild ideas.
according to martha's memoir, he calls for a ban says, i think that hitler would be a much better human being, a moderate, if he had a good woman in his life. and he says, martha, you're that women. then he arranges this very strange encounter at the kaiser hoff, which is where hitler liked to hang out. he has martha and himself sitting at one table. hitler comes in and takes a seat at another table. he arranges a meeting between the two of them. tiller kisses martha's hand twice in this encounter. she sees him up close for the first time. he is a seemingly ordinary man with a boyish charm. but what strikes her is his
eyes. they have this almost hypnotic quality when they make contact. nothing comes of the meeting, obviously. she does not have an affair with hitler. there is that one moment and it is over. >> come back to the beginning of 1933. martha was 24. how old was your father? -- her father? >> dodd was, i believe, 63 or 64 when they first arrive in 1933. >> how long does he live, by the way? >> he died in 1939? it was before the war actually broke out and before america became involved in the war. he died of a neurological
problem that was made much worse by the stress in his time in berlin. >> i am jumping way ahead. there's a picture in the book of a golf course here in virginia. i guess you took it. >> yes. it was at dodd's old farm. he was a jeffersonian democrat all the way. beyond this farm that he just adored. -- he on this farm that he just adored. he love spending time on this farm. every summer, he would pretend he was a farmer. he ran it as a working farm. at some point, the family sold the property. ironically, it became this quite nice golf course. >> you mentioned that martha and mary dourly.
-- mark the was married early to>> yes. ? >> for how long? >> it was a very brief marriage to a new york banker. she was married to this guy after breaking two previous engagements. at the age of 24, she has already been around the block. she had broken two engagements. she'd had an affair with with carl sandburg. she had had affairs with other young men. she kept the marriage a secret from her friends. the only people who knew about the marriage work, of course, the husband and the family and the families involved. there is evidence that there was a problem to begin with. soon, the marriage began to fall apart. divorce proceedings were instituted. by the time she arrived in berlin at 24, she was in the midst of a divorce and it was probably because of that that she felt more free once she got there.
>> she died in prague years and years later. >> yes. i think the story is actually a tragic one for both dodd and his daughter. martha undergoes this change -- in this year -- from loving the not too revolution to feeling she should -- the nazi revolution to feeling she'd align herself with soviet should intelligence and provide information to them against the nazis. >> by the way, what was our relationship with the soviet union in 1933? >> at that point, we had not yet recognized the soviet union officially. recognition followed soon after that. we were not exactly -- we were not opponents. we are not necessarily the best of friends. it was fairly status quo.
martha continued her alliance with her soviet intelligence as best as anyone could tell she tended to be more talk than action. that is my appraisal. when the commie hunters started heating up in congress, they called her up and her husband to testify. her husband was offered stern, -- alfred stern not a character in the book. ,they fled to mexico. they led a very capitalist lifestyle. but they were self exiled from america. eventually realizing that they became disillusioned over communism in prague. >> but they were agents.
>> you have to define agents. >> both of them. >> they were managed apparently by case officers with the kgb. but, again, what they actually did not all what kind of intelligence they provided is not at all clear, whether they provided anything material in a way that intelligence is dealt with. -- doubtful>> how was she when she died? >> you are taxing my recollection of my book. >> i think she was almost 90. >> yes. >> when did she write her memoirs? >> 1939. >> we had not gone in the war yet. -- what impact did that have? >> that is what makes it a very interesting piece of writing. and a very tricky piece of
writing, also. she wrote that in 1939. it is called "through embassy eyes." only by going through your papers to find the material necessary to show that this was boris who occupied a good chunk of her romantic interest in that first year. in 1939, that is when she did her memoir. the book was banned instantly in germany. i think it did reasonably well in america. it got a lot of attention.
>> where and confuses the issue ended up working with the soviets. when she made the trip to the soviet union from germany, boris's suggestion, was he still in berlin? >> boris was still attached to berlin. but during that trip, he was in the soviet union as well. this is where it gets kind of complicated. martha had told boris apparently that she did not want to see him whiles she was in the soviet union because she did not want to be influenced in her appraisal of what the soviet union was all about. later, she writes a letter to boris that gets him very annoyed when she accuses him -- she gets angry with him for not trying to get in contact with her in the soviet union. and he says, you did not want to meet with me. and he also hints that he did
not want to see her because of what he refers to as business. documents had been unearthed by others, but nothing is quite clear that the handlers -- the agency itself could court martha and get her allegiance. >> she did not like what she saw. >> she did not like which she sought in the soviet union. -- what she saw in the soviet unionshe founded a very drab and. depressing place. but she was able to overcome that a terms of her ideological -- she was really kind of dismayed by what she saw. >> did you ever get a sense for why she had these ideological leanings? >> in the sense that i got and
that she conveyed in some of her writings and papers is that it was not so much that she was in love with the soviet union and the communism. it was more that she was deeply opposed to the nazis and the nazi regime by the time this first year comes to an end. it is clear that she did continue her allegiance. >> your book has been on the new york times top 5 for a couple of months now. >> i think so. much to my relief. >> why? i sometimes think that and i wondered to myself how i dared do a book about the nazis. it is not like there are not enough books out there already. it is a heavily written about subject. it is maybe only equalled by the civil war.
to think that i could lead in there and say something new, i do not know. but i'm so relieved that audiences seem to get it. they seem to appreciate that this is a different kind of look at that era through a very different perspective it seems to have caught on. >> you know that you're one of those authors were people look forward and say we have another one of those stories. how well did "thunderstruck" to do? >> it did well. it hit the new york times best- seller list. it did not do as well as "devil in a white city." it was more of a guidebook, i think. when those taking this book around the country, on the book tour, i would always hear "thunderstruck was my favorite
of your books." >> and it was about what? >> it was about two converging narratives. and a lot of people have criticized me for doing what i did in "devil." it happened by accident in "thunderstruck." one of them was about the most famous english murder in history. it was an amazing chase across the atlantic with the whole world watching this chase. but the target of the case was completely unaware.
because of the miracle of wireless, the message was going out to the world. >> you live in seattle married to a doctor. is she still practicing? >> yes. she is a neonatologist. she works with newborn babies. she has his little empire there. >> and you have a daughter. >> yes. three daughters. one has just finished college and is now a graduate school in washington. another is that the university of chicago. she is living not far where dog lived. another is going to pre-college banks. >> let's go through a quick biography. you were born where? >> i was born as was half a world in brooklyn, n.y..
>> what college? >> and went to the college of pennsylvania philadelphia. >> did to get a master's degree? >> i took a year oni was glad to work for a while of. in publishing. my goal was to save enough money to travel around the world. then i made the mistake of seeing "all the president's men." then i decided i needed to go into journalism school. i went to columbia. that is where i got my master's. >> how many different newspapers tothe first newspaper was a? terrific experience. it was "the buck county times" in buck county, pennsylvania. i went to "the wall street journal." that was the biggest break of my career. after that, i got married and did some free-lance stuff for a while.
i worked for "time magazine" for a bit. mostly, it was writing longer and longer things and made the transition to books. >> one of the threads in your book is about the german hatred for the jews. that has obviously been written about many, many times. what did you decide after reading all that you read. what was the hatred based on? >> what was the hatred based on? i do not know. i do not think anybody knows. i do not think anybody could really understand what drives summit to take a particular race. somebody to hate a particular race. but when i was startled by and intrigued by is a thesis put forward by kershaw about antisemitism in germany.
it is his contention that, for the average german, the question of anti-semitism, it was an abstract thing. for the average german, the german in the countryside, it was not really hatred of jews or something that was really high on their platform. there were relatively few jews in germany. most of these jews live in the big cities in berlin and munich and so forth. so the average german, the average small guy in germany, had very little contact with jews. so any kind of an antisemitic attitude was very much an abstract. this was not true among members of the nazi party who loathed
jews, for whom this was one of the key reasons to be in this movement. >> was a device for them to get everybody start up if there were not made? >> it was a device. it did seem to be a device. but it suggests that, if it were a device, it had limited impact in terms of the broad german population, but a lot of power among those who were already thinking in those directions. >> you did something that you do not often see in a book. you quoted directly ian kershaw. most times, it is in a footnote or in the back. why did you do that? tell us a little more about him. >> i did that because he is the man.
he is --other scholars will condemn me for this but i think he is the hitler scholar. when you have someone like that, you have to acknowledge as clearly and as upfront as you can and some of the things we have found are so fascinating. in one of his books, he notes that hitler's favorite movie was "king kong." that is lovely stuff. that is the kind of little detail that i love. >> we're almost out of time. i have to ask about this fascination you have with little statues, the little things you put into hotel rooms. where in the world did that come from? >> icu one of that right there. this is after the war is over and the characters have dispersed. these will characters come from 80 box.
red rose tea boxesif you drink red rose tea, you know exactly what i am talking about. this is what happens when you started website. one day, after christmas, i had gotten a new window sill toy. i started thinking to myself what if this new windowsill toy -- i have a lot of these things on my window sill -- what if the addition of this character to this windowsill caused a conflict that led to a battle among all the toys in the house? [laughter] i decided to follow that threat in installments on my website. it kind of went viral among my aughters and their friends. it was almost like a cartoon to me. it was a delightful kind of break. >> anybody who wants to get in on all of this, they can go to eriklarsonbooks.com.
in this book, the title had to be that. >>much of the action takes place around the main parks in berlin. there is still a park there. it is the tiergarten. it literally means beast garden. all the action in the book takes place in this art around the park. >> of all the characters you wrote about besides market, which character, which german character would you want to know more about? >> rudolph the deals, the first german of the best ofi am fascinated by him. he testified on behalf of the prosecution against war criminals of the arab.
-- of the era. >> erik larson, we thank you for your time. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> for a dvd copy of this program call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. these programs are also available as c-span podcasts. >> next, your calls and comments on ""washington journal." the house of representatives gavels and for general business at 10:00. legislative business begins at
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