Erik Larson Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 48 quotes)
Germans grew reluctant to stay in communal ski lodges, fearing they might talk in their sleep. They postponed surgeries because of the lip-loosening effects of anesthetic. Dreams reflected the ambient anxiety. One German dreamed that an SA man came to his home and opened the door to his oven, which then repeated every negative remark the household had made against the government.
No one wanted the job. What had seemed one of the least challenging tasks facing Franklin D. Roosevelt as newly elected president had, by June 1933, become one of the most intransigent. As ambas-sadorial posts went, Berlin should have been a plu?not London or Paris, surely, but still one of the great capitals of Europe, and at the center of a country going through revolutionary change under the leadership of its newly appointed chancellor, Adolf Hitler. Depending on on?s point of view, Germany was experiencing a great revival or a savage darkening. Upon Hitle?s ascent, the country had undergone a brutal spasm of state- condoned violence. Hitle?s brown- shirted paramilitary army, the Sturmabteilung, or S?the Storm Trooper?had gone wild, arresting, beating, and in some cases murdering communists, socialists, and Jews. Storm Troopers established impromptu prisons and torture stations in basements, sheds, and other structures. Berlin alone had fi fty of these so- called bunkers. Tens of thousands of people were arrested and placed in?protective custod? Schutzhaf?a risible euphemism. An esti-mated fi ve hundred to seven hundred prisoners died in custody; others endured?mock drownings and hangings? according to a police affi davit. One prison near Tempelhof Airport became especially no-torious: Columbia House, not to be confused with a sleekly modern new building at the heart of Berlin called Columbus House. The up-heaval prompted one Jewish leader, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York, to tell a friend,?the frontiers of civilization have been crossed.
My favorite “trick” is to stop writing at a point where I know that I can pick up easily the next day. I’ll stop in mid-paragraph, often in midsentence. It makes getting out of bed so much easier, because I know that all I’ll have to do to be productive is complete the sentence. And by then I’ll be seated at my desk, coffee and Oreo cookie at hand, the morning’s inertia overcome. There’s an added advantage: The human brain hates incomplete sentences. All night my mind will have secretly worked on the passage and likely mapped out the remainder of the page, even the chapter, while simultaneously sending me on a dinner date with Cate Blanchett.
She had a brief affair with a novelist, W. L. River, whose Death of a Young Man had been published several years earlier. He called her Motsie and pledged himself to her in letters composed of stupendously long run-on sentences, in one case seventy-four lines of single-spaced typewriting. At the time this passed for experimental prose.
Holmes was charming and gracious, but something about him made Belknap uneasy. He could not have defined it. Indeed, for the next several decades alienists and their successors would find themselves hard-pressed to describe with any precision what it was about men like Holmes that could cause them to seem warm and ingratiating but also telegraph the vague sense that some important element of humanness was missing.
Hitler was such an anomalous character - he was so over-the-top chaotic in his approach to statesmanship, his manner and in the violence which overwhelmed the country initially. I think diplomats around the world... felt like something like that simply would not be tolerated by the people of Germany.