Great Conversations

Erik Larson and Robert Siegel

Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts, is interviewed by interviewed by Robert Siegel, senior host of NPR's All Things Considered.

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After the taping of Great Conversations, the audience is invited to ask questions of the author. KET presents these after-the-show segments as online exclusives.

Larson's In the Garden of Beasts tells the story of Hitler’s early years in power through the perspective of the U.S. ambassador to Germany at the time, William Dodd. Dodd’s daughter, Martha, was 24 years old and came along for the adventure. At first this new world seemed full of energy and goodwill, nothing like what newspapers back home had portrayed. But slowly a pall of intrigue and terror fell over the family—until the cataclysmic weekend that changed things forever.

During the interview, Siegel asks Larson about writing a book in which the reader knows the ending to the story, but the characters within the work do not.

"Strangely enough, I had not actually counted on that effect until hearing from readers who tell me the effect was something like watching a horror film," Larson said.

Larson is also the author of the 2003 bestseller The Devil in the White City, the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.

The program was recorded at Larson’s recent appearance at the Kentucky Author Forum in Louisville. The event had a larger audience than any other in the forum's 16-year history.

For more information on past and upcoming programs, visit the Kentucky Author Forum Web site maintained by the University of Louisville.

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