One of my great pleasures this past week was sitting in on Robert Wittman's presentation of his book, The Devil's Diary and then getting to meet with him afterwards. He is a natural storyteller and I can't wait to read the book and review it.
First though, let me point out something that Mr. Wittman brought up. He is an ex-FBI officer who founded their stolen art/artifacts team before starting his own agency after retirement. If I recall correctly, he was with the FBI for about three decades. While on stage with Brian Curtis, Fields Of Battle, Mr. Wittman pointed out that if he had been born a decade earlier he would have been in an interment camp because his father, a U.S. soldier married a Japanese lady, his mother. He expressed his concern about Trump, the direction America was going, and pointed this fact out. If you want to know what immigrants bring to this country, look no further than Mr. Wittman's distinguished service and consider it in the light of what has just transpired.
Back to his book. The Devil's Diary is about the hunt for the Rosenberg Diaries. Rosenberg was in Hitler's inner-circle from the 1920's on. It was Rosenberg who helped recruit Hitler into the Nazi Party. Rosenberg helped craft The Final Solution which turned into the extermination of millions of people.
Rosenberg kept a diary, more notes on his doings and meetings. It is a rare historical record that was confiscated after the war. How it came to 'disappear' and the story of the Nuremberg lawyer who kept it before it was whisked away is a tale-and-a-half. The U.S. Holocaust Museum contacted Mr. Wittman to enlist his help in tracking the diary down. How he did it was quite brilliant really and yes, worthy of a book.
Mr. Wittman is one of those guys you would buy a beer at the local pub just to listen to him tell a tale or two. Writers can often sniff out if another writer is any good or not by the way they talk and whether they know their subject matter well enough to be writing about itMr. Wittman easily past this test. In fact, I want to buy his first book, Priceless, also but they didn't have it for sale at the festival. Take note festival operators and publishers, always have earlier works available.
Having done a lot of Holocaust research and tracking down lost archive files myself, I was already interested in The Devil's Diary. Having listened to Mr. Wittman, I really can't wait to dive into this. Hopefully, by Thanksgiving I will be turning the pages.