Sunday, June 26, 2016

Walter Shapiro

Walter Shapiro has covered every presidential campaign since 1980. A columnist at Roll Call, he is also a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU and a lecturer in political science at Yale. He is the winner of the Sigma Delta Chi Award, given by the Society of Professional Journalists, as the best 2010 online columnist for his work for Politics Daily. In recent years, Shapiro was the Washington bureau chief for Salon, twice weekly political columnist for USA Today and monthly columnist for Esquire. In prior incarnations, he was on the staffs of Time, Newsweek and the Washington Post. He was also a White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter.

For a decade, Shapiro performed standup comedy at clubs in New York and claims that his on-stage career is merely on hiatus. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, writer Meryl Gordon.

Shapiro's new book is Hustling Hitler: The Jewish Vaudevillian Who Fooled the F├╝hrer.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I can't decide whether to claim that I am midway through my annual re-reading of Proust or that I have just completed translating Finnegan's Wake into Icelandic.

Seriously, I'm reading several books simultaneously, alternating between fiction and non-fiction depending on my mood. I had started Don DeLillo's Zero K only to discover that his meditations of death and immortality may not be the best thing for me to read late at night. So weak soul that I am, I put DeLillo aside when Alan Furst's new novel, A Hero of France, came out. I love Furst's reconstructions of Europe under the shadow of the Nazis -- and long ago I gave a rave review in Time to Dark Star, the first of Furst's spy novels set in this period.

After reluctantly leaving Furst and the French Resistance as I finished A Hero of France, I switched to non-fiction. In this case, I returned to Maria Konnikova's The Confidence Game. This is a riveting study of the psychology of con men. In writing Hustling Hitler, I avoided reading about other grifters because I didn't want to stereotype my great-uncle. But now that my book is in the bookstores, I am reveling in discovering -- thanks to Konnikova -- that Freeman Bernstein holds his own with famous flimflam artists.
Visit the Hustling Hitler website.

My Book, The Movie: Hustling Hitler.

--Marshal Zeringue