Thursday, October 15, 2015

David O. Stewart

David O. Stewart is the author of several works of history, including Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, which have been awarded the Washington Writing Award and the Society of the Cincinnati History Prize.

His new novel is The Wilson Deception.

Recently I asked Stewart about what he was reading. His reply:
Writing The Wilson Deception, which is set at the Paris Peace conference of 1919 following World War I, has only increased my interest in exploring the mad, brutal world of that war.

The Fall of the Ottomans, by Eugene Rogan, examines the war as it was fought in the Middle East. Though we often think of that conflict as the sandbox where Lawrence of Arabia gave freedom to the Arabs, the reality is much more complicated and compelling, involving such hideous episodes as the Armenian Genocide and a famine in Syria in 1916. That conflict brought us modern-day Syria, Iraq, and Israel, so there is no more important chapter to study (though skipping over some of Rogan’s detailed recreations of individual battles is permitted; I did).

Ashenden, by W. Somerset Maugham, is a collection of related stories about a British spy during the war, based on Maugham’s own experiences as a secret agent. The writing is wonderful, the judgments of people and nations are hard-eyed, and the stories represent the birth of modern spy fiction.

Secessia, by Kent Wascom is, admittedly, not about World War I, but is set in New Orleans during America’s Civil War. Wascom’s lush prose anticipates the doom of the Confederacy’s slave society and is a delight to read, though sometimes best consumed in small-ish doses. A sequel to Wascom’s brilliant The Blood of Heaven.
Visit David O. Stewart's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Wilson Deception.

--Marshal Zeringue