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Carlson, Lewis H(erbert) 1934-

CARLSON, Lewis H(erbert) 1934-

PERSONAL: Surname changed in infancy; born August 1, 1934, in Muskegon, MI; son of Robert and Margaret (Carlson) Lavine; married Simone Conrad (a teacher), December 26, 1960; children: Ann Margaret Thomas, Linda Louise Dietz. Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1957, M.A., 1962; Michigan State University, Ph.D., 1967. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Trout fishing, wine tasting.

ADDRESSES: Home—306 South Ferry St., #10, Ludington, MI 49431; (winter) 114 Javelin Dr., Lakeway, TX 78734. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER: High school teacher in Muskegon, MI, 1960-61, Los Angeles, 1962-63; Ferris State College, Big Rapids, MI, assistant professor of history, 1965-68; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, assistant professor, 1968-71, associate professor, 1971-79, professor of history, 1979-99, professor emeritus, 1999—. Military service: U.S. Army, 1957-59.

MEMBER: National Association of Popular Culture.

AWARDS, HONORS: Western Michigan University Alumni Teaching Award, 1972.

WRITINGS:

(Contributor) Joseph S. Roucek and Thomas Kiernan, editors, The Negro Impact on Western Civilization, Philosophical Library, 1970.

We Were Each Other's Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisoners of War, Basic Books (New York), 1997.

(With James M. Ferreira) Beyond the Red, White, and Blue: A Student's Introduction to American Studies, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1999.

Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War: An Oral History of the Korean War POWs, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Richard M. Bassett) And the Wind Blew Cold: The Story of an American POW in North Korea, Kent State University Press (Kent, OH), 2002.

(With Angelo M. Spineli) Life behind Barbed Wire: The Secret World War II Photographs of Angelo M. Spinelli, Fordham University Press (New York, NY), 2003.

EDITOR

(Editor, with Colburn George) In Their Place: White America Defines Her Minorities, 1850-1950 introduction by George McGovern, Wiley (New York, NY), 1972.

(Editor, with John J. Fogarty) Tales of Gold: An Oral History of the Summer Olympic Gales Told by America's Gold Medal Winners, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1987.

(Editor, with Kevin B. Vichcales) American Popular Culture at Home and Abroad, Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI), 1996.

WRITTEN IN GERMAN

(With Frank Unger) Amerika—der gespaltene Traum (title means "America the Fragmented Dream"), Aufbau Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1992.

(With Frank Unger) Highland Park oder Stadt der Zukunft (title means "Highland Park: City of the Future?"), Aufbau Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1994.

(With Norbert Haase) Warten auf Freiheit: Deutsche und Amerikanische Kriegsgefangene des Zweiten Weltkrieges Erzahlen (title means "Waiting for Freedom: An Oral History of World War II German and American Prisoners of War"), Aufbau Verlag (Berlin, Germany), 1996.

Also wrote and produced Images in Black and White: A Documentary Film on Racial Images in Popular Culture, 1988.

SIDELIGHTS: Lewis H. Carlson writes about a range of topics that include popular American culture, prisoners of war, American studies, and sports. In addition to writing, he has also enjoyed a long professional career as a college professor, teaching history and American studies at Western Michigan University since the late 1960s. His fluency in German has resulted in a number of German-language books and experience as a lecturer in Germany.

In 1987 Carlson collected stories from fifty-seven Olympic gold medalists and one silver medalist to trace the history of the Olympic Games from 1912 to the late 1980s in Tales of Gold: An Oral History of the Summer Olympic Games Told by America's Gold Medal Winners. Through the oral history of these athletes, Carlson (and his coeditor John J. Fogarty) has recorded, as Craig Neff for Sports Illustrated described, "stories of tragedy, humor and unexpected challenge." Some of these stories reflect the times in which the games were played, such as the story of Harrison Dillard, who tells of a track in Britain composed of the rubble of war-ravaged buildings in the 1948 Games. Another Olympiad, sprinter Helen Stephens relates how she had to escape an orgy sponsored by Hitler sidekick Hermann Göring, during the 1936 Berlin Games. Neff concluded that Tales of Gold "makes a lively and valuable tapestry."

Carlson's dual interest in the United States and Germany led to his role as coeditor, with Kevin B. Vichcales, of American Popular Culture at Home and Abroad. For this book, Carlson collected twenty-one essays from both German and American scholars whose unifying theme is American culture and the effect it has had on both the United States and Germany.

One year later, Carlson saw publication of We Were Each Other's Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisoners of War. This is the first book ever to compare the experiences of American and German POWs. In We Were Each Other's Prisoners, Carlson interviews more than 150 survivors, including a German soldier who surrendered rather than fight for Hitler, a Jewish soldier who was sent to a slave labor camp, and an American soldier who was captured twice before successfully escaping on the third attempt. Carlson gets his subjects to talk openly about what it was like physically and psychologically to be a prisoner of war. Critics recognized in these stories an enduring will to survive. "The interviewees were eager to talk to Carlson," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, "and many unlocked painful memories of the dreadful events they had repressed for years."

In his 2002 book Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War: An Oral History of the Korean War POWs, Carlson takes up a similar theme, with a different angle. The Korean War POWs endured accusations of having turned on their fellow soldiers after being brainwashed by the Korean enemy. They did not receive a hero's welcome upon returning home, at least not for many years following the war. In his book Carlson attempts to bring the prisoners' stories alive, giving the soldiers the space to relate their experiences. Of more than 7,000 prisoners, only sixty percent survived. This book is a tribute to the survivors. Edwin B. Burgess of Library Journal observed that the prisoners' "survival, under conditions of extreme privation, torture, and psychological pressure, is nothing short of amazing." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found that "while the book is probably too weighted toward testimony to find general readers, buffs and survivors will take it to heart."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, October 1997, Volume 35, G. H. Davis, review of We Were Each Other's Prisoners: An Oral History of World War II American and German Prisoners of War, p. 345.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, Volume 70, number 4, review of Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War: An Oral History of Korean War POWs, pp. 232-33. Library Journal, November 15, 1987, Volume 112, number 19, Dennis Dillon, review of Tales of Gold: The Oral History of the Olympic Games Told by American's Gold Medal Winners, p. 88; March 15, 2002, Volume 127, number I5, Edwin B. Burgess, review of Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War, p. 93.

New York Times Book Review, March 20, 1988, Michael Janofsky, review of Tales of Gold, p. 27.

Oral History Review, summer-fall, 1999, Volume 26, number 2, Ronald E. Marcello, review of We Were Each Other's Prisoners, p. 169.

Publishers Weekly, October 23, 1987, Volume 232, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Tales of Gold, p. 43; March 24, 1997, Volume 244, number 12, review of We Were Each Other's Prisoners, pp. 70-71; February 11, 2002, Volume 249, number 6, review of Remembered Prisoners of a Forgotten War, p. 171.

Sports Illustrated, April 25, 1988, Volume 68, number 17, Craig Neff, review of Tales of Gold, pp. 10-11.

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