Koenig, Robert L.
Koenig, Robert L.
Worked as a publications director for a microbiology research laboratory near Washington, DC; journalist.
The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Secret Mission to Wage the Great War in America, Public Affairs (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributing correspondent to Science magazine.
Journalist Robert L. Koenig is a correspondent for Science who has covered topics related to Germany for more than twenty years as a professional writer. He also spent three years as publications director for a microbiology research firm near Washington, DC. Koenig combines these professional interests and experiences in The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Secret Mission to Wage the Great War in America. Koenig tells the story of Amon Dilger, a U.S. citizen by birth whose father, a German immigrant, had fought in the Civil War. A physician and surgeon who received his education in Germany, Dilger was recruited by German intelligence to help sabotage the U.S. war effort during World War I. Dilger's own sympathies favored the Germans over the Americans; after completing his education, he had little interest in reestablishing his American residency. Dilger's U.S. citizenship made it easy for him to travel throughout the world at will, and upon his return to America he set up a laboratory near Washington, DC, where he created anthrax bacilli and other agents intended to cause disease in horses being shipped to Europe for the war. Koenig investigates the relative lack of success of Dilger's germ warfare efforts, and the author recounts how he also worked to cause troubles for the U.S. along the Mexican border. Ultimately, Koenig believes, Dilger perished in the great influenza epidemic of 1918. Koenig portrays the German doctor as a forerunner of the type of espionage agent who turns against his homeland and whose effectiveness is enhanced by his ability to move unencumbered between countries. Koenig's "account of Dilger's career increases readily available knowledge of German covert operations in the U.S. during" World War I, commented Ronald Green in Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 2006, Ronald Green, review of The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Secret Mission to Wage the Great War in America, p. 13.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2006, review of The Fourth Horseman, p. 1113.
Publishers Weekly, October 9, 2006, review of The Fourth Horseman, p. 47.