Large, David C. 1945–

views updated

Large, David C. 1945–

(David Clay Large)

PERSONAL:

Born August 13, 1945, in Scott Field, IL; son of Henry Ranney (a physician) and Lois Evadah Large; married Jacque Hambly, October 6, 1966 (divorced June 1, 1977); married Margaret Bowen Wheeler (a teacher), May 24, 1980; children: Joshua John Henry. Education: University of Washington, Seattle, B.A., 1967; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1969, Ph.D., 1974. Hobbies and other interests: Long distance running, racquetball, backpacking, skiing, fly fishing, wine tasting and collecting, reading contemporary fiction.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Bozeman, MT. Office—Montana State University, Department of History and Philosophy, 2-155 Wilson Hall, P.O. Box 172320, Bozeman, MT 59717-2320. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Smith College, Northhampton, MA, assistant professor of history, 1973-78; Yale University, New Haven, CT, assistant professor of history, 1978-83; Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, assistant professor, 1983-88, professor of history, 1988—.

MEMBER:

American History Association, Conference Group of Central European Historians, German Studies Association, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Woodrow Wilson fellowship, 1967; Ford Foundation fellowship, 1968-71; Fulbright fellowship, 1972; Morse fellowship from Yale University, 1982; National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1986; German Marshall Fund fellowship, 1990.

WRITINGS:

(With Felix Gilbert) The End of the European Era: 1890 to the Present, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1970, fifth edition, 2002.

The Politics of Law and Order: A History of the Bavarian Einwohnerwehr, American Philosophical Society, 1980.

(Editor, with William Weber) Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics, Cornell University Press, 1984.

Between Two Fires: Europe's Path in the 1930s, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1990.

(Editor) Contending with Hitler: Varieties of German Resistance in the Third Reich, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Germans to the Front: West German Rearmament in the Adenauer Era, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1996.

Where Ghosts Walked: Munich's Road to the Third Reich, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1997.

Berlin, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2000.

And the World Closed Its Doors: The Story of One Family Abandoned to the Holocaust, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor, with Felix Gilbert, to the "History of Modern Europe" series, Volume 6: The End of the European Era: 1890 to the Present, 1991. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of the History of Ideas. Contributing editor, Military History Quarterly.

SIDELIGHTS:

Historian David C. Large, a specialist in late nineteenth-and twentieth-century Germany, has written extensively about the politics and culture of the period. Among the works for which he achieved renown is Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics, a collection of essays he edited with William Weber, which examines the significance of opera composer Richard Wagner's music and thought in the development of modern Europe. D.J.R. Bruckner stated in the New York Times that "this exploratory examination of the extraordinary wave of Wagnerism that washed over Europe for generations is a salutary undertaking." He added that the volume "is rich in suggestions and insights and, while the essays are a bit uneven, most are very good reading." James Joll, a contributor in New York Review of Books, wrote that Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics "provides a valuable introduction to an important … aspect of European cultural history during the last quarter of the nineteenth century." Times Literary Supplement reviewer Peter Heyworth additionally commented that the collection compiled by Large and Weber "contains much fascinating information not readily available elsewhere."

Among Large's other works is Between Two Fires: Europe's Path in the 1930s, an analysis of lesser-known events which exerted substantial influence on European culture and politics. In this book, Large examines such subjects as the Stavisky scandal, in which the French government was implicated in the deeds of a swindler; the Austrian civil war of 1934, in which right-and left-wing extremists clashed; and a protest march conducted by unemployed shipyard workers in England in 1936. "To the amateur historian," observed Frank J. Prial in the New York Times Book Review, "much of the value of Mr. Large's book is his recounting of events that everyone has heard of but knows little about." Prial, in acknowledging Large's "sense of drama," concluded that the historian "knows how to write: he recognizes a good quotation or anecdote."

Large's works relating to Hitler have also earned critical respect. Contending with Hitler: Varieties of German Resistance in the Third Reich, a collection of conference papers he edited and for which he wrote a discussion of resistance in post-war Germany, was hailed by History Today reviewer Ian Kershaw as a work that would "prove a valuable basis for discussions of the key issues." In Where Ghosts Walked: Munich's Road to the Third Reich, Large traces the city's history from 1880 through the birth and growth of Nazism to the fall of the Third Reich. Deeming Large a "fine historian and gifted writer," Booklist reviewer Jay Freeman called the book "a valuable if not definitive analysis of the origins of the Nazi movement."

Berlin, a history of the metropolis that Large considers the "signature city" of the twentieth century, covers the period from 1871 to 1990. As Large points out, Berlin during this era was the emblem of modernism and, as the capital of the Third Reich, a symbol of some of the worst human injustices in history. In 1961, the city was divided by the Berlin Wall and became a literal symbol of the Iron Curtain. "Since the fall of the wall and the end of the Great Divide," Large writes, "Berlin has come to represent humanity's aspirations for a new beginning, tempered by caution deriving from the traumas of the recent past."

Berlin was praised as an informative, insightful, and readable work. A Publishers Weekly contributor commended it as a "lively, rich and engaging work full of [Large's] passion for his subject." Freeman, in another Booklist review, hailed Berlin as an "outstanding saga of a metropolis and of its role in history." In the NewYork Times Book Review, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt admired Large's insights into the complexity of his subject—especially regarding Berlin's unique cultural milieu—and considered the book a "witty," "occasionally caustic," and absorbing work.

Large continues his exploration of the horrors and injustices of the Nazi era with And the World Closed Its Doors: The Story of One Family Abandoned to the Holocaust. Large depicts the troubles of Max Schohl, his wife, and two daughters, who fled Germany for Yugoslavia in 1940. He describes how bureaucratic stonewalls, indifference and neglect by America and other countries, and a contemporary disinterest in the plight of Jews in Germany led to tragedy for the Schohl family, and by extension, many other Jewish families as well. Though the family was well educated and had money and resources, "they were turned away from every portal of escape" from the encroaching Nazis, related a Kirkus Reviews critic. They were not allowed to enter England, the United States, Brazil, or even Chile, restricted by their status as Jewish refugees. Based on documents and letters provided by Max's youngest daughter, Kathe, who survived these traumatic experiences, the book explores such facets as the family's attempts to leave Germany, life under Nazi occupation, and the personality and reputation of Max Schohl and other participants. Ultimately, Max died in Auschwitz, but his wife and daughters survived and were able to emigrate following the war. "More clearly than many other books, Large's account depicts the tragic abandonment of the Jews by Western nations," commented Booklist reviewer George Cohen. Large offers a "compelling portrait of a family, a place, and a nightmarish time" in a book the Kirkus Reviews critic praised as a "welcome addition to Holocaust literature."

Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936 explores in depth the devious mixture of sports and politics that accompanied the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Large "vividly describes how the Olympics catalyzed Nazi Germany's rise to power," noted Brendan Driscoll in Booklist. Cleverly manipulated and carefully staged by brilliant Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, the 1936 Olympics depicted the Third Reich in flattering, even noble terms. Still, conflicts and controversies were not entirely suppressed. Calls for an international boycott of the games were made, but they went largely unheeded. Goebbels manipulated German media coverage to simulate fair and sporting coverage, but Hitler refused to even greet triumphant black athletes, including the legendary American runner Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals. Many media outlets recognized the blatant manipulation of events and the political exploitation of the games, but their observations were ineffective in blunting the devious constructions of the Nazis. Large explores other aspects of the 1936 games, as well. For example, the torch relay first occurred there, and the concept of the Olympics as a grand sports spectacle originated with the German games. "This is an unusually well-informed book, based on a thorough knowledge of the German sources as well as the American background," commented Geoffrey Wheatcroft in the New York Times Book Review. Library Journal reviewer Todd Spires called Nazi Games "a very detailed and well-crafted book, a pleasure to read."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, April, 1997, Gordon D. Drummond, review of Germans to the Front: West German Rearmament in the Adenauer Era, p. 476.

Booklist, October 15, 1997, Jay Freeman, review of Where Ghosts Walked: Munich's Road to the Third Reich, p. 383; October 15, 2000, Jay Freeman, review of Berlin, p. 415; May 1, 2003, George Cohen, review of And the World Closed Its Doors: The Story of One Family Abandoned to the Holocaust, p. 1576; April 15, 2007, Brendan Driscoll, review of Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936, p. 19.

Central European History, fall, 1996, Robert G. Moeller, review of Germans to the Front.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1996, review of Germans to the Front, p. 354.

History Today, November, 1993, Ian Kershaw, review of Contending with Hitler: Varieties of German Resistance in the Third Reich, p. 55; September 1994, Geoffrey Swain, review of The End of the European Era: 1890 to the Present, p. 58.

Humanities and Social Sciences Online, July, 2004, Paul B. Miller, review of And the World Closed Its Doors.

International History Review, March, 1998, Paul Rorvig, review of Germans to the Front, p. 229.

Journal of Modern History, December, 1997, Omer Bartov, review of Germans to the Front, p. 895.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2000, review of Berlin, p. 1466; March 15, 2003, review of And the World Closed Its Doors, p. 444.

Library Journal, April 1, 2007, Todd Spires, review of Nazi Games, p. 97.

New York Review of Books, January 31, 1985, James Joll, review of Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics, p. 9.

New York Times, January 5, 1985, D.J.R. Bruckner, review of Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics, p. 13.

New York Times Book Review, February 25, 1990, Frank J. Prial, review of Between Two Fires: Europe's Path in the 1930s, p. 30; December 26, 2000, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of Berlin; July 8, 2007, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, "Aryan Rhapsody," review of Nazi Games, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, November 6, 2000, review of Berlin, p. 84.

Reference & Research Book News, August, 2003, review of And the World Closed Its Doors, p. 46.

Times Literary Supplement, May 17, 1985, Peter Heyworth, review of Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics, p. 538; October 12, 1990, Daniel Johnson, review of Between Two Fires, p. 1095.

Washington Post Book World, April 8, 1990, review of Between Two Fires, p. 10.