History you need to know
A Book for Our Times
An Interview with the Author
In the second book of his monumental historical trilogy, Fate’s
Marionettes, author, teacher and lecturer, Dr. Donald LoCicero,
depicts life in Europe during and after the Second World War and the
Holocaust, detailing as well the founding of the state of Israel.
Employing the incredible journey of one man through the labyrinth of
racism and bloodshed which characterize that critical period of human
history, Dr. LoCicero’s meticulously researched work gives the reader
a comprehensive picture of the horrific events which still critically
affect our lives.
After reading, Fate’s Marionettes, this reader has gained an awareness of the bloody war between tiny Finland and the Soviet Union, a war which further deepened animosity between those two nations. Also made clear by the work is the role that Great Britain and others played in the evolution of an independent Jewish State, the roots of the hatred between Arabs and Jews which unfortunately has not abated, and the cruel reality of the Soviet Gulags.
We were fortunate enough to gain an interview with the author. Don LoCicero is a PhD, recently retired from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania where he taught international language, world literature and creative writing for thirty-five years. In addition to his academic credentials, Dr. LoCicero credits growing up in Brooklyn, New York with teaching him "street smarts." He is considered a leading expert on the Holocaust and other genocides of the modern era. Here is what he had to say:
Question: What motivated you to write your trilogy?
Answer: It has always been incomprehensible to me how human beings could have committed such atrocities as those during the Holocaust and other genocides like Armenia, Cambodia, Nanjing, and Bosnia, not to mention what our forefathers did to the indigenous peoples here. What started out as a short story, soon became a full-length work, The Twisted Star, then a trilogy, with Fate’s Marionettes coming next, and the soon to be published The American War rounding out the trilogy.
Question: The descriptions of locations and events are so detailed as to make one believe that you had actually been present. How were you able to accomplish such realism?
Answer: In order to do this, I traveled to virtually all of the places I wrote about, interviewed those who had lived through the events, read extensively, and created characters with whom I could identify. This is a technique all fiction writers and methods actors employ; in a word, it is the exercise of empathy. While my characters are inventions, however, I adhered to the historical facts as much as humanly possible.
Question: I understand that this is the second book in your trilogy. Do I have to read the first one, The Twisted Star, in order to understand this work?
Answer: Fates Marionettes is a continuation of the first work insofar as it carries the lives of the characters to the next epoch. In that respect, a reading of The Twisted Star would help the reader to get an even greater grasp of the historical and personal themes. However, if one did not know that there was a previous work, Fate’s Marionettes could be read independently without any loss. The same holds true for the third work, The American War.
Question: Have you used your books in your teaching and other lectures?
Answer: Yes. The Twisted Star became one of the key works in a course on the Holocaust which I developed in the early 1970s; a course which expanded to include other genocidal actions by one group against another. All three works have been published in China, where I have used them for lectures at Capital Normal University in Beijing during my visits there.
Question: It is obvious that you spent many years researching and writing these works? What is the goal you hoped to achieve by this expenditure of time and effort, and have you achieved that goal?
Answer: That is a difficult question to answer, because there is no single answer. For one thing, I sought to gain understanding through the writing of my work. I wanted to grasp how such things could occur, particularly in modern times and in so-called enlightened countries. Unfortunately, while I now know quite a bit about the anatomy of genocide, I am still unable to understand the human capability to perpetrate such brutality.
Secondly, I hoped to teach through my writing. I wanted to make as many people as possible aware of the deadly effects of racism, bigotry, and other blind hatreds; to show how insidious the process leading to genocide is. Further, I sought to teach that to remain silent in the presence of injustice is to become an accomplice. I have spoken out in my trilogy so as not to be such an accomplice, and to convince others to do the same.
Conclusion: Thank you Dr. LoCicero for sharing your valuable insights with us.
Would you like to read Dr. Locicero's works? Just click on the covers below to purchase through Amazon.
To e-mail Dr. LoCicero about lecture availability or for questions and comments,
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The third volume of Dr. LoCicero's trilogy has already been published in China and is scheduled for publication in the U.S. during the summer of 2002.
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