George Thomas Clark – Interview December 2016
Hitler Here – December 2005
A Consummate Professional – February 2005
Questions & Answers – May 2004
Clark Scores 41 Points – February 1970
George Thomas Clark is the author of Paint it Blue, Death in the Ring,The Bold Investor, Hitler Here, an internationally-acclaimed biographical novel, Obama on Edge, Echoes from Saddam Hussein, and Tales of Romance.
In addition to writing, Clark follows the news and sports, exercises daily (albeit delicately), collects contemporary art,enjoys independent movies, and travels to places (most recently Madrid, Mexico City, Quito, Guanajuato, and Aguascalientes) where he can socialize in Spanish.
The author’s website is GeorgeThomasClark.com
“Hitler Here,” by George Thomas Clark, is a lyrically written biographical novel offering first-person stories by the Fuehrer and a variety of other historical characters. The narratives are written from the points of view of major players and personalities of the time period, and include Eva Braun, a shopkeeper, a union leader and a German Army veteran. One reader describes the book as a “unique combination of multiple perspectives that dynamically bring the time period to life.”
Clark, who lives in Bakersfield, California, said it took him 20 years to write the book. “During that generation of effort, I read several hundred books and selected 120 to use for reference,” he said. “Many of those books had to be read and annotated several times, at least, before I was ready to make outlines and write the next section.”
Clark teaches English as a Second Langue for adults. “It’s a great job because I meet people from all over the world,” he said. “They’re enthusiastic about learning English and every day show how much they appreciate a teacher’s efforts.”
One example of a chapter in the book is “The Great War,” which historically traces Adolf Hitler’s thoughts and ideas in 1914 as World War I was about to erupt: “I heard crowds rumbling in the Munich streets below my room and ran downstairs to discover that the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, had been murdered. At first I was silent with regret. I feared the bullets were fired by German patriots aghast at Ferdinand’s ceaseless Slavization of what should have been a German empire. But when precise news arrived it was a delight, for it was a Serb who had just killed the greatest friend of the Serbs.”
George Thomas Clark — or just “Tom” to his friends — is a local author of “Hitler Here,” a 600-page plus biographical novel that tells of the rise and fall of the Third Reich through subjective dispatches from Hitler himself to Eva Braun, Goering, Goebbels and nameless rank-and-file. Clark says “Hitler Here,” is the result of 20 years of research. And he’s pleased to announce that his book has just been purchased by Mastermind Books as a special English language version for the subcontinent of India. Mladá Fronta of the Czech Republic has also recently made an offer that is currently being negotiated.
There’s no shortage of books on the Third Reich, and Clark says there is an endless interest in Nazis. “There’s always, as the saying goes, a fascination with evil. Also, you bring in so many elements. You have World War II, the largest and most fascinating of all wars. A war that still affects us, as we have people still alive and it shaped the world. But also, you have the not merely evil but perverse nature of the Nazi leaders. In ‘Hitler Here,’ I deal with the psychological problems, sexual perversities, just a variety of problems affecting these individuals. Goebbels was crippled, for example, Herman Goering was a drug addict, and all these men were deeply flawed. And these flaws in part explain the public’s fascination with the Nazis.
“The preconditions for these kinds of events existed in Europe for centuries, before Hitler, going back before the Inquisition, the days of Martin Luther, who was a rabid anti-Semite. Anti-Semitism had long been rampant in Europe and Hitler just tapped into those emotions in the wreckage of post-World War I Germany, when the Germans were so defeated, in their minds, by the Treaty of Versailles.”
As to Hitler, “Remember, we’re talking about a guy who entered the army at age 25, and won the Iron Cross first and second class, but did not rise below corporal. Why? Because he was said to have no leadership qualities. Yet, within a year after the war, he was known as Der Fuehrer.”
As a fellow writer who frequently delves into dark and disturbing subject matter, I ask Clark how he feels about those who say those who write about evil in fact contribute to and celebrate evil. “There are a surprising number of people who ask me, why do you write about Hitler? As if I’m a Nazi. In fact, in an earlier edition of this book, there’s a swastika on the cover. The one thing that compelled me get an artist to change it was that I was tired of people asking me if I was a neo-Nazi. I say, look, this is history; there are hundreds of books written about these subjects. This book is about how important this whole period was. I’ve been surprised by the people who don’t understand this is history, but written in a novelistic way. ‘Hitler Here’ is denouncing evil and all its horrors, and shows where it leads, to catastrophe.”
Clark notes that typical white power folks aren’t very literate and inclined to bookstores, which was true for the rank and file of the Nazis. “Nazism is only going to attract a primitive sort of individual. Primitive and downtrodden.”
That doesn’t mean evil can’t attract the educated — or disguise its intent, Clark adds. Our conversation turns to Leni Riefenstahl, the great woman director who directed the 1934 documentary “Triumph of the Will,” who died last year at the age of 101. “A vigorous individual,” Riefenstahl continued to skin dive until her nineties. Nonetheless, she spent time as a pariah unjustly tarred by the Third Reich’s brush.
“I think many people in Germany, and many other places, did have a cultural blindness at the time. David Lloyd George, the great World War I Prime Minister of England went to Germany during Hitler’s reign and proclaimed him a lion and a champion for all. A lot of people really didn’t know. How could Riefenstahl have known back in 1934, when Neville Chamberlain and Lloyd George didn’t know much later what was going to happen?”
How long did it take to write your biographical novel, HITLER HERE?
About 20 years.
Why so long?
During that generation of effort, I read several hundred books and selected 120 to use for reference. Many of those books had to be read and annotated several times, at least, before I was ready to make outlines and write the next section.
Why did you choose to write HITLER HERE? What was your motivation?
I’ve been fascinated by Hitler and the other Nazis, and World War II in general, including the Pacific theater, since I was a kid. Most of the high-ranking Nazis were deeply flawed, and not merely because of their criminality. Lots of them were depressive and sadistic as well alcoholic, drug addicted, and crippled or deformed. When people like that get power, particularly absolute power, disaster is inevitable.
Was it difficult to write from the points-of-view of so many characters?
Yes. I thought I was doing well right away but realized several years later I was only then figuring out how to do it. I spent years rewriting and filled up lots of file boxes with discarded manuscripts.
In Hitler Here as well as the short stories you’re working on, you write about violence, unhappy families, substance abuse, and lots of other problems. Are you obsessed with the dark side of life?
I don’t think so. Good stories need conflicts, and these things compel me. I examine problems I’ve had, or that I’ve seen or heard about, and then make something new out of the experiences.
Who’s your favorite writer?
Hemingway. Excitement and tragedy always surrounded the man, but most readers of his work – rather than books about him – set those things aside and are ultimately moved by how beautiful and compressed his language is. With just a few words he conveys very strong emotions, and he does so in ways you always remember.
Who are your favorite contemporary writers?
There are a lot of talented writers. I’m almost always pleased with the short stories I read. I also like about half the literary novels I start. Others grind on headed nowhere and I let them go. Over the years I’ve periodically tried to read commercial fiction but am usually uncomfortable with the unrefined, even sloppy, use of language.
Outside of writing, how do you occupy your time?
I teach English as a Second Language for adults. It’s a great job because I meet people from all over the world. They’re enthusiastic about learning English and every day show how much they appreciate a teacher’s efforts.
What about your free time?
I’m into sports, especially basketball and football. I also collect contemporary art and go to quite a few movies and concerts.
Do you play ball?
Not anymore. I’m just a fan who takes it easy on the treadmill and with calisthenics.
Did you ever play organized ball?
High school basketball. I averaged 20 points a game with a high of 41. And that was before the three-point rule. Nowadays that would be 50.
Did you play in college?
No. The pre-game butterflies, which started before the season and never stopped, made that an easy decision. I was only going to be a JC and Division II player anyway. I went to the gym on my own, and those were the guys, along with the occasional D-I disciplinary exiles, I played against.
Do you plan to write any stories about basketball?
I’ve already done one called Therapy.It’ll be in my next book, THE BOLD INVESTOR, a volume of short stories.
How long do you think this book will take to write?
Probably about two years from when I started, in August 2003.
How do you choose the settings for your short stories?
About half the time the psychological terrain is most important and the story could be happening in a variety of places. Other times a specific geographical and social setting is also essential, and places are identifiable as either a city or a region, like the Central Valley of California. Three stories are set in Los Angeles and a couple in Mexico City.
A 41-point performance by Tom Clark of Encina High School was not enough as San Juan defeated the visiting Apaches 78-76 in a Capital Valley Conference basketball tiff last night at San Juan .
Jerry Petty tanked 30 points including four decisive free throws in the final quarter to give the Spartans their narrow victory.
Trailing by five at the halftime, the Spartans came back to go ahead in the third stanza only to fall again in the fourth quarter by five before finally pulling the victory out.