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LIVE from the NYPL: NICHOLSON BAKER in conversation with SIMON WINCHESTER Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization


In Human Smoke, Nicholson Baker, author of The Size of Thoughts and Double Fold, weaves together a chronicle of the beginnings of World War II, and presents an indictment of the treasured myths that have romanticized much of the 1930s and 40s. Through a running narrative of press clippings, Baker details mankind's unstoppable descent into the madness of war from 1914 until 1941 and pierces the lies, hopes, fears, and legends we so easily imbibe on the road to war. Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization offers a new perspective on the political, social, religious, and economic events in the years preceding World War II.

photo of Nicholson Baker by Jimmy Cohrssen

About Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He has published six previous novels and three works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001.






About Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester is a journalist, writer and a trained geologist. His books include The Professor and the Madman, The Meaning of Everything, and Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883. His most recent book is A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906.