From the Desk of Harvey Solomon: File Under “Coincidence”

HarveySolomon(1)Harvey Solomon is a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. He has written articles for dozens of publications, including the Boston Herald, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter, and Variety. He is the author of three nonfiction books, most recently Such Splendid Prisons: Diplomatic Detainment in America during World War II (January 2020).


File Under “Coincidence”

Several months ago, in anticipation of my upcoming talk at Politics & Prose, Washington, DC’s #1 indie bookstore, I checked their schedule online. I was flabbergasted to see that the author preceding me would be Hunter College professor Jonathan Rosenberg for his new book, Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War through the Cold War (W.W. Norton).

I was amazed because several years ago I’d asked Jon if he would be willing to read my book and if he liked it, to write a blurb. He generously agreed and wound up writing a very positive recommendation now printed on the back cover of my book, Such Splendid Prisons.


“In this engagingly written volume, Harvey Solomon tells the unknown—and fascinating—story of enemy diplomats who were detained in America during the Second World War. Anyone interested in the war will find Such Splendid Prisons an intriguing, memorable tale.”—Jonathan Rosenberg, associate professor of history at Hunter College, CUNY Graduate Center

I mean, what are the odds of us going back-to-back? He and I had emailed and spoken many times over the last couple years, but we’d never met. So we changed that. After his talk but before mine, we grabbed a drink—him wine, me water—hey, I was up next. That evening he and his wife Jane came to a small reception for me at the house of a friend where we had more time to become acquainted. I even put him on the spot by introducing him to the crowd. A Julliard-trained musician and professor of history, Jon gamely gave a fine impromptu talk about his excellent book. I am only a couple of chapters in—you should see my to-read pile!—but am enjoying it immensely.

Back at the store, right after he spoke, his wife took some photos of us. I submitted one to Publishers Weekly, which ran it the following week as a Picture of the Day in PWDaily. It’s a small (book) world.



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