Wil­liam T. Voll­mann

Smithsonian Magazine - - Con­trib­u­tors -

The pro­lific au­thor has de­voted much of his work to dis­sect­ing war, from An Afghanistan Pic­ture Show, or, How I Saved the World, which de­tails his time with the mu­jahideen, to Ris­ing Up and Ris­ing Down, his seven-vol­ume study of vi­o­lence, to Europe Cen­tral, his Na­tional Book Award-win­ning novel set in Nazi Ger­many and Soviet Rus­sia. The key to writ­ing about this part of the hu­man con­di­tion, he says, “is to be em­pa­thetic. We have to use our imag­i­na­tions and try to see life as our broth­ers and sis­ters see it.” For the cen­ten­nial of World War I’s con­clu­sion, Voll­mann marched along the French front to ex­ca­vate the war’s mem­o­ries (p. 48).

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