cover image The Dragon from Chicago: The Untold Story of an American Reporter in Nazi Germany

The Dragon from Chicago: The Untold Story of an American Reporter in Nazi Germany

Pamela D. Toler. Beacon, $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8070-6306-4

Foreign correspondent Sigrid Schultz (1893–1980), who reported from Berlin between 1919 and 1941, was one of the first and most vocal journalists to document the growing threat of Nazism, according to this exhilarating biography. Historian Toler (Women Warriors) shows that Schultz was the only journalist of her era to systemically analyze in her reporting (which regularly appeared in the Chicago Tribune) how the Nazis manipulated the media—both by misrepresenting facts to the German public and by bribing and threatening the foreign press. Schultz, who was born in Chicago but raised in Europe, had “a European’s understanding of Europe,” which she worked to her advantage, cultivating informants who faced incredible risk for communicating with her. Toler’s propulsive narrative, which chronicles Schultz’s investigative escapades and scoops (like a 1939 visit with Hitler’s astrologers that allowed her to break the news of Germany’s nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union), is a journalistic adventure story of the highest caliber (it opens with a riveting scene of Schultz grilling Hermann Göring over press freedom; “You’ll never learn to show the proper respect for state authorities,” he tells her. “I suppose that is one of the characteristics of people from that crime-ridden city of Chicago”). The portrait of Schultz that emerges is dazzling (“small, blond, and surprisingly formidable,” she was, according to one fellow correspondent, “Hitler’s greatest enemy”). This is stellar. (Aug.)