John V.H. Dippel

John V. H. Dippel

Biography

John V. H. Dippel was born in East Orange, New Jersey, on September 5, 1946. He was educated at Princeton (B.A., 1968), Trinity College, Dublin (M.Litt., 1972), and Columbia (Ph.D., English and Comparative Literature, 1978). An independent historian, he has also taught literature and the English language at the university level, both in the United States and abroad, and worked for more than two decades in the field of marketing communications.

His first book, Two Against Hitler: Stealing the Nazis’ Best-Kept Secrets, was published in 1992. John Dippel has since published four other historical works--Bound Upon a Wheel of Fire: Why So Many German Jews Made the Tragic Decision to Remain in Nazi Germany (1996), Race to the Frontier: ‘White Flight’ and Westward Expansion (2005), War and Sex: A Brief History of Men's Urge for Battle (2010), and Ordinary Radicals: Portraits of Lives Changed by the Sixties. His most recent book, Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death: The Impact of America's First Climate Crisis (2015), describes the impact of the bizarre weather of 1816, which killed crops in New England, forced farmers to migrate west, and caused many to reassess their religious and political outlook. Currently he is working on a book about "polar madness" -- the emotional and psychological disorientation experienced by explorers at the ends of the earth in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Of the themes explored in his books, he says, “I am intrigued by the complexities of human behavior at critical historical junctures. Too often, when we attempt to understand questions such as what prevented many German Jews from emigrating in the 1930s, why small, independent farmers originally from the Upper South moved further west in the 18th and 19th centuries, or why young men volunteer for war, we make the mistake of imposing our own value judgments, rather than attempting to view these decisions through the eyes of those who made them. My books try to capture that essential point of view.”

In addition to these books, John Dippel has written articles on contemporary politics and book reviews for such publications as The Atlantic Monthly and The New Republic. He lives in northwest Connecticut.

Selected Works

History
"Stunningly important and effectively presented." -- David Barash
“The most authoritative, detailed, and gripping account of the climate disaster that struck New England in 1816-17.”
--Gillen D'Arcy, author of "Tambora."
“A thoughtful and sensitive account of a sickness tug-of-war between fear and hope.”
--Times Literary Supplement
“Sheds light on an inexplicable phenomenon.”
--Yad Vashem
"Dippel's eloquent writing is both entertaining and informative. Impeccable research and historical analysis . . . " -- Pacific Northwest Quarterly