Daniel Silva knew from an early age that he wanted to become a writer, but his first profession would be journalism. Born in Michigan, raised and educated in California, he was pursuing a master's degree in international relations when he received a temporary job offer from United Press International to help cover the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. Later that year Silva abandoned his studies and joined UPI fulltime, working first in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington, and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf. In 1987, while covering the Iran-Iraq war, he met NBC Today National Correspondent Jamie Gangel and they were married later that year. Silva returned to Washington and went to work for CNN and became Executive Producer of its talk show unit including shows like Crossfire, Capital Gang and Reliable Sources.
In 1995 he confessed to Jamie that his true ambition was to be a novelist. With her support and encouragement he secretly began work on the manuscript that would eventually become the instant bestseller The Unlikely Spy. He left CNN in 1997 after the book's successful publication and began writing full time. Since then all of Silva's books have been New York Times and international bestsellers. His books have been translated in to more than 30 languages and are published around the world.
The Messenger was awarded the 2007 Barry Award for Best Thriller and The Fallen Angel received the 2013 Barry Award for Best Thriller. In January 2009, Silva was appointed to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
About This Biography
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A Conversation With Daniel Silva
How did you become interested in the subject of
Switzerland's Nazi collaboration as a topic for a book?
I've always been interested in WWII in general, and I've read a lot of WWII history. The secret history of Switzerland during the war is mind blowing. It's such a fascinating and strange country there really is this national preoccupation with secrecy at all levels. And I've always been interested in art . So the history of Nazi art looting, and of how all these paintings and other works of art made their way into Switzerland, was a natural. It's just something that I've always found engrossing, and at some point it became clear that it would make excellent material for a thriller.
You quote Jean Ziegler's The Swiss, the Gold, and the Dead at the beginning of this book. Was that book, which was about looted gold, not art, of course, in any way an inspiration for this one? Did you read any of the other books about Swiss banks and Nazi gold that came out around the same time?
I decided on this topic looted art first, and the Swiss connection came second. Yes, I think it was Nazi art first, Switzerland second. But Ziegler...
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