Ahead of the events for Cork Wars in Baltimore last week, I spoke with Sheilah Kast in the studios of WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR station. We talked about the story and main characters in the book. Her insightful questions unpacked the book’s Baltimore stories for Americans now. She called the book “a fascinating tale… which reads with all the suspense of a novel.”
We talked about cork and the disaster that starts the book — the 1940 factory fire at Crown Cork and Seal in Highlandtown — and the suspicions of sabotage amid fears of Nazi sabotage nationwide. The interview introduces the characters of Charles McManus, inventor and cork mogul, and Frank DiCara, Highlandtown native.
We also discussed the discrimination and suspicions faced by the DiCaras and other Americans of Italian and German backgrounds once the U.S. entered the war. They had to register as “enemy aliens” and were subject to unwarranted relocation or seizure of their livelihoods.
Grateful to share this story today. Listen to the full podcast on WYPR’s website.