Author & Speaker

Leadership

Impeachment and George Washington: When it rains, it pours

Back in April, I wrote two short pieces on history topics of interest to me — impeachment trials and George Washington.  So, naturally enough, they both launched on the web this weekend, within 24 hours of each other.  So I might as well promote them together, right?  You can check out: My take that historians…

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Does Going There Matter?

Multi-prize-winning author T.J. Stiles (Custer’s Trials, The First Tycoon) recently posed this question on social media.  “Do historians have to visit the sites in their books?” he asked.  “I say no, no more than you have to have been alive in the times you write about.”  Stiles contended that what is important is “personal experience,”…

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Trump: Haunted Anew by the Ghost of Andrew Johnson

More echoes of the benighted Andrew Johnson Administration of 1865-69 reverberate around President Trump with the current logjam at the top of the Consumer Financial Protection Board.  Deputy Director Leandra English asserts the statutory right to direct the agency following the resignation of its director; claiming to act under a different law, President Trump has…

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Up Next: G. Washington, America's Master Politician

I’ve just signed with a Penguin imprint, New American Library, to write a book about The Big Guy — GWash himself, the Master of Mount Vernon, the man-myth who was indisputably the key figure in the founding of the United States and without whom, well, things would have gone very different and a whole lot…

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225th Birthday of America's Bill of Rights!

I’m delighted to be among the first to proclaim the 225th anniversary of the ratification of America’s Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  Those amendments protect individual liberties that Americans hold most dear, and became central to our national character after the Fourteenth Amendment (adopted in 1868) applied them against state…

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Babe Ruth: Know your enemy!

Babe Ruth was a great pitcher before he was a great hitter.  Doesn’t it seem likely that one of the reasons he was a great hitter was because he had been a great pitcher? Playing for the Boston Red Sox from 1915 to 1918, the Babe was probably the best left-handed pitcher in the American League.  He…

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Why Do Babe Ruth Movies Mostly Suck?

With less than three weeks to go until my novel concerning Babe Ruth debuts, The Babe Ruth Deception, I find myself wondering why Babe Ruth movies are so bad.  In fairness, though, not all of them are terrible, at least not when he wasn’t the focus of the film. He played himself in The Pride…

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Hamilton’s Pulitzer Prize: Listen to the Words

Now that he’s won the Pulitzer Prize for it, maybe we’ll pay attention to the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, the genre-smashing Broadway hit that costs a monthly car payment to attend.  When we listen to the words – really listen – we can appreciate his achievement. Magic can happen when story and words and…

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Putting on the Show: Eight Rules for Book Talks

One of the surprising parts of writing books, for me, has been the amount of performance involved — I mean performance:  standing up and putting on a show. My experience is, of course, framed by the kind of writer I’ve become.  I’m “midlist,” which is a term that describes all the writers who fall between…

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Triumph of the Book!

The recent press accounts have been heartening to devotees of the book — which had been disdained as the “printed book” or “hard-copy book,” or even the “dead tree book.”  It turns out that lots of readers prefer reading old-fashioned books to new-fangled e-readers. That’s what college students say.  They want to read a “real”…

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