Speaking at RJ Julia Booksellers (Madison, CT) May 14

Who Said It? (4/24/15)

Under existing conditions the negro votes the Republican ticket because he knows his friends are of that party.

Ulysses S. Grant (Library of Congress)

Answer: President Ulysses S. Grant “Sixth Annual Message” (December 7, 1874)

Under existing conditions the negro votes the Republican ticket because he knows his friends are of that party. Many a good citizen votes the opposite, not because he agrees with the great principles of state which separate parties, but because, generally, he is opposed to negro rule. This is a most delusive cry. Treat the negro as a citizen and a voter, as he is and must remain, and soon parties will be divided, not on the color line, but on principle. Then we shall have no complaint of sectional interference.

Source and Complete Text: Ulysses S. Grant: “Sixth Annual Message,” December 7, 1874. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

 

Ulysses S. Grant commanded the Union armies that defeated the Confederate armies in the Civil War. He became the 18th President of the United States in 1868, winning a second term in 1872.  Grant was born in Ohio on April 27, 1822.

 

Who Said It? (4/20/15)

“America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam.”

Answer: President Gerald Ford,Address at a Tulane University Convocation”
(April 23, 1975)

38gf_header_sm

Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned. As I see it, the time has come to look forward to an agenda for the future, to unify, to bind up the Nation’s wounds, and to restore its health and its optimistic self-confidence.

In New Orleans, a great battle was fought after a war was over. In New Orleans tonight, we can begin a great national reconciliation. The first engagement must be with the problems of today, but just as importantly, the problems of the future. That is why I think it is so appropriate that I find myself tonight at a university which addresses itself to preparing young people for the challenge of tomorrow.

I ask that we stop refighting the battles and the recriminations of the past. I ask that we look now at what is right with America, at our possibilities and our potentialities for change and growth and achievement and sharing. I ask that we accept the responsibilities of leadership as a good neighbor to all peoples and the enemy of none. I ask that we strive to become, in the finest American tradition, something more tomorrow than we are today.

Source and Complete Text: Gerald R. Ford: “Address at a Tulane University Convocation,” April 23, 1975. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

One week after this speech was delivered, Saigon fell to the forces of North Vietnam.Saigon-hubert-van-es

April 20, 1945-The Red Army Nears Berlin on Hitler’s Birthday

“By April 20, Adolf Hitler’s birthday, there was still no sign of the Soviets in the city. . . . This day, the usual propaganda pronouncements promised a swift defeat of the approaching Allied armies, then called on German teenagers to join the home guard defending the Reich. Many Berliners still believed some last-​minute German miracle would scatter their enemies, a last-​gasp aura of the “master race” invincibility that the German people had made an article of faith since Hitler’s rise to power. There were even rumors going around of a mysterious and frightful new super weapon that would turn back the enemy at the gates.”

–From “Berlin Stories” in THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah

The Hidden History of America At War-May 5,2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

The Hidden History of America At War-May 5,2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in the small Austrian town of Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria on the Austrian-German border. The BBC offers this timeline of his life and death.

The Hidden History of “Patriots’ Day”–Three Things You May Not Know

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood,

   And fired the shot heard round the world.

— “Concord Hymn,” Ralph Waldo Emerson (July 4, 1837 Source: Academy of American Poets)

 

Minute_Man

Concord Minuteman by Daniel Chester French (Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

 

And so it began on April 19, 1775 –240 years ago. A legendary midnight ride. Some Minutemen dropping farm tools and grabbing their guns. And a “shot heard round the world.”

What began that April morning, of course, was the American Revolution. The fighting would last for more than six years, until the last major battle at Yorktown, Virginia and the British surrender there on October 19, 1781. (A peace treaty ended the war officially in 1783.)

Few subjects in American history are draped in as much mythology as the American Revolution and especially the opening salvos at Lexington and Concord. Almost immediately, a proud patriotic narrative of the American Revolution was spun out. Like many such narratives, it was prompted by politics not fidelity to the truth.

“The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin’s electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod— and thenceforward these two conducted all the policies, negotiations, legislatures, and war.”

—John Adams Letter to Benjamin Rush, April 4, 1790

Here are three quick things your schoolbooks probably didn’t tell you:

  • Washington’s army of Continentals –not militiamen grabbing trusty muskets—and America’s French allies won the war. Professional soldiers were derided and mistrusted by many of the Founding Fathers, while Washington complained that to rely on the militia was “to lean upon a broken stick.”
  • About one in five of Washington’s soldiers were black, even though Washington refused to enlist black soldiers when he took command in 1775.
  • After the British surrendered at Yorktown, Washington’s first order of business was returning some confiscated “property” to rightful owners. Thousands of African American refugees hoping to escape slavery were with the British at Yorktown; they included enslaved people from Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello.

These are some of “untold tales” I relate in my forthcoming book, THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR. (HACHETTE BOOKS/RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO MAY 5, 2015)

The Hidden History of America At War-May 5,2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

The Hidden History of America At War-May 5, 2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

 

 

 

Speaking at Army Heritage Days- (May 17)

I am honored to be taking part in Army Heritage Days at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA.

I will be speaking on Sunday May 17 at 1 PM. The subject will be the stories the schoolbooks leave out when we talk about war –and who fights our wars.

redoubt

The Heritage Center’s walking trail through military history, includes a recreation of Redoubt #10 at Yorktown which plays a central role in the opening chapter of THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR

Appearing at Printers Row Lit Fest- June 6

I will be returning to Chicago for the wonderful Printers Row Literary Fest on Saturday June 6. More details and specific time and place TBA at the Fest website.

I hope to see you there.

The Hidden History of America At War-May 5,2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

The Hidden History of America At War-May 5,2015 (Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

Speaking at Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library-May 18

New book lands on my desk!

There are many wonderful days in a writer’s life (–along with some dreadful ones)!

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah (May 5-Hachette Books?Random House Audio)

THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah (May 5-Hachette Books/Random House Audio)

But few are as special as the day a box of brand new books arrives. There’s a lot of expectation — and some anxiety.

For a few minutes, though, we get to take a deep breath and marvel at the possibilities.

Most of all, you know that there is much hard work still to come –making sure the world knows what you have been doing, locked away in your office for months at a time.

And then I always think of all of the people who made this book possible –editors, designers, copy editors, publicists. There is a great team of them at my publisher Hachette Books and audio publisher Random House.

So, many thanks to all of them.

Watch for more announcements of appearances and bookstore events. And thanks for being readers!

 

June 11-Speaking at Fraunces Tavern Museum

On Thursday June 11, I will be speaking at New York City’s landmark Fraunces Tavern Museum –scene of Washington’s Farewell to his troops in 1783. I hope you can join me at this remarkable historic site to discuss my new book THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF AMERICA AT WAR: Untold Tales from Yorktown to Fallujah.

Information and directions to the Museum.

The Long Room at Frances Tavern Museum

The Long Room at Frances Tavern Museum