Don't Know Much

For Educators and Librarians

Dear Teachers, Librarians, and other History Educators, 

There is a lot of history to talk about. Presidents. Slavery. Pandemics. Civics. Democracy.

In the midst of our current crisis, while many schools are using remote or distant learning, I will offer a limited number of free virtual visits to Middle- and High schools this fall -subject to my availability- on my three books listed below.

You may request a free virtual visit on the topic of “Democracy and Dictatorships,” the subject of my forthcoming book, STRONGMAN: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy  (Holt Books, October 6, 2020). The book provides accounts of five of the most murderous dictators in modern history: Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Saddam Hussein.

As we move through this Presidential election year, the issue of civic engagement is more important than ever. I hope to speak with Middle School and High School students and their teachers about what democracy is, what threatens democracy today, and how to protect it.

This is also a good time to talk about what we can learn from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic during World War I. It is the subject of my book MORE DEADLY THAN WAR.


Finally, I continue to offer a limited number of free virtual visits about my book, IN THE SHADOW OF LIBERTY: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, now available in paperback.

In it, I tell the stories of five people who were enslaved by four American presidents — Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson.

  • BILLY LEE, who became George Washington’s valet and fought in the American Revolution alongside him.
  • ONA JUDGE, who escaped from Washington’s Philadelphia home—only to be tracked down by the president’s men.
  • ISAAC GRANGER, who survived the devastation of Yorktown before returning to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
  • PAUL JENNINGS, who was present at the burning of James Madison’s White House during the War of 1812.
  • ALFRED JACKSON, who was born into slavery at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, survived the Civil War, and lived at the plantation into the 20th century.

The sessions can utilize Skype or other online platforms. To be considered for a classroom visit, please use this Contact Page.

When you write, please indicate school location, grade level, and class size. (Multiple classes are welcomed.) The sessions run from 45 minutes to one hour with ample opportunity for your students to ask questions.

The Latest From My Blog

Book Excerpt- “Strongman: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy”

Read an excerpt from my new book in the October issue of Social Education from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

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STRONGMAN: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy

NOW AVAILABLE: STRONGMAN: The Rise of Five Dictators and the Fall of Democracy

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