The Revolution 1776 To 1787

I’ve been fighting the war of the American Revolution (on paper, that is, and with none of the suffering the participants endured) off and on since 1962, and my research has included journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and books on nearly all the campaigns. For the list that follows I have assumed that a reader is interested in the overall story of the Revolutionary War. (Books about specific campaigns or battles are far too numerous to include.) These are books I have found informative, enjoyable, and, in some cases, worth reading again and again.Read more »

Historical Novels

In 1804 an obscure English sailor named John Davis published an imaginative account of the seventeenth-century romance between Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith and called it The First Settlers of Virginia, An Historical Novel. Davis’s book disappeared from view almost at once, but two decades later, in 1821, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Spy appeared, an adventure tale of the Revolutionary War in which the historical George Washington makes several stiff, fatherly, and entirely fictitious cameo appearances.Read more »

Biographies

Biography is an almost writer-proof art. Structure and raison d’être are taken care of in advance. The form—someone is born, does stuff, dies—is as rigid and soothing as the sonnet. Authors write biographies, and we read them for the same reason we gossip: the unquenchable desire to know other people’s business. No wonder the shelves of bookstores groan with biographies. What could be more compelling? Read more »

A Life In The Loser’s Dressing Room

A talk with the superb journalist and sports report who was the co-author of MASH and wrote Ernest Hemingway’s favorite fight novel

By the time Bill Heinz was in his late twenties, he had gone from copy boy to star war correspondent and had witnessed the Normandy Invasion, the execution of German spies, the liberation of Paris, and the deadly fighting in the Huertgen Forest, where “in a place that had once known a cathedral’s quiet...

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The "Delicious" Land

America acted deeply on the Elizabethan English imagination, working its magic in the minds of poets and men of science

During the reign of Elizabeth I, as the interest in and knowledge of America gathered momentum, so their reverberation in literature and the arts became louder, more frequent, and more varied.Read more »