The big picture!
This map is a dream come true for me. How lucky to have my character Buck Crenshaw visit Saratoga in the very year this map was published! Find your city and explore the way it used to be at the Library of Congress Panoramic Maps Collection! You can zoom in and out and have a whole lot of fun!
Not just a dull, old history of battles.
This is one of my all time favorites. Good old John Billings. Don’t you just love a soldier who gives you the inside dirt with some wit and great illustrations? I do. John enlisted in The Army of the Potomac, but don’t let that remind you of the boring history teacher with coffee breath and endless baseball analogies. While reading this book I was thinking, “Wow, I really have a crush on this guy! He’s giving me everything I need to know about the daily ups and downs of soldiering back in the day–the slang, the food, the music and the complete jerks who could spoil a perfectly good campfire. I’m pretty sure I would have married him if I knew him.” But that’s how I get when people give me stuff and put illustrations (done by another soldier who lived through the Civil War) in their books.
I got lucky though–I found a veteran of my own who will occasionally throw a salty sailor story my way–but for the rest of you there’s Hardtack and Coffee
Play this first thing in the morning–your family will love you!
How I punish my children.
Addiction in beautifully packaged books for your pleasure at a distance.
Thought this was going to be a book bashing passionate lay historians (re-enactors) so put off reading it for a long time. Instead its a book of pathos relating a displaced American dream, a search for meaning in the lives of people who feel left behind and forgotten in this modern age. It’s also funny and well-written.
Today I’m a bit stuck–well, not really–I could write for days about the Crenshaw women undermining Buck’s future wife, but it feels too like dessert before dinner and I’m a traditionalist. Hanging over me like the Sunday after a good vacation is MERCHANT BANKING. I’m being dramatic here. It’s actually exciting to peruse titles of scholarly articles like “Good Intentions and Unintended Evil: The Case Against Selective Credit Allocation” and have no idea what the author is saying. It means I’m on to something juicy. By chance Englewood, New Jersey (where all of my books take place) happens to also be the home of many prominent bankers of the late 19th century. Isn’t that a happy coincidence? I even used some of their names (found on headstones at Brookside Cemetery) before I knew who they were. But I’m off topic. Buck is suddenly successful at a prestigious banking house and I must find out every last thing about it. Of course they smoke and have amazing desks, but I’m pretty sure there’s more to it than that. Life really is great, don’t you think? Five years ago I read The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow. It came everywhere with me and even got chewed up by goats and drenched in the rain. I just liked the cover when I bought it. Today I’ll sift through the bibliography and furiously underline leads. I’m also re-reading The Screwtape Letters for fun–and furiously underlining good evil stuff. I hope Buck really enjoys his honeymoon because life is about to get bumpy–yet again.