Free Book Talks
April 28, 2019
Last Seasons in Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Professional Baseball in Cuba; 1:30 p.m
Last Seasons in Havana explores the intersection between Cuba and America’s pastime from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, when Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Author César Brioso takes the reader through the triumph of the revolution in 1959 and its impact on professional baseball in the seasons immediately following Castro’s rise to power.
About the Author
César Brioso is a digital producer and former baseball editor for USA Today Sports. In his twenty-five years as a sports journalist, he has written for the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He is the author of Havana Hardball: Spring Training, Jackie Robinson, and the Cuban League.
May 12 2019
The Million-Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President: George Washington Gayle and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln; 1:30 p.m
Forget what you thought you knew about why Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Join author Christopher Lyle Mcllwain, Sr. as he argues that it was not mere sectional hatred, but Booth’s desire to become famous, Lincoln’s advocacy of black suffrage, or a plot masterminded by Jefferson Davis to win the war by crippling the Federal government.
About the Author
Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr., has been practicing law for more than three decades in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and is the author of Civil War Alabama, the winner of the McMillan Prize, and 1865 Alabama: From Civil War to Uncivil Peace. Chris has also published several articles in a variety of history journals.
June 2, 2019
SEPARATE: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation; 1:30 p.m
ABOUT THE BOOK:Plessy v. Ferguson is synonymous with Jim Crow laws and the unjust doctrine of "separate but equal." But few Americans know more than the name of the case or have more than a superficial understanding of its origins and outcome. In his myth-shattering new book SEPARATE: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation, award-winning author Steve Luxenberg tells one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the 19th century, cutting to the heart of battles over race and equality that have raged throughout American history to the present day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Steve Luxenberg is the author of the critically acclaimed Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret. During his thirty years as a Washington Post senior editor, he has overseen reporting that has earned numerous national honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
June 9, 2019
The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke; 1:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE BOOK: In 1587, 115 men, women, and children arrived at Roanoke Island on the coast of North Carolina to establish the first English colony in the New World–and then vanished. In The Secret Token, journalist Andrew Lawler sets out on a quest to solve an enigma that has obsessed generations of historians, archaeologists, and amateur sleuths. The Washington Post calls it "crazy fun" as well as "surprisingly fresh and powerful," while the Wall Street Journal deems it "the most authoritative account of the Lost Colony to date." The Economist says that "Mr. Lawler is an intrepid guide to this treacherous territory," adding that "his willingness to chase down every lead, no matter how outlandish, and his enthusiasm for the journey as much as the destination, make The Secret Token a lively and engaging read."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Lawler is author of two books, The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a Southern Independent Best Seller, and Why Did the Chicken Cross the World: The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization. As a journalist, he has written more than a thousand newspaper and magazine articles from more than two dozen countries. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and many others. He is contributing writer for Science and contributing editor for Archaeology. Andrew’s work has appeared several times in The Best of Science and Nature Writing.
June 23, 2019
Louisa on the Frontlines; 1:30 p.m
About the book: Louisa on the Frontlines is the first narrative nonfiction book focusing on the least-known aspect of Louisa May Alcott’s career - her time spent as a nurse during the Civil War. Though her service was brief, the dramatic experience was one that she considered pivotal in helping her write the beloved classic Little Women. It also deeply affected her tenuous relationship with her father, and inspired her commitment to abolitionism. Through it all, she kept a journal and wrote letters to her family and friends. These letters were published in the newspaper, and her subsequent book, Hospital Sketches spotlighted the dire conditions of the military hospitals and the suffering endured by the wounded soldiers she cared for. To this day, her work is considered a pioneering account of military nursing.
About Samantha Seiple: Seiple enjoys uncovering forgotten and little-known aspects of history and meticulously crafting the factual story to read like a novel. Louisa on the Front Lines is her first biographical account for the adult audience. Her previous narrative nonfiction books for young adults include Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska’s WWII Invasion, a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Nominee and a Junior Library Guild Selection; Lincoln’s Spymaster: America’s First Private Eye, a Junior Library Guild Selection; Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure; and Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Amazon Adventure, a Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Gold Award winner.
July 28, 2019
Meade and Lee After Gettysburg; 1:30 p.m
About the Book: Meade and Lee After Gettysburg, the first of three volumes on the campaigns waged between the two adversaries from July 14 through the end of 1863, relies on the Official Records, regimental histories, letters, newspapers, and other sources to provide a day-by-day account of this fascinating high-stakes affair. The vivid prose, coupled with original maps and outstanding photographs, offers a significant contribution to Civil War literature.
Thanks to Hunt these important two weeks—until now overshadowed by the battle of Gettysburg and almost completely ignored by writers of Civil War history—have finally gotten the attention they have long deserved. Readers will never view the Gettysburg Campaign the same way.
About the Author:Jeffrey William Hunt is Director of the Texas Military Forces Museum, the official museum of the Texas National Guard, located at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas, and an Adjunct Professor of History at Austin Community College, where he has taught since 1988. Prior to taking the post at the Texas Military Forces Museum, he was the Curator of Collections and Director of the Living History Program at the Admiral Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas for 11 years. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Government and a Masters Degree in History, both from the University of Texas at Austin. In 2013, Mr. Hunt was appointed an honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy by Governor Rick Perry, in recognition of his efforts to tell the story of the Texas naval forces at the Texas Military Forces Museum. At both the Texas Military Forces Museum and the Admiral Nimitz Museum he has organized and conducted hundreds of living history programs for the general public. He is a veteran reenactor of the War Between the States as well as the War of 1812, the Texas Revolution, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. He is a frequent speaker for a wide variety of organizations as well as documentaries and news programs.
September 22, 2019
Too Much for Human Endurance: The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg; 1:30 p.m
About the Book: The bloodstains are gone, but the worn floorboards remain. The doctors, nurses, and patients who toiled and suffered and ached for home at the Army of the Potomac’s XI Corps hospital at the George Spangler Farm in Gettysburg have long since departed. Happily, though, their stories remain, and noted journalist and George Spangler Farm expert Ronald D. Kirkwood brings these people and their experiences to life in "Too Much for Human Endurance": The George Spangler Farm Hospitals and the Battle of Gettysburg.
Using a massive array of firsthand accounts, Kirkwood re-creates the sprawling XI Corps hospital complex and the people who labored and suffered there—especially George and Elizabeth Spangler and their four children, who built a thriving 166-acre farm only to witness it nearly destroyed when war paid them a bloody visit that summer of 1863. Stories rarely if ever told of nurses, surgeons, ambulance workers, musicians, teenage fighters, and others are weaved seamlessly through gripping, smooth-flowing prose.
About the Author:Ronald D. Kirkwood is retired after a 40-year career as an editor and writer in newspapers and magazines including USA TODAY, the Baltimore Sun, the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News, and the York (PA) Daily Record. Ronald edited national magazines for USA TODAY Sports and was NFL editor for USA TODAY Sports Weekly. He has won numerous state, regional, and national awards for his writing and editing and he managed the copy desk in Harrisburg when the newspaper won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012. Ronald is a native of Dowagiac/Sister Lakes, MI, and a graduate of Central Michigan University, where he has returned as guest speaker to journalism classes as part of the school’s Hearst Visiting Professionals series. Ronald has been a Gettysburg Foundation docent at The George Spangler Farm Field Hospital Site since it opened in 2013, and he explores the Gettysburg battlefield dozens of times a year. Ronald and his wife, Barbara, live in York. They have two daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren.