Free Book Talks


May 20, 2018 - Rescheduled to July 1, 2018
1:30 p.m; Free

Book Talk with Richard E. Quest on his book "I Held Lincoln: A Union Sailor's Journey Home.
“Gleaned from the actual documents of Lt. Benjamin Loring, I Held Lincoln tells the story of a Union sailor’s remarkable odyssey as he twice escapes from a Confederate prison, only to later find himself a player at Ford’s Theater at one of the most crucial events in American history. Richard Quest brings to life this extraordinary, fast-paced, and recently discovered story. I Held Lincoln could be The Conspirator’s prequel.”—Webster Stone, producer of The Conspirator (Webster Stone 2017-09-16)

“A compelling account of capture, imprisonment, escape, ordeal, and survival, I Held Lincoln reads like quality fiction. The reader follows with intense interest the efforts of Union Navy lieutenant Benjamin W. Loring to gain freedom from a Texas prison camp despite an array of daunting obstacles. Richard Quest’s ability to maintain the inherent drama and suspense of the story makes this book hard to put down.”—Edward G. Longacre, author of The Sharpshooters: A History of the Ninth New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War (Edward G. Longacre 2017-09-16)

About the Author
Richard E. Quest is the founding president and executive director of the charitable nonprofit organization Books in Homes USA, Inc. He is a former history teacher, has held administrative positions in public education, and was a dean and associate vice president of several colleges. Quest is a member of the Loudoun County Civil War Round Table and is a guide at the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Virginia. He recently relocated to northern Virginia.

June 3, 2018
1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Garrett Peck on his book Capital Beer.
About the Book

Imagine the jubilation of thirsty citizens in 1796 when the Washington Brewery--the city’s first brewery--opened. Yet the English-style ales produced by the early breweries in the capital and in nearby Arlington and Alexandria sat heavy on the tongue in the oppressive Potomac summers. By the 1850s, an influx of German immigrants gave a frosty reprieve to their new home in the form of light but flavorful lagers. Brewer barons like Christian Heurich and Albert Carry dominated the taps of city saloons until production ground to a halt with the dry days of Prohibition. Only Heurich survived, and when the venerable institution closed in 1956, Washington, D.C., was without a brewery for fifty-five years. Author and beer scholar Garrett Peck taps this high-gravity history while introducing readers to the bold new brewers leading the capital’s recent craft beer revival.

About the Author

Garrett Peck is a literary journalist and craft beer, drinking, wine-collecting, gin-loving, bourbon-sipping, Simpsons-quoting, early morning, rising history dork. He is the author of The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet and leads the Temperance Tour of Prohibition-related sites in Washington, D.C. Prohibition in Washington, D.C.: How Dry We Weren’t is his second book. A native Californian and Virginia Military Institute graduate, he lives in lovely Arlington, Virginia. His website can be found at

June 10, 2018
The Story Train; 
1:30 p.m; Free

Get on the train and journey through a world of books aimed at younger readers (ranging in ages Preschool through ten). Listen to stories, visit with children’s book authors and illustrators, and enjoy special family activities.  Featured book is All Aboard for Manassas! A Dog's Tale of Adventure with Author Kristen Henneke and Illustrator Nancy Mitchell.

June 17, 2018
1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Author Mark Elliott Benbow on his book The Nation's Capital Brewmaster: Christian Heurich and His Brewery, 1842-1956

About the Book
Christian Heurich (1842–1945) was not only Washington D.C.’s most successful brewer, he was the world’s oldest, with 90 years’ experience. He walked across central Europe learning his craft, survived a shipboard cholera epidemic, recovered from malaria and worked as a roustabout on a Caribbean banana boat—all by age 30. Heurich lived most of his life in Washington, becoming its largest private landowner and opening the city’s largest brewery. He won a “beer war” against his rivals and his beers won medals at World’s Fairs.

 He was trapped in Europe while on vacation at the start of both World Wars, once sleeping through an air raid, and was accused of being a German spy plotting to assassinate Woodrow Wilson. A notably odd episode: when they began to tear down his old brewery to build the Kennedy Center, the wrecking ball bounced off the walls.

 Drawing on family papers and photos, the author chronicles Heurich’s life and the evolving beer industry before and after Prohibition.

About the Author
Mark Elliott Benbow is an assistant professor of American History at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.

July 8, 2018
The Story Train; 1:30 p.m; Free

Get on the train and journey through a world of books aimed at younger readers (ranging in ages Preschool through ten). Listen to stories, visit with children’s book authors and illustrators, and enjoy special family activities.  Featured book is Bumble Bee Patch with Author Angela O. Bryce.

July 15, 2018
1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Author Janet Croon on the book The War Outside My Window, The Civil War Diary of Leroy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865.

About the Book

The War Outside My Window, edited and annotated by Janet Croon with helpful footnotes and a detailed family biographical chart, captures the spirit and the character of a young privileged white teenager witnessing the demise of his world even as his own body slowly failed him. Just as Anne Frank has come down to us as the adolescent voice of World War II, LeRoy Gresham will now be remembered as the young voice of the Civil War South.

About the Author

Janet Croon has recently retired from teaching advanced high school history in Fairfax County, Virginia. Originally from the Chicago area, she has lived in several places, including Dayton, OH, Albuquerque, NM, and Wiesbaden, Germany before eventually ending up in the Northern Virginia suburbs.

She holds degrees from the University of Illinois (BA ‘83) in Political Science, Modern European History, and Russian Language and Area Studies and the University of Dayton (MA ‘85) in International Relations.