History Book Festival Authors

List current as of August 1st. Keep checking back for potential changes.

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Keynote Address - Friday Night October 6th

James Swanson, NYT best-selling author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (presentation of a dramatic tribute to President Lincoln – the same one delivered by the author on April 14th at Ford’s Theatre)

Talks On Saturday, October 7th - Locations TBA

President Lincoln & the Civil War

Elizabeth Brown Pryor (1951–2015) was an award-winning historian who also served as a Senior Foreign Officer in the State Department. Her latest book is Lincoln: A President Confronts Democracy and Its Demons (Viking, 2017). (In this eye-opening book, Elizabeth Brown Pryor examines six intriguing, mostly unknown encounters that Abraham Lincoln had with his constituents. Taken together, they reveal his character and opinions in unexpected ways, illustrating his difficulties in managing a republic and creating a presidency. Presentation to be delivered by her sister, Beverly Louise Brown.)

Sex & Law

Geoffrey Stone, Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century (Liveright, 2017) (a fascinating account of how sexual mores, religion, and law have intersected or―more often―collided throughout American history)

World War I

Margaret E. Wagner, America and the Great War: A Library of Congress Illustrated History (Bloomsbury Press, 2017) (A uniquely colorful chronicle of this dramatic and convulsive chapter in American --and world-- history. An epic tale, wondrously well told.)

World War II

Sally Mott Freeman, The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home (Simon & Schuster, May 2017) (The extraordinary, real-life adventure of three brothers at the center of the most dramatic turning points of World War II and their mad race to change history—and save one of their own.)

Racial Justice & History

Christopher J. LeBron, The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea (Oxford University Press, 2017) (The Making of Black Lives Matter presents a condensed and accessible intellectual history that traces the genesis of the ideas that have built into the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Drawing on the work of revolutionary black public intellectuals, including Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, and Martin Luther King Jr., LeBron clarifies what it means to assert that "Black Lives Matter" when faced with contemporary instances of anti-black law enforcement. He also illuminates the crucial difference between the problem signaled by the social media hashtag and how we think that we ought to address the problem.)

The Legacy of a Baseball Star

Ed Henry, 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story (Thomas Nelson, 2017) (foreword by Larry King) (Journalist and baseball lover Ed Henry reveals for the first time the backstory of faith that guided Jackie Robinson into not only the baseball record books but the annals of civil rights advancement as well. Through recently discovered sermons, interviews with Robinson’s family and friends, and even an unpublished book by the player himself, Henry details a side of Jackie’s humanity that few have taken the time to see.)

Religious History

Craig Harline, A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation (Oxford University Press, 2017) (The author introduces us to the flesh-and-blood Martin Luther. A riveting story of the first crucial years of the accidental crusade that would make Luther a legendary figure – and this to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the time when Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg and launched the Protestant Reformation.)

Pirates (Maritime)

Daphne Palmer Geanacopoulos, The Pirate Next Door: The Untold Story of Eighteenth Century Pirates' Wives, Families and Communities (Carolina Academic Press, 2017) (Takes what we think we know about pirates and turns it on its head by exploring the human side of pirates the wives, families and communities of the men who have long been considered outlaws and outcasts. It delves into the inner lives of pirates, focusing on their faiths, communal ties and great loves.)

Race, Music & Drugs

Martin Torgoff, Bop Apocalypse: Jazz, Race, the Beats and Drugs (Da Capo Press, 2017) (With an intricate storyline that unites engaging characters and themes and reads like a novel, the author details the rise of early drug culture in America by weaving together the disparate elements that formed this new and revolutionary segment of the American social fabric.)

Art (Biography)

Jann Haynes Gilmore, Olive Rush: Finding Her Place in the Santa Fe Art Colony (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2016) (This engaging biography brings light to the life, art, and extraordinary contributions of Olive Rush (1873–1966), artist, illustrator, muralist, Native American art educator, and social reformer.)

Gardening (Biography)

Meryl Gordon, Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend (Grand Central Publishing, 2017) (A new biography of Bunny Mellon, the style icon and American aristocrat who designed the White House Rose Garden for her friend JFK and served as a living witness to 20th Century American history, operating in the high-level arenas of politics, diplomacy, art and fashion.)

Historical Fiction

Armando Lucas Correa, The German Girl: A Novel (Atria Books, 2016) (A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel. Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, a transatlantic liner offering Jews safe passage out of Germany. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthal family and the Martin family depart on the luxurious ship bound for Havana. Life on board the St. Louis is like a surreal holiday for the refugees, with masquerade balls, exquisite meals, and polite, respectful service. But soon ominous rumors from Cuba undermine the passengers’ fragile sense of safety. From one day to the next, impossible choices are offered, unthinkable sacrifices are made, and the ship that once was their salvation seems likely to become their doom. The German Girl sweeps from Berlin at the brink of the Second World War to Cuba on the cusp of revolution, to New York in the wake of September 11, before reaching its deeply moving conclusion in the tumult of present-day Havana. Based on a true story, this masterful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home.)

Kermit Roosevelt, Allegiance: A Novel (Regan Arts, 2015) (A sophisticated legal thriller that plunges readers into the debate within the US government surrounding the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II.)

David O. Stewart, The Babe Ruth Deception (A Fraser and Cook Mystery) (Kensington, 2017) (Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, is having a record-breaking season in his first year as a New York Yankee. Larger than life on the field and off, Ruth is about to discover what the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are learning—baseball heroes are not invulnerable to scandal. With suspicion in the air, Ruth’s 1918 World Series win for the Boston Red Sox is now being questioned. / “More than enough to satisfy any reader of historical whodunits.”— Washington Post)

 Janet Benton, Lilli de Jong: A Novel (Nan A. Talese, Doubleday, 2017) (A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her. Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can’t accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers.)

Delaware History

Randy J. Holland, Delaware's Destiny Determined by Lewes (Delaware Heritage Press, 2013) (William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvaniaand Lord Baltimore, proprietor of Maryland battled in English courts over land rights in colonial America. The 1631 Dutch village of Swanendael, which later became Lewes, Delaware,  became the determining factor is Penn’s court victory. The author, a Delaware Supreme Court Justice, explains just how important the seaside town of Lewes is to the very existence of Delaware.)

Kim Rogers Burdick, Revolutionary Delaware: Independence in the First State (The History Press, 2016) (In 1776, Delaware declared independence from both England and Pennsylvania. The “First State” was instrumental in the fight to form a new republic. The Marquis de Lafayette, Nathanael Greene and George Washington all made trips to it. Caesar Rodney's ride and the Battle of Cooch's Bridge are legendary, but the state has many unsung heroes. Citizens from every village, town, crossroads and marsh risked their lives to support their beliefs. A carefully documented story of ordinary people coping with extraordinary circumstances.)

History For Young Adults

L.M. Elliott, Suspect Red (Disney-Hyperion, 2017) (A suspenseful and relatable novel by award-winning New York Times best-selling author -- breathes new life into a troubling chapter of our history known as the McCarthy era)

Historical Mysteries

Charles & Caroline Todd, The Shattered Tree: A Bess Crawford Mystery  (William Morrow, 2016) (World War I battlefield nurse Bess Crawford goes to dangerous lengths to investigate a wounded soldier’s background—and uncover his true loyalties—in this thrilling and atmospheric entry in the bestselling “vivid period mystery series”)

Charles Todd, Racing the Devil: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery     (William Morrow, 2017) (Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge finds himself caught in a twisted web of vengeance, old grievances, and secrets that lead back to World War I in the nineteenth installment of the acclaimed bestselling series.)