Keynote Announcement

The 2018 History Book Festival will kick off 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28 at Bethel United Methodist Church. The festival will host a weekend of varied presentations by more than 20 authors of newly published nonfiction and fiction books about history.

The presentations will be enhanced by lively discussions, book sales and surprises at several venues around the city of Lewes.

The festival’s opening evening event will feature acclaimed historian Blanche Wiesen Cook, who will discuss her most recently published biography, “Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962.”

Paul Sparrow, director of the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, New York, will interview Wiesen Cook and moderate a question and answer exchange with the audience. To set the stage for the evening, renowned composer David Cieri will perform pieces he wrote for the Ken Burns PBS documentary series, “The Roosevelts.”

“We are quite proud and excited to bring Blanche Wiesen Cook, Paul Sparrow and David Cieri to Lewes,” says Ronald Collins, who co-chairs the book festival with Jen Mason. “It gives us the opportunity to explore and discuss Eleanor Roosevelt and the important matters that shaped her life and that of others.”

“We also are excited about the interest the festival has attracted nationwide from noted authors and publishing houses,” says Mason. “Last year, at the first History Book Festival, we had an incredible lineup of diverse authors — and this year’s festival is certain to rival that success. What attracts them to Lewes is our focus on history, our small town hospitality, our engaged audience, and, of course, our beautiful beaches.”

Wiesen Cook is a distinguished professor of history and women’s studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and at the Graduate Center of City University of New York. She worked on Eleanor Roosevelt’s biography for more than 35 years. The first two volumes of the biography, published in 1992 and 1999 covered Roosevelt’s childhood years, her personal life and her rise to national attention. The three-volume series has received many favorable reviews, including from NPR and The New York Times Book Review.

The third volume follows Roosevelt through the war years until her death, providing new insights into the evolution of her complex marriage to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It reveals how she fought for economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality and the rescue of war refugees — all issues the president sidelined as he prepared for and led the country through World War II.

The book festival brings noted and new authors of recently published works of historical fiction and non-fiction to coastal Delaware. Following Friday evening’s event, presentations will continue Saturday, including the addition of a ticketed luncheon and happy hour in 2018.

Venues include the Lewes Public Library, The Margaret H. Rollins Community Center and Lewes History Museum, Lewes Presbyterian Church, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.  A free shuttle service will be available to take participants to the different venues. On Saturday, the Friends of The Lewes Public Library will sell a variety of history books to coincide with the festival.

Last year’s inaugural History Book Festival attracted over 1,000 visitors. While most Saturday events are free, thanks to the generous support of Delaware Humanities (DEHumanities.org) and iHeart Media and other sponsors, the kick-off Eleanor Roosevelt evening is ticketed and costs $35 per person or $50 per couple. The price includes a signed, softback copy of, “Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962.” To purchase tickets, and to learn more about the festival, please visit www.historybookfestival.org.


History Book Festival

The fun doesn’t have to end on Labor Day. The second annual History Book Festival is coming to Lewes on September 28 and 29 with an engaging and diverse slate of authors and topics for all ages. 

The festival kicks off on Friday at 7 pm at Bethel United Methodist Church with a multi-media event featuring Blanche Wiesen Cook, a noted biographer of Eleanor Roosevelt and distinguished professor.  Wiesen Cook will discuss her latest book, “Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3:  The War Years and After, 1939-1962.”  Paul Sparrow, Director of the FDR Library and Museum in Hyde Park, will interview her. The interview will be complemented by a performance by David Cieri, an acclaimed musician who composed the music for “The Roosevelts” PBS documentary. 

Tickets for the keynote event will be $35, per person, or $50 per couple, which includes one book signed by the author. 

Thanks to the generous support of Delaware Humanities, free author events will be offered throughout the day on Saturday, from 8:30 am to 4 pm. More than 20 best-selling or noted authors of current fiction and non-fiction books will discuss their work. They will be introduced by experts who will share insights and facilitate audience questions. The festival will conclude with a “Spirited Discussion,” a festive gathering for audience members and presenters to celebrate the event.

Most Saturday events will take place in the Lewes Public Library, the Margaret C. Rollins Community Center, and Lewes Presbyterian Church in downtown Lewes. While these venues are within walking distance of each other, a free shuttle will make the circuit between events and the Lewes Historic Business District. 

Fascinating topics about the history of everything abound at this year’s festival, including food, politics, civil rights, colonial America, music, and the culture of the Delmarva peninsula. All books will be available for purchase at all festival locations, at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth, and at Biblion in Lewes. Books are also currently available at the Lewes Public Library for those who prefer to read in advance.

“We are so excited to bring the History Book Festival to Lewes for its second year,” said Jen Mason, festival co-chair. “Those who attended last year’s event – both our audience and our authors – had so much fun. A book festival dedicated to history may sound like a snooze-fest to a lot of folks, but I can assure you that these authors and books will be anything but. The presentations and Q&As are lively and engaging, and the book signings that follow each talk provide a wonderful chance for one-on-one exchanges with these authors.”

Several authors of books on the history of civil rights are included in this year’s schedule. Janet Dewart Bell will talk about “Lighting the Fires of Freedom:  African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement,” her groundbreaking collection based on oral histories of the overlooked leadership of African American women in the twentieth-century fight for civil rights. Robert W. Fieseler, author of “Tinderbox:  The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation,” will reconstruct the 1973 arsonist’s fire in New Orleans that was the largest mass murder of gays until 2016. 

Jazz lovers won’t want to miss Quincy Troupe, author of “Miles and Me,” a truthful, loving story of the legendary jazz artist, Miles Davis, and the entire catalogue of Davis’ recordings. Troupe, a journalist, activist, and poet, became Davis’ friend. His screenplay based on the book will be released in 2019 as a major motion picture. 

For sports enthusiasts, this year’s festival features Daniel de Visé, author of “The Comeback:  Greg LeMond, the True King of American Cycling, and a Legendary Tour de France.” Months after being the first American winner of the Tour de France, Greg LeMond had a serious accident, made a remarkable recovery, and won twice more. 

US history and politics figure prominently this year, with Kerri Maher, author of “The Kennedy Debutante,” a novel about Katherine Kennedy, the largely forgotten daughter of this dynastic family and how she chose her own path. The first scientific discoveries of one of the founding fathers are the focus of Nick Bunker’s, “Young Benjamin Franklin:  The Birth of Ingenuity.” Joseph Esposito will discuss the historical implications of a stunning guest list in his work, “Dinner at Camelot:  The Night America’s Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House.” On the darker side of politics, Eleanor Herman, author of “The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Places, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicines, and Murder Most Foul,” will trace poison as a political tool from the Middle Ages to today. 

There are many more great authors and books on this year’s schedule. For more information, and to purchase tickets to the keynote, visit www.historyfestival.org


Award-Winning Author of Book on American West Featured

The 2018 History Book Festival in Lewes, Delaware, will feature Peter Cozzens, author or editor of 17 books on the American Civil War and Indian Wars. His latest book is “The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West,” which was recently published in paperback by Alfred A. Knopf. It is the recipient of the 2017 Gilder Lehrman Prize in Military History and was chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top ten history books of 2016. “The Earth Is Weeping “ is a sweeping, definitive history of the battles and negotiations that destroyed the Indian way of life even as they paved the way for the emergence of the United States we know today.

His presentation, slated for 3 p.m. at the Lewes Public Library, is among 21 other free author events throughout the day at the multi-venue festival in downtown Lewes.

Jen Mason, co-chair of the History Book Festival, said, “When one of our authors [Quincy Troupe of Miles & Me] unexpectedly cancelled all of his September appearances, we were so excited and grateful that Peter Cozzens was available and willing to come to talk about this important book. Coincidentally, Mr. Cozzens had been slated to present at last year's inaugural festival when he received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour abroad. I'm thrilled to get the chance to hear his presentation this year!"

Cozzens recently retired from a thirty-year career as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army.

Cozzens will be interviewed by Deborah Grosvenor, who heads the Grosvenor Literary Agency. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the book publishing business as an agent and editor. During her career, she has edited or represented several hundred nonfiction books. As an editor, Grosvenor acquired Tom Clancy’s first novel, “The Hunt for Red October.” Today she focuses on narrative non-fiction, especially with an historical context, including the work of Cozzens.

The History Book Festival, scheduled for September 28-29, will bring best-selling authors of new, notable historical fiction and non-fiction to Lewes. Last year’s festival attracted over 1,000 visitors, who enjoyed a mix of author presentations, interviews, and panel discussion – all with audience Q&As and book signings to follow. The festival kicks off on Friday, September 28, with a sold-out ticketed keynote presentation. All author presentations on Saturday, September 29, are free, with seats available on a first-come basis at four presentation sites. For further details, please visit the festival website at www.HistoryBookFestival.org.