Q&A with David Bruns and J. R. Olson – Rules of Engagement: A Novel
Crime , Fiction , Q&A / August 19, 2019

We welcome David Bruns and J.R. Olson to answer some questions about their novel, Rules of Engagement. The book deals with cyberwarfare, as the Internet Age offers a new front in global conflicts, one that is rewriting history as you’re reading this page. Think how the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (Merrimack) clashing in the Civil War rendered wood-hulled ships obsolete, or how tanks rolling onto the Western Front transformed in the First World War and radar did the same in the Second. Winston Churchill said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind,” and that’s why co-authors David Bruns and J.R. Olson are here to imagine how World War III might unfold on these new frontiers where digital bullets fly across the world at the speed of thought. The co-authors are both graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy and creators of The WMD Files series of national security thrillers. David Bruns was an officer in the submarine force and J.R. Olson served more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a commander. He now teaches college courses in Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism. Both authors call Minnesota home. They have collaborated on previous works and…

Q&A with Jason Emerson – Mary Lincoln for the Ages
American Presidents , Q&A / August 5, 2019

We welcome Jason Emerson, who’s here to introduce us to a figure we may all think we know, but we don’t have as clear a picture of as we should. His book is Mary Lincoln for the Ages. Jason Emerson is a journalist and an independent historian who has been researching and writing about the Lincoln family for more than twenty-five years. His works include The Madness of Mary Lincoln; Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln; Mary Lincoln’s Insanity Case: A Documentary History; and Lincoln’s Lover: Mary Lincoln in Poetry. You can find him @JasonEmersonHistorian on Facebook or Jason.Emerson7 on Instagram. THE HISTORY AUTHOR SHOW: Thanks for being here, Jason. I want to start with the cover of Mary Lincoln for the Ages. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look quite so alive and vibrant, which is fitting as you bring her to life here for readers. Why chose that portrait attributed to Nicolas H. Shepherd? Jason Emerson: Thanks for having me here. I love the cover of my book. It’s difficult to create a good cover design when writing about Mary, since there are only a handful of photos of her that are known to exist. If you look,…

Q&A with Duncan Ryūken Williams – American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War
Q&A , Religion , WWII / July 22, 2019

We welcome Duncan Ryūken Williams with some enriching insights about his book, American Sutra: A Story of Faith and Freedom in the Second World War. Our guest was born in Tokyo to a Japanese mother and British father, growing up in both their native countries before moving to the United States to pursue his studies. He earned a Ph.D. in Religion from Harvard and is now Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures, and the Director of the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. Duncan Ryūken Williams previously held the Shinjo Ito Distinguished Chair of Japanese Buddhism at UC Berkeley and served as the Director of Berkeley’s Center for Japanese Studies. In 1993, he was ordained as a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen tradition and served as the Buddhist chaplain at Harvard University from 1994-96. He last published The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Soto Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan, and he’s edited or co-edited seven others. THE HISTORY AUTHOR SHOW: First, thank you for your time and this read. I love a book that adds to my understanding of the world, especially when I didn’t realize that hole in my…

Q&A with David A. Johnson – Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan
Medicine , Q&A / July 8, 2019

July 8, 2019 – We welcome David Alan Johnson to our blog, here to answer some written questions about Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan. The book chronicles the bizarre history of the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania (EMC). Founded in 1850 professing lofty goals, it collapsed into spectacular disgrace 30 years later — a scandal of Ponzi proportions, in an era (the 19th Century) when American medical personnel often had little training and even less regulation. David A. Johnson serves as senior vice president at the Federation of State Medical Boards. His published works on various aspects of medical regulation and its history have appeared in Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Social History of Medicine and the Journal of Medical Regulation. He is the lead author of Medical Licensing and Discipline in America: A History of the Federation of State Medical Boards. You can find our guest online at ArmchairHistorian.blog and @DaveArlingtonTx Twitter. THE HISTORY AUTHOR SHOW: In the ten years before the mid-1870s, America suffers through the Civil War, the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, and a deep economic panic. How does the profession of medicine evolve from 1850 when the Eclectic Medical…

Q&A with David Wolman and Julian Smith – Aloha Rodeo
Q&A / June 24, 2019

We welcome co-authors David Wolman and Julian Smith to chat about ranchmen unlike any you’ve read about before. This may not be our first rodeo, as people say, but it’s certainly a rodeo like no other. Their very special book is Aloha Rodeo: Three Hawaiian Cowboys, the World’s Greatest Rodeo, and a Hidden History of the American West. David Wolman is a Contributing Editor at Outside. He has written for the Wired, the New York Times, New Yorker, Nature, and many other publications, as well as having his work anthologized in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. He’s author of The End of Money, Righting the Mother Tongue, and A Left-Hand Turn Around the World. Julian Smith received a Banff Mountain Book Award and a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award for Crossing the Heart of Africa: An Odyssey of Love and Adventure. The coauthor with Jason A. Ramos of Smokejumper: A Memoir by One of America’s Most Select Airborne Firefighters, you’ve enjoyed his work in Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Wired, Outside, and the Washington Post, among other publications. For more, visit JulianSmith.com and David-Wolman.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @JulianWrites and @DavidWolman or Instagram @JulianSmith and @DavidWolman….

Q&A with Shelley Emling – A Forgotten Hero: Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish Humanitarian Who Rescued 30,000 People from the Nazis
Q&A , WWII / June 10, 2019

We welcome Shelley Emling to give us an inside look at A Forgotten Hero: Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish Humanitarian Who Rescued 30,000 People from the Nazis. Shelley Emling is a native Texan, UT graduate, and former reporter for UPI, London correspondent for Cox Newspapers, having also spent a stint covering Central America. She’s currently a senior editor at AARP. Her previous books are The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World, and, Setting the World on Fire: The Brief, Astonishing Life of St. Catherine of Siena; as well as Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family.  THE HISTORY AUTHOR SHOW: Shelley, while you’ve worked in a lot of places around the globe, I don’t see an obvious spot on your journey where you’d have come across the fascinating story of Folke Bernadotte. How did you find the man who is — as the title of your book says — A Forgotten Hero? Shelley Emling: It was actually my literary agent, Agnes Birnbaum, who had read a magazine article about Folke Bernadotte and mentioned him to me as a possible subject. Previously I had only written about strong, interesting women so…

Q&A with David Collum – The War Diaries of Virgil Collum: Three Years on a Destroyer in the Korean War
Q&A , WWII / May 25, 2019

In honor of the fallen on Memorial Day, The History Author Show welcomed David Collum, editor of The War Diaries of Virgil Collum: Three Years on a Destroyer in the Korean War. Virgil is David Collum’s late father, who recorded detailed descriptions of his shipmates in action from the outbreak of war in 1951, through armistice (though not peace treaty) in 1953. You can find David on Twitter @DCollum5978 or on LinkedIn, where we connected. THE HISTORY AUTHOR SHOW: First, thank you for your service in the U.S. Navy, which we’ll get to as our conversation progresses. Let’s start when you contacted me about your book. You said, “I’m not an author,” but that when you discovered your father’s war diary, you felt you had to do something with it. A lot of us find documents when we’re going through a loved one’s effects, and maybe think we’ll write them up…someday. But even those who are authors get caught up with living life and obligations. You’re also disabled, so that’s another challenge, and yet you got the job done. It’s inspiring. What advice would you give to someone who finds a diary like this in their loved one’s personal effects,…

Q&A with Travis Smith – Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save the World; Which One Do We Need Most Now?
Pop Culture , Q&A / January 7, 2019

After three years of hosting almost all our 150+ interviews for The History Author Show, I maintain my love for the magic of books and admiration of the people at all levels who bring them to us. But like Mr. Henry Bemis in the iconic Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last,” there are always more books than hours to read. So I’m hoping that the occasional written Q&A will allow me to touch base with and promote authors who catch my eye but who we can’t join for a conversation. We kick off this feature for 2019 with an author whose book I’ve been dying to cover. His name is Travis Smith and he brings us Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save the World. Which One Do We Need Most Now? Mr. Smith is associate professor at Concordia University where he teaches political philosophy. He earned his doctorate at Harvard University. He now resides in Montreal, where he “teaches Hobbes, Tocqueville, Plato and Aristotle by day, and fights crime by night.” So let’s get started, true believers… The History Author Show: I felt we had an immediate connection when I read about your “pull list”…