05 Mar

Toxic Leader Posted Great Achievement

Portrait of Charles Wilkes about the time he commanded The South Seas Exploring Expedition. Nathaniel Philbrick’s “Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery”  should be on every commander’s reading list and also in every business and government schools’ syllabus. The work is every bit as valuable and pertinent today...

24 Feb

A Spy, Pirate and Guerrilla Goes to Charleston

The cell were Beall was shackled at Fort McHenry, Baltimore Well, not quite, but I will be talk about John Yates Beall’s days of raiding on the Chesapeake Bay at the May conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History in Charleston in mid-May.  For his efforts to...

23 Feb

Conspiracies, Assassinations, Executions

I spent four extremely profitable  hours at the Surratt Museum in Prince George’s County, Maryland. I was rooting around in the research center’s collections for more information on John Yates Beall’s operations from Canada on and around the Great Lakes in the later stages of the Civil War and...

10 Feb

Vickie Lewis and Side by Side

Vickie Lewis I want to share some thoughts on Vickie’s Side by Side and how it finally was published in 1999.  As she wrote in the acknowledgements to that wonderful work, “It’s creation didn’t take a straight and narrow path.” Through two friends, Kate Patterson and Phil Budahn, I...

13 Jan

Another Great Walk with Rory Stewart

Rory Stewart following Hadrian’s Wall   Rory Stewart’s The Places in Between, his personal account of his long trek across Afghanistan in 2002 in winter, made me a fan.  What a remarkable book! I thought then and still believe now. Having read more exploration and travel adventure books by...

20 Dec

Christmas Revels: Wonderful D.C. Tradition


12 Dec

Done with Montaigne — Not Quite

A lifetime ago, I had to read one of Michel de Montaigne’s essays in a freshman philosophy class.  All I really remember about that experience was the title had nothing to do with what was down on paper. There had to have been some type of discussion about that...

05 Dec

Loving the Midwest — from a distance and remembering Alma Mater

I was really truck by the eloquence of Lynn Freehill-Maye’s New York Times’ travel piece on David Foster Wallace’s life in Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  It has been seven years since I last drove through Central Illinois, and it was early winter by temperature, snow flurries and the wind buffeting...

27 Nov

What a Treat, Richard the Third

In June I returned from a Richmond conference with a list of books on writing to either buy or check out of the library.  One was Paul Murray Kendall’s on The Art of Biography, mentioned by several speakers.  Frankly, I knew nothing about Kendall, a scholar of the Renaissance...

06 Oct

Sea History and Blue & Gray on Maury

Two reviews that captured what I wanted to do with Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography: picture him in a way that was similar to that of Hyman Rickover, father of the nuclear Navy.  They were naval officers who were highly controversial, public figures inside and outside the sea...

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