WHO IS JOHN GRADY
John is working on his next biography. Again focused on a Civil War figure, the story unravels the myths surrounding a young Virginian who is branded as a “spy, pirate, and guerrilla.” In his time, John Yates Beall was considered more dangerous to the republic than John Singleton Mosby. Pivotal characters in Beall’s odyssey are the terrorist abolitionist, John Brown; the presidential assassin, John Wilkes Booth; the president himself, Abraham Lincoln and the Confederacy’s Jefferson Davis. Beall’s wartime exploits on land ranged from skirmishing at Harper’s Ferry to daring raids cutting communications lines from Tidewater, Virginia to Washington and from secret missions launched from Toronto to strikes in Buffalo. His war also was fought in the water. Beall masterminded operations that captured Union merchant ships in Chesapeake Bay and seized underway steamers on the Great Lakes. How Beall’s fate was decided remains the legal underpinning the United States employed to defend itself against saboteurs and spies in World Wars I and II and suspected terrorists here and abroad today. John’s first book, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography, published by McFarland, was nominated for the Library of Virginia non-fiction award.
John Grady, a managing editor of Navy Times for more than eight years and retired communications director of the Association of the United States Army after 17 years, continues writing on national security and defense.