I admit it—I’m a complete history geek.
And few things excite me more than the arrival in my mailbox, just a day apart, of not one but TWO new releases in the non-fiction category: Bunker Hill by Nathaniel Philbrick and Revolutionary Summer by Joseph J. Ellis.
Thanks to my husband, I’ve become a fan of Book TV. Steve is like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to ferreting out authors of the American Revolution era who speak on that program in front of audiences of history addicts like myself. My husband knows I will leave everything else aside to watch such an interview. This, to me, is great “Reality TV!”
When Joseph Ellis was the guest author on Book TV, I loved watching him speak with his self-amused laugh and interesting banter about the summer of 1776 that he calls, “the crescendo moment in American History.”
But it was Nathaniel Philbrick that I was most excited to hear. I felt a connection of sorts with the “other Author” (Philbrick) who toured the Jason Russell House in Arlington, Massachusetts just a few weeks before I did in July of 2012.
“Nathaniel Philbrick!” My jaw opened wide in teen-like adulation when the historian at the Russell House told me this must be author month: Philbrick was going to visit there to do research for “Bunker Hill.”
Many folks may not even be familiar with Philbrick’s work but he has penned Mayflower, Sea of Glory, and In the Heart of the Sea, among other historical non-fiction accounts. I have not scanned more than Mayflower and, while at times it read like a textbook, his research was impeccable. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for that book. And I am his geeky fan. 🙂
So, touring the creaky floorboards of the 1700’s home and its owners who I write about in Fields of the Fatherless, I felt a special kinship with both the historical figures that lived there as well as the historian.
Philbrick’s book is non-fiction; mine is fiction based on actual events. In my genre, I attempt to bring to life through words the people who lived the terrifying tale that helped win American Independence. Both genres have their place on the book self. Both serve to educate and help us remember that we owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before us and sacrificed so much.
Nathaniel Philbrick may never read Fields of the Fatherless. But I will certainly peruse the pages of his well-researched book about Dr. Joseph Warren and the battle of Bunker Hill. After all, I walked every step to the top of the Bunker Hill monument as a child. History courses through my blood.
Book TV, anyone?