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Other Book Projects Underway

SKOBELEV: The god of War

Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev (1843 – 1882) was one of the most acclaimed generals of his era and an international figure in nineteenth century geopolitics. Skobelev was aristocratic and arrogant, but he was also a brilliant tactician and a charismatic leader of men. His soldiers adored him and his immense popularity gave the czar great concern.

Skobelev played an important role in the Russian conquest of Central Asia and was the hero of the Russo- Turkish War of 1877-78. His pro-Slavic speeches in Paris and in Moscow at the beginning of 1882 received international attention and generated a great deal of excitement and concern. His militant appeal for Russia to go to the aid of the Slavs in the Balkans might have initiated World War I thirty years earlier. He died just months later – at the age of thirty-eight - under mysterious circumstances. It is not clear who had greater motivation to assassinate Skobelev: Bismarck, the German Chancellor, or Alexander III, Czar of Russia. One of the great what-ifs of history considers how Skobelev’s presence might have averted Russia’s humiliating defeats in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and in World War I (1914-1917) and perhaps even the subsequent Russian Revolution.

The book traces my travel adventures and friendships throughout Europe and Asia as I follow Skobelev’s military career. It is part travel memoir, part historical biography and part military history. I weave Skobelev’s own writings and speeches, the observations of his friends and comrades-in-arms and his military tactics and exploits into my narration. My experiences included maneuvering through Russian bureaucratic procedures, dealing with volatile Turkmen and Iranians, walking the off-limits battlefield at Geok Tepe, accessing the restricted Russian military archives, retrieving information from Russian libraries and newspaper archives and discussing Skobelev’s impact and his legacy with modern-day Russian officers.

HOLOCAUST HEROINE: The Story of Ona Šimaitė

This has been a project for decades. Šimaitė surfaced from initial research at Hoover Institution on the Stanford University campus for my book Lithuania, The Nation That Would Be Free. That led to personal adventures and explorations in Lithuania and Moscow, but also beyond to Paris and to Israel. I interviewed Holocaust survivors and Lithuanian émigrés in New York City and throughout the United States. I dug into primary source materials in archives in Lithuania, Russia and Germany and in such unlikely places as Kent State University in Ohio. I was able to develop personal relationships with several key people who knew well this remarkable woman. These included those who lived and worked with Šimaitė in Vilnius, a Jewish woman who witnessed and experienced Šimaitė’s kindness in the ghetto, and a woman whom Šimaitė managed to spirit from the ghetto and the man who cared for Šimaitė in her final years. I also met with Holocaust scholars, Lithuanian diplomats and KGB officers.

Holocaust Heroine is near completion, having been completely re-written from its scholarly version to a much more engaging narrative nonfiction form that includes my own experiences and emotions as I evolve in my understanding of that place and time and about altruism.

A Narrative Nonfiction Travel Guide to the French Era in Montreal

This book will be the end-result of many years traveling in Quebec province and studying in-depth the French era (1534 - 1760). The basis of this will be volumes of research done for my very first manuscript, a revisionist history of the French Era in Canada. My work was well received in publishing circles in the beginning of the 1990s … and widely circulated … as a complete manuscript. I even had a literary agent for a time – without almost no effort. My work was never published. At least one possible derivative appeared later in print. I scrambled and found a good story during my travels in Lithuania and published my first book in 1995. I will re-write the original guide to the history of Montreal as narrative nonfiction.

The African American Experience in Confederate & Reconstruction Texas

This book is the result of extensive material gathered in the course of researching for my book The Confederates of Chappell Hill. It was intended to be essentially a follow-up volume. Recent breakthrough discoveries have made this book significantly more important and worth pushing to publication. There are heartbreaking stories of tragedy, powerful stories of courage and great connections offering new insight into historical understanding.