Digging holes here and there in American history.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Digging the Past

Hello. This is a sort of New Year's Resolution. I am currently writing a book with ideas for several more. The problem with writing books is it takes forever to get your thoughts and facts before a reader. Even with magazines, a nine to twelve month delay between my submission of the work to the publisher and the appearance of the article is common. This blog will solve the problem by permitting me to share with you long before my book or books are published.

Beware, I don't write much about "general" topics but very specific aspects that have captured my interest. Stories that I "dig," in other words. For example, my current book is about the crew of a German U-boat captured during World War II. Many books have been written about the U-505 submarine but mine will focus on the yet untold story of their secret internment in a POW camp in Louisiana. Publication later this year, I hope.

I've collected material for my next two books. One will be on the guns and knives used by John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and attempted murder of Secretary of State William Seward. A very unique topic, I believe, especially since dozens of books have been written on Lincoln and his murder but none has examined the weapons and their recovery. As a police investigator for three decades, my experience in crime scene analysis will permit me to discuss the collection of evidence in the case and reveal interesting stories of the tools of the assassins. The literature on the Lincoln assassination continues to increase with a flood of recent book releases so it is a subject that still captures the interest of many.

Perhaps within a couple of years, I will finish my research on crime during Reconstruction in Louisiana. My preliminary research indicates the murder rate was higher in the 1870s than today. Incidents with national and international significance occurred in north Louisiana during the late 1800s including the so-called "Colfax Riot," the "Coushatta Massacre," and the lynching of five Italians. There is compelling evidence that Jesse James robbed a stagecoach in Louisiana during this time, a crime not usually enumerated in the "official" list of misdeeds committed by the James & Younger gang. During Reconstruction, the famed Seventh Cavalry patrolled north Louisiana and many of the troopers who arrested members of the "White League" for crimes against newly freed blacks would later die at the Little Big Horn.

So, you can expect my blog to include entries on these topics and many more. Digging into the past is a passion and I can't wait to share some of my discoveries. I hope you will bring your shovel and do some excavating with me.

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