Aug 162018
 

The remarkable story of Benjamin Rush, medical pioneer and one of our nation’s most provocative and unsung Founding Fathers In the summer of 1776, fifty-six men put their quills to a dangerous document they called the Declaration of Independence. Among them was a thirty-year-old doctor named Benjamin Rush. One of the youngest signatories, he was also, among stiff competition, one of the most visionary. A brilliant physician and writer, Rush was known as the “American Hippocrates” for pioneering national healthcare and revolutionizing treatment of mental illness and addiction. Yet medicine is only part of his legacy. Dr. Rush was both a progressive thorn in the side of the American political establishment—a vocal opponent of slavery, capital punishment, and prejudice by race, religion or gender—and close friends with its most prominent leaders.

Join us on Monday, September 24th was we welcome Stephen Fried to our round table to discuss his new book Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding FatherOur meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You need to write your name “legibly” on any dollar bill, and then submit that at the meeting.  We do draw multiple winners each meeting.

He was the protégé of Franklin, the editor of Common Sense, Washington’s surgeon general, and the broker of peace between Adams and Jefferson, yet his stubborn convictions more than once threatened his career and his place in the narrative of America’s founding. Drawing on a trove of previously unpublished letters and images, the voluminous correspondence between Rush and his better-known counterparts, and his candid and incisive personal writings, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Stephen Fried resurrects the most significant Founding Father we’ve never heard of and finally installs Dr. Rush in the pantheon of great American leaders.

Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry—Inside the Minds of Married Men.

Aug 152018
 

Did you know that Israel Putnam commanded a force of 500 men who were shipwrecked off the coast of Cuba?  Did you know that in 1758 he barely escaped being burned alive by Mohawk Indians?  Israel Putnam was born in Salem Village, Mass., on Jan. 7, 1718. He had very little education and remained nearly illiterate all his life. In 1738 he married Hannah Pope and the following year moved to Connecticut, where he bought land and farmed successfully, soon becoming a man of substance. When the French and Indian War broke out in 1756, Putnam was commissioned a lieutenant in the Connecticut militia and served throughout the conflict, rising steadily in rank until he reached a colonelcy by the time it ended in 1763. He fought in numerous engagements, earned a reputation for bravery and resourcefulness, and gained valuable military experience.

Join us on Monday, October 29th was we welcome Robert Ernest Hubbard to our round table to discuss his new book Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books. You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

With the coming of peace, Putnam returned to farming and also operated a tavern. He took part in the developing conflict between England and the Colonies, helping organize the Sons of Liberty in 1765. He participated in the political life of Connecticut as a representative to the General Assembly in 1766 and 1767. In 1774 he headed the local Committee of Correspondence and accepted appointment as lieutenant colonel of a regiment of Connecticut militia. When the fighting began in the spring of 1775, Putnam entered active service and in June was appointed by the Continental Congress one of the four major generals under George Washington’s command.  It was he who reportedly gave the command “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

In his book “Major General Israel Putnum: Hero of the American Revolution”, author Robert Ernest Hubbard details Putnam’s close relationships with Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, and John and Abigail Adams, this first full-length biography of Putnam in more than a century re-examines the life of a revolutionary whose seniority in the Continental Army was second only to that of George Washington.

Robert Ernest Hubbard is a retired professor from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut and an adjunct faculty member in the college’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. For over 20 years, he has been webmaster of major websites on American Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam and entertainer Phil Silvers. He lives in Wallingford, Connecticut.

Aug 142018
 

The Red Tape and the Revolution topic is the result of a quest that began many years ago. Bob Sullivan has been researching Continental Army forms, especially printed ones, for many years. The show how the Army became organized, specifically tracking logistics and day-to-day mundane tasks. Paperwork, where did it start, why does it look the way it does, and who decided what to track and what not to track. I have found about 75 examples of Continental Army printed forms, and the talk is about their origin, their reason for being, and how to interpret them.

Join us on Monday, November 26th, as we proudly welcome Bob Sullivan as he presents his talk on Red Tape and the American Revolution.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $25.  If you pay after 12/31/2018, the dues go up to $30 per person.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Much like a modern business, the Continental Army operated on a system of debits and credits. Every time equipment was given out to a particular military unit the disbursement was listed as a debit. And when equipment was received into the military stores, there was a credit.

The story of major campaigns of the Revolutionary War can be followed through account books. The vast amount of equipment the British surrendered to the Continental Army at Yorktown was, however, listed in the ledger book as simply “Credit – The United States.” Through pictures and prints, maps and account books, Bob Sullivan will give us an understanding of just what the British surrendered on October 19, 1781, and what the Americans gained.

Bob Sullivan has been interested in American History as far back as he can remember. His history-related accomplishments include three summers as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, summer employment at Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, and an article on the Pennsylvania Mutiny published in the Journal of the Company of Military Historians.

Bob’s interest in military paperwork and books began as soon as he discovered that original paper was cheaper to buy than original uniforms and weapons. He has contributed his research skills and knowledge to authors, prop masters, and museum directors. Currently, Bob’s personal collection of 19th century paper items numbers over 250 items. His reproductions of paper have appeared in such productions as The Patriot, Master and Commander, and the AMC series Turn.

He is currently employed by Springhouse Education and Consulting Services in Exton, PA, as an instructor and consultant. Bob has used his knowledge of computer skills and historic paperwork to create his successful side business, Sullivan Press, ongoing since 1989. He also currently serves as the Treasurer of the Twin Valley School Board. Bob is married with two daughters.

Aug 132018
 

Did you know that at various times Trenton was occupied by American Continentals, Militia, British Regulars, Hessians, Continental Mutineers, and the French Army and it housed British and Hessian prisoners and Loyalist sympathizers?

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Join us on Monday, January 28th, as we proudly welcome noted author William Kidder as he presents his talk on his newest book, Crossroads of the Revolution: Trenton 1774-1783.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

The story of Trenton between 1774 and 1783 is a microcosm of the struggles faced by ordinary Americans during the Revolution, struggles intensified by Trenton’s geographic location in the State which saw more military activity than others and on a road constantly used to move and supply armies. Life in Trenton connected to just about every aspect of the Revolution. The story of the people who lived in Trenton, or who spent time there because of the Revolution, helps us better understand the hitherto untold importance of their town beyond the one well known day of battle.

For much of the war Trenton supplied a Continental army hospital and was a supply depot and transfer point employing local people to get supplies to the army at many places including Valley Forge and Morristown. Trenton was not the State capital, it was only a county seat, but its location made it the spot chosen for the new State government to sit for a great deal of time, another strain on the town’s resources. All this activity provided stress for some and opportunities for others, but everyone had to deal with it on a daily basis.

William L. “Larry” Kidder was born in California and raised in California, Indiana, New York, and New Jersey. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Larry served four years of active duty in the US Navy and was assigned to the US Navy Research and Development Unit, Vietnam and then the destroyer USS Brownson (DD868) home ported in Newport, Rhode Island. In the 1980s he was the lead researcher and writer for the creation of the Admiral Arleigh Burke National Destroyermen’s Museum aboard the destroyer museum ship USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD850) at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Larry is a retired high school history teacher who taught for forty years in both public and private schools. He considers teaching to be both his vocation and avocation. During his 32 years of teaching at The Hun School of Princeton he enjoyed designing courses that gave his students the opportunity to develop the thinking, research, and writing skills that result from “doing history” and not just learning facts for a test.

For more than twenty-five years, Larry has been a volunteer at the Howell Living History Farm, part of the Mercer County Park System, in Hopewell, New Jersey. For varying lengths of time he has volunteered as an historian, interpreter, webmaster, and draft horse teamster.

Larry is active in historical societies in Ewing, Hopewell, and Lawrence townships. He is an avid member of the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the Washington’s Crossing Roundtable of the American Revolution, and the New Jersey Living History Advisory Council. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Crossroads of the American Revolution and is working with Crossroads as volunteer coordinator and editor of its Meet Your Revolutionary Neighbors project.

Aug 102018
 

A new biography of John André, head of British secret services in the Revolutionary War, who was captured in 1780 and hanged as a spy.

Join us on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019, as we welcome noted British author Douglas Ronald as he presents The Life of John Andre: The Redcoat Who Turned Benedict Arnold.  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

John André was head of the British Army’s Secret Service in North America as the Revolutionary War entered its most bitter and, ultimately, decisive phase. In 1780, he masterminded the defection of a high-ranking American officer—General Benedict Arnold. Arnold—his name for ever synonymous with treason in American folklore—had recently been appointed commander of West Point and agreed, through André, to turn over to the British this strategically vital fort on the upper reaches of the Hudson River. Control of the fort would interrupt lines of communication between New England and the southern colonies, seriously impeding military operations against the British. The plan was also to simultaneously kidnap General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. By these two masterstrokes, the British believed they could end rebel resistance.

The secret negotiations between Arnold and André were protracted and fraught with danger. Arnold’s new wife, Peggy became the go-between in the negotiations. Arnold insisted that, to complete negotiations, he and André must meet face to face. At the dead of night on September 21st 1780 the two rendezvoused in no-man’s-land. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of British forces in North America and André’s immediate superior, agreed to this meeting but with three strict conditions: that André not go within the American lines; that he remain in uniform; and that he carry away from the meeting no incriminating papers. Thus, if caught, André could not be treated as a spy.

Yet, when André was captured forty-eight hours later, he was within American lines, had changed into civilian clothes and was carrying maps of West Point hidden in his boots. The Americans had no option other than to treat him as a spy, especially when he himself admitted this. He was convicted by military tribunal and hanged—his death lamented both in America and England.

While biographers agree on the facts of this tragic episode, they disagree on André’s motives and why he chose to sacrifice himself. This new biography of André puts forward a new answer to this mystery—not only why he acted as he did, but how he wished others to see his actions.

D.A.B. Ronald is a writer and historian. He studied at Edinburgh University, where he gained a Master of Arts Honours Degree in History and French, and is currently completing a PhD at Exeter University on contemporary representation of boy sailors in Britain’s Navy during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. After a 30-year career in merchant banking, during which he lived overseas for many years – in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the United States – Douglas returned to the U.K. Now a full-time writer, he is researching a companion volume to Young Nelsons on the boy soldiers who served during the Napoleonic Wars.

Aug 082018
 

British and German troops ran into stubborn American resistance in Hubbardton on July 7, 1777. After nearly four hours of intense fighting, Crown forces would win the day, but this contest would ultimately contribute to turning the tide for the Patriot cause.

In the fields and hills around Hubbardton, a tenacious American rear guard of about 1200 men derailed British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne’s plan for a quick march to Albany. Hubbardton was also the first close action heavy fighting between a combined British and German expeditionary force and the American northern army during Burgoyne’s campaign, a plan which had three British armies converging on Albany to split the Colonies by controlling the Hudson River.

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Join us on Monday, May 20th was we welcome Dr. Bruce M. Venter who will be speaking about his book The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America .  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Burgoyne’s Redcoats won a tactical victory, but they suffered precious, irreplaceable losses. Patriots under Col. Seth Warner, 34, with his Green Mountain Boys along with troops from New Hampshire and Massachusetts left the British and Germans bloodied, but in control of the field.

Three months later, again after more heavy fighting, Burgoyne and his weakened army surrendered at Saratoga on Oct. 17, 1777, paving the way for a French alliance. Burgoyne’s defeat at the hands of a “rabble in arms” would eventually usher in American independence four years later at Yorktown.

After capturing Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence on Lake Champlain on July 6, with nary a shot being fired, Gen. Burgoyne ordered a pursuit of the retreating, demoralized Continental Army under Maj. Gen Arthur St. Clair.

Burgoyne penned an excited note to the Secretary of State for the colonies, Lord George Germain claiming that he would be at his objective, Albany in a matter of weeks. When King George heard the news, he shouted at his wife, “I have beat them! I have beaten all the Americans!” A few months later his tune would change.

Crown forces under Brig. Gen. Simon Fraser, 48, were dispatched after the fleeing Americans over the Mount Independence-Hubbardton military road, while Burgoyne pursued another contingent down Lake Champlain to Skenesborough (present-day Whitehall, New York.)

About 850 Redcoats under Fraser, representing the flower of Burgoyne’s army, elite grenadier and light infantry battalions departed from Mount Independence before dawn on July 6. In his haste, Fraser marched without artillery, extra ammunition or food (except what was carried in the soldiers’ haversacks.) Surgeons and medical supplies were also left behind.

Fraser would be followed by 1,100 Brunswickers, hirelings from German principalities under Maj. Gen. Baron Frederick von Riedesel, a veteran of the Seven Years War in Europe.

As St. Clair’s rear guard commander, it was not Warner’s intention to fight a battle with the pursuing British at Hubbardton. But he thought it best to rest and feed his stragglers, disabled men and his Continentals overnight, then march first thing the next day.

At dawn, however, on July 7, American pickets fired on the advancing British column. Fraser immediately deployed his troops. Warner would have to stay and fight

Dr. Bruce M. Venter is president of America’s History, LLC, a tour and conference company best known for its annual conference on the American Revolution. He is the author of The Battle of Hubbardton: The Rear Guard Action that Saved America. Bruce is also 1st vice president of the American Revolution Round Table of Richmond and frequently lectures on the Revolutionary War, including at Fort Ticonderoga’s American Revolution Seminar. He is also known for his character portrayals of General John Burgoyne and Charles Earl Cornwallis.  Venter holds a B.A. in history from Manhattan College, and a doctorate in educational administration from the University at Albany.

Aug 072018
 

December 1777. It is 18 months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and some 12,000 members of America’s beleaguered Continental Army stagger into a small Pennsylvania encampment 23 miles northwest of British-occupied Philadelphia. The starving and half-naked force is reeling from a string of demoralizing defeats at the hands of King George III’s army, and are barely equipped to survive the coming winter. Their commander in chief, the focused and forceful George Washington, is at the lowest ebb of his military career. The Continental Congress is in exile and the American Revolution appears to be lost.

Yet a spark remains. Determined to keep the rebel cause alive through sheer force of will, Washington transforms the farmland plateau hard by the Schuylkill River into a virtual cabin city. Together with a dedicated coterie of advisers both foreign and domestic—Marquis de Lafayette, Baron von Steuben, the impossibly young Alexander Hamilton, and John Laurens—he sets out to breathe new life into his military force. Against all odds, as the frigid and miserable months pass, they manage to turn a bobtail army of citizen soldiers into a professional fighting force that will change the world forever.

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Join us on Monday, June 24th as we welcome award winning author Bob Brury who will be speaking about his book Valley Forge .  Our meeting place is now Scoogi’s  Italian Resturant at 738 Bethlehem Pike in FlourtownFeel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $30.  Don’t forget to our book raffle too.  Each meeting we raffle off a number of American Revolutionary themed books.  You can purchase tickets for the book raffle, $1 per ticket, or $5 for 6 tickets.  They money raises goes to pay the room fee and speaker expenses.

Valley Forge is the story of how that metamorphosis occurred. Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, the team behind such bestsellers as The Heart of Everything That IsThe Last Stand of Fox Company, and Halsey’s Typhoon, show us how this miracle was accomplished despite thousands of American soldiers succumbing to disease, starvation, and the elements. Here is Steuben, throwing himself into the dedicated drilling sessions he imported from Prussian battlefields. Here is Hamilton, proffering the shrewd advice that wards off his beloved commander in chief’s scheming political rivals. Here is Laurens, determined to integrate the Continental Army with freed black men and slaves. Here is Lafayette, thirsting for battlefield accolades while tenaciously lobbying his own king for crucial French aid.

At the center of it all is George Washington, in the prime of his life yet confronting crushing failure as he fends off political conspiracies every bit as pernicious as his incessant military challenges. The Virginia planter-turned-general is viewed by many as unqualified to lead the Continental Army after the humiliating loss of Philadelphia, and his detractors in and out of Congress plot to replace him. The Valley Forge winter is his—and the revolution’s—last chance at redemption. And, indeed, after six months in the camp, Washington fulfills his destiny, leading the Continental Army to a stunning victory in the Battle of Monmouth Court House. The momentum is never again with the Redcoats.

Valley Forge is the riveting true story of a nascent United States toppling an empire. Using new and rarely seen contemporaneous documents—and drawing on a cast of iconic characters and remarkable moments that capture the innovation and energy that led to the birth of our nation—Drury and Clavin provide the definitive account of this seminal and previously undervalued moment in the battle for American independence.

New York Times bestselling author and Military Correspondent Bob Drury is the author/coauthor/editor of nine books. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Men’s Journal and GQ.

Bob has been nominated for three National Magazine Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, and Darfur among other sites. His books include the New York Times bestselling Halsey’s Typhoon, Last Men Out and The Heart of Everything That is. Bob’s The Last Stand of Fox Company was the recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s 2010 General Wallace M. Greene Jr. Award for nonfiction.

He lives at the Jersey Shore.

His latest book is “Valley Forge.” The #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Heart of Everything That Is return with one of the most inspiring—and underappreciated—chapters in American history: the story of the Continental Army’s six-month transformation in Valley Forge. Available at bookstores and Amazon.

Jul 192016
 

Presentation Date: March 27, 2017

In the darkest days of the American Revolution, Francis Marion and his band of militia freedom fighters kept hope alive for the patriot cause during the critical British “southern campaign.” Like the Robin Hood of legend, Marion and his men attacked from secret hideaways before melting back into the forest or swamp. Employing guerrilla tactics that became commonplace in later centuries, Marion and his brigade inflicted losses on the enemy that were individually small but cumulatively a large drain on British resources and morale.

Although many will remember the stirring adventures of the “Swamp Fox” from the Walt Disney television series of the late 1950s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film “The Patriot,” the real Francis Marion bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him.Francis Marion

Join us on Monday, March 27th as we welcome John Oller who will talk about his new book “The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution“.  A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. MaGreks Pub and Grill will be running a 1/2 price special on burgers that night. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $20.

In this action-packed biography we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution: Banastre Tarleton, the British cavalry officer who relentlessly pursued Marion over twenty-six miles of swamp, only to call off the chase and declare (per legend), that “the Devil himself could not catch this damned old fox,” giving Marion his famous nickname; Thomas Sumter, the bold but rash patriot militia leader whom Marion detested; Lord Cornwallis, the imperious British commander who ordered the hanging of rebels and the destruction of their plantations; and “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, the urbane young Continental cavalryman who helped Marion topple critical British outposts in South Carolina. But most of all Francis Marion himself, “the Washington of the South”—a man of ruthless determination yet humane character, motivated by what his peers called “the purest patriotism.”

The Swamp FoxIn this, the first major biography of Marion in more than 40 years, John Oller compiles striking evidence to provide a fresh look at Marion the man and how he helped save the American Revolution.

John Oller, a lawyer, is the author of five books, including, most recently, The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution (Da Capo Books, 2016).  His American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague—Civil War “Belle of the North” and Gilded Age Woman of Scandal, was published by Da Capo in 2014. It has been praised by Pulitzer prize-winning author Debby Applegate as “a terrific work of historical research and reconstruction” which tells “the story of the Civil War and its scandalous aftermath—its assassinations, impeachments and sexual hijinks—from an entirely fresh perspective.” His first book, Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew (Limelight Editions, 1997), was lauded by film critic Leonard Maltin, who called it “an exceptional piece of work” and “an outstanding biography . . . among the best I’ve read in years.”

Born in Huron, Ohio, John is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a B.A. in journalism (summa cum laude), having written and edited for the daily student newspaper, the Lantern, and interned as a reporter for such newspapers as the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Rochester Times-Union. His undercover exposé on the infiltration of the Ohio State campus by the “Moonies” religious cult led to his selection as a congressional journalism intern in Washington, D.C., where he wrote press releases for a Michigan congressman.

John Oller

John Oller

After college he obtained his law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. (magna cum laude), and joined the law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York as an associate in the litigation department.  For many years he represented Major League Baseball in many high-profile cases, including the celebrated George Brett “Pine Tar” case and the Pete Rose gambling case. As a partner in the firm, he went on to specialize in complex commercial and securities litigation, and was a principal author of the Audit Committee Report for Cendant Corporation (at the time, the most massive fraud in American corporate history); the New York Times called the report a definitive case study in the area of accounting irregularities and fraud. He taught legal writing as part of his firm’s continuing legal education program for many years, and is the author of One Firm – A Short History of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, 1888 –  (2004). He holds the record as a four-time winner of the firm’s annual golf tournament in Florida.

At the end of 2011, John retired from active legal practice to concentrate on his writing career.  Since then, in addition to The Swamp Fox and American Queen, he has published an e-book, An All-American Murder, a true crime story of an unsolved cold case murder in Columbus, Ohio in 1975. It led to the reopening of the case and a renewed investigation by Columbus Police that identified the killer as someone other than the man accused 40 years earlier.  The e-book has been called “a tragic, fascinating story well-told,” and “an exceptionally well written, insightful look into the angst that people can carry for decades when the criminal justice system is unable/unwilling to provide closure.”

John is a member of Biographers International Organization and the Dramatists Guild.

When not writing, John pursues his hobbies of golf, theater, film, museums, aimless walking, and travel (especially France and Italy, in close competition for his favorite). In the US, he divides his time between New York City and a home in California wine country.