Monday, December 15, 2008

Bailout for Book Industry

Humorist, author (his book on the Pittsburgh Steelers, About Three Bricks Shy of a Load, is one of the best sports books ever written), and president of the Authors Guild, Roy Blunt Jr., has penned a letter that should be read by every shopper this holiday season. Hope plenty of consumers take Mr. Blount's words to heart in the coming days:

I've been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren't known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don't lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn't in the cards.

We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books. Then tell the grateful booksellers, who by this time will be hanging onto your legs begging you to stay and live with their cat in the stockroom: "Got to move on, folks. Got some books to write now. You see...we're the Authors Guild."

Enjoy the holidays.

Roy Blount Jr.
Authors Guild

The Guild's staff informs me that many of you are writing to ask whether you can forward and post my holiday message encouraging orgiastic book-buying. Yes! Forward! Yes! Post! Sound the clarion call to every corner of the Internet: Hang in there, bookstores! We're coming! And we're coming to buy! To buy what? To buy books! Gimme a B! B! Gimme an O! O! Gimme another O! Another O! Gimme a K! K! Gimme an S! F! No, not an F, an S. We're spelling BOOKS!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let it Snow!

For the sixth year, I participated in the Indiana Historical Society's annual Holiday Author Fair at the Indiana History Center. This year, I shared a table with Geoff Paddock, author of the IHS Press book Indiana Political Heroes. Since I worked on the book with Geoff, and on the essays in the book that also appeared in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, we had a good time. IHS photographer David Turk snapped this photo of us as we held up our recent tomes.

Geoff almost didn't make the event on Saturday, December 6, due to the snow that blanketed the state. He had a harrowing trip from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis and saw a number of vehicles slide off the highway. The snow may have prevented some people from attending, but there was a steady crowd most of the day and the readers seemed pleased to be able to talk with and get books signed by approximately ninety Indiana authors.

John Beineke, author of the youth biography Going over all the Hurdles: A Life of Oatess Archey, wrote an op-ed about the event that was featured in today's Indianapolis Star. To read the article, go here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Kennedy Book Review

My book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary has received a positive review from H-Net, Humanities and Social Sciences Online.

Reviewing the book for H-Indiana, the e-mail discussion list on the nineteenth state's history and culture, William Doherty examines the 1968 campaign and compares it to what went on in Indiana's 2008 Democratic primary pitting Barak Obama against Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

IHS Author Fair December 6

Already in a panic about your Christmas shopping now that the election has wound down? Never fear, the Indiana Historical Society's sixth annual Holiday Author Fair will be from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 6, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis.

The event, free and open to the public, offers a chance for you to get that special someone signed copies of books from a variety of Indiana writers in such fields as fiction, non-fiction, biography, history, poetry, gardening, and children's books. Refreshments will also be served and there will activities available for children.

I will be one of the approximately 90 authors on hand to personally inscribe copies of my books, including Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary. Other authors scheduled to appear include Indiana's Poet Laureate, Norbert Krapf; noted historical novelist James Alexander Thom; novelist and short story writer Michael Martone; Abraham Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer; and novelist Mary Mackey.

Some of the authors will give talks during the day. The schedule of talks are as follows:

* 12:30 p.m. Harold Holzer, "Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861."

* 1 p.m. Bill Harley, "Toads, Pirates, and Other Creatures!"

* 1:30 p.m. Norbert Krapf, Selections from Bloodroot: Indiana Poems and The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood.

* 2 p.m. Todd Tucker, "Notre Dame vs. the Klan vs. IUPUI: Anatomy of a Free Speech Controversy."

* 2:30 p.m. Tasha Jones, Selections from Hello Beautiful: A Memoir.

* 3 p.m. Susan Sutton, "The Bass Photo Company Collections: A Family Album for the City."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

My wife and I voted early this morning at our precinct on the northside of Indianapolis. It was the first time I could remember having to wait in line to vote in an Indiana election. The whole process went very smoothly and the wait in line was no more than ten to fifteen minutes.

While I was waiting to vote, I could not help but think of how voting used to be practiced in the Hoosier State. Perhaps it was the fact that Indiana might be a key state in the national presidential contest, something it hasn't been for quite some time, but I couldn't help but think of the 1888 presidential election pitting Indiana's own Benjamin Harrison against Grover Cleveland. (For more on this election, see my biography of Indiana historian Jacob Piatt Dunn Jr., where the following information is from.)

Voting in Indiana during the late nineteenth century usually involved a simple process. Under the state's election laws ballots were controlled and furnished to voters by political parties, and not to state officials. These "party ticket" ballots, as they became known, contained the names of only a particular party's slate of candidates. The only state law regarding ballots required that they be printed on plain white paper three inches wide.

The practice of allowing political organizations to furnish ballots, a common one throughout the country in the 1880s, made it easy to bribe a class of voter known as a "floater," a person with no fixed party allegiance who sold his franchise to the highest bidder, be it Democrat or Republican. Party workers could buy these votes for as little as two dollars or as high as twenty dollars in tight elections. These workers could ensure that once a floater was bought, he stayed bought, because, according to Eldon Cobb Evans's history of the Australian voting system in the United States, the workers were "permitted to have full view of the voter's ticket from the time it was given him until it was dropped in the ballot box."

The number of floating votes in Indiana was estimated to have been ten thousand in the 1880 election and as high as twenty thousand in 1888. Indiana University professor R. H. Dabney, in a letter to The Nation, went as far as to assert that the floating vote in Indiana during the 1888 election reached as high as thirty thousand. He told of one Bloomington resident who attempted to buy butter on election day but was told by a storekeeper that none was available—it had all been bought the day before to "butter sandwiches for floaters—for it would seem that even the Hoosier floater cannot live by free whiskey alone."

Indiana party workers went to unusual lengths to capture the floating vote. Thomas R. Marshall, Indiana governor and vice president, noted in his memoirs that it was not unusual “to corral what was known as the floating vote, fill it full of redeye, lock it up the night before election and march it to the polls early the next morning." A veteran poll watcher, Marshall knew of one Republican who planned to keep a floater in his room all night to guarantee that he voted the GOP ticket the next day. An enterprising Democrat, however, set fire to a nearby woodshed and cried out that the Republican's store was on fire. When the Republican ran off to make sure his business was safe, Marshall said, "the Democrats stole his chattel."

Attempts by both parties to capture the floating vote played a key role in the 1888 presidential contest in Indiana. In spite of Harrison's favorite son status, the state was up for grabs with both sides maneuvering desperately to win. The Indianapolis Journal reported in a November 2, 1888, editorial that it was the floating vote "that the machinery and work of the contending parties are designed to influence . . . and nobody but a ninny-hammer would dream of anything else." Walter Q. Gresham, who had battled Harrison for the Republican presidential nomination, was informed by Chicago attorney Robert T. Lincoln that W. H. H. Miller, Harrison's law partner, and Harrison's son, Russell, had visited Lincoln and asked for money to use for bribing Indiana voters. "The purchase of votes," Gresham wrote Noble Butler, "is carried on by both parties with little effort at concealment. If the thing goes on unchecked a catastrophe is inevitable. What is to become of us?"

With Cleveland and Harrison running neck and neck, the Republican campaign in Indiana and throughout the country was rocked by the uncovering of the infamous "blocks of five" letter from William Dudley, a Hoosier Civil War veteran who served as GOP national committee treasurer in the 1888 election. In the letter, which was sent to Indiana Republican county chairmen, Dudley warned that "only boodle and fraudulent votes and false counting of returns can beat us in the State [Indiana]." To counter this threat, he advised GOP workers to find out which Democrats at the polls were responsible for bribing voters and steer committed Democratic supporters to them, thereby exhausting the opposition's cash stockpile. The most damaging part of the letter appeared in a sentence that became synonymous with political corruption. Dudley advised: "Divide the floaters into blocks of fives, and put a trusted man with necessary funds in charge of these five, and make him responsible that none get away."

This political dynamite in Dudley's letter managed to find its way to the opposition camp, albeit with a little help. A Democratic mail clerk on the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad, suspicious about the large amount of mail being passed from GOP headquarters to Indiana Republicans, opened one of the letters, recognized its value to his party, and passed the damaging contents on to the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee chairman. The letter was printed in the Indianapolis Sentinel on October 31, 1888, under a banner headline reading "The Plot to Buy Indiana." Although an indignant Dudley and other top Republican officials declared that the letter was a forgery—and later claimed, correctly, that someone had been opening their mail—its contents received nationwide attention.

Fanning the partisan flames even further, the Sentinel offered Dudley one thousand dollars if he came to Indianapolis and swore that the letter published by the newspaper was a forgery; an offer Dudley never accepted. The letter's revelations about political underhandedness, however, came too late to derail Harrison's campaign. The Hoosier Republican eked out a 2,300 vote plurality in Indiana. Cleveland won the nationwide popular vote, but Harrison handily captured the electoral college (233—168), and with that victory became president.

After the election Harrison seemed blissfully unaware that political shenanigans might have played a role in his election. He told U.S. senator Matt Quay of Pennsylvania, GOP national chairman, that "Providence has given us the victory." Quay, a veteran politico who considered the new president a "political tenderfoot," was unmoved by Harrison's oratory. He later exclaimed to a Philadelphia journalist: "Think of the man! He ought to know that Providence hadn't a damned thing to do with it." The president, Quay said, might "never learn how close a number of men were compelled to approach the gates of the penitentiary to make him President."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

RFK Book Interview

I was recently interviewed by Marshall Poe, University of Iowa associate professor of history, for his blog New Books in History, which features discussions with historians about their work, and particularly their new books. The interview examined my book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary, published this past spring by Indiana University Press.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Writing Out Loud" Appearance at Michigan City

What to know what teacher inspired my love of history, why I decided to write a biography of Hoosier astronaut Gus Grissom, or what kind of computer I use to write my books? The answers to these and many other questions can be found by attending the twenty-fourth season of the Michigan City Public Library's "Writing Out Loud" program. I will be the featured author to be questioned at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 1, at the library, 100 East Fourth Street in Michigan City.

The program's format includes about twenty minutes of questions followed by a reading from the author. I will be reading a selection from my book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary. I will then take questions from the audience.

For more information on the program, call the library at (219) 873-3049.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

RFK Book Signing and Lectures

I will be signing copies of my book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, October 4, at the Indiana Historical Bureau's bookshop in the Indiana State Library and Historical Building, 315 West Ohio Street, Room 130, in Indianapolis. All books in the shop wll be 20 percent off during this event.

Joining me that day will be another Hoosier author, Geoffrey Paddock, who will be signing copies of his new book, Indiana Political Heroes, recently released by the Indiana Historical Society Press.

Visit the Historical Bureau Web site at or call 317-232-2535 to place pre-orders and assure that you get a copy of the featured books. There will be limited book quantities at the book signing.

I will also be giving a series of talks on the Kennedy book at a variety of Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library branches in October. The schedule of the talks are as follows:

* Wayne Branch Library, 198 S. Girls School Road, Thursday, October 9, 7 p.m.

* Spades Park Branch, 1801 Nowland Avenue, Thursday, October 16, 7 p.m.

* Central Library, Knall Meeting Room, 40 E. Saint Clair Street, Sunday, October 19, 2 p.m.

* Pike Branch, 6525 Zionsville Road, Thursday, October 23, 7 p.m.

In addition, I will be talking about Kennedy's Indiana campaign, and selling and signing copies of the book, at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14, at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library, 250 North Fifth Street, in Zionsville. The program, free and open to the public, will be in the library's Lora Hussey and Olive Hoffman Rooms.

Finally, I will also give a lecture on RFK at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 20, for the Knox County Public Library in Vincennes, Indiana. The free program will be held at the Fortnightly Auditorium at 421 North Sixth Street.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Grissom and RFK Talks

At 7 p.m. on Monday, September 8, I will be discussing the Apollo 1 tragedy and the life of the mission's commander, Gus Grissom, at the Lawrence County Museum of History and the Edward L. Hutton Research Library, 929 15th Street, Bedford, Indiana.

On Friday, January 27, 1967, NASA engaged in yet another step on the long journey to the moon by attempting a simulated countdown of the three-man Apollo spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center's Pad 34. At one o'clock in the afternoon astronauts Roger Chaffee, a rookie and the youngest person ever selected to join the astronaut corps; Ed White, the first American to walk in space; and Mitchell, Indiana, native Grissom, the first American to fly in space twice; entered the Apollo command module, built by North American Aviation. They never made it out alive.

The Apollo 1 lecture if free and open to the public. For more information, contact Lucy Hawkins at (812) 279-8575.

In addition to the Apollo 1 lecture, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 11, I will be at the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, 209 Lincoln Way East, Mishawaka, to talk about my book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary for the library's American Heritage Roundtable. For more information, call Dave Eisen at 259-5277, ext. 300.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Best Books of Indiana Winners

Congratulations to Margaret McMullan, author of the book When I Crossed No-Bob, for winning the children's/young adult category in the Indiana Center for the Book's annual Best Books of Indiana contest. McMullan's work beat out my youth biography of May Wright Sewall and Julie Young's biography of Saint Theodora Guerin, both published by the Indiana Historical Society Press.

Winners in other categories included Susan Neville in non-fiction for her book Sailing the Inland Sea, published by Quarry Books, and Kirk Curnutt in fiction for his book Breathing Out the Ghost, published by River City Publishing.

The Center did an impressive job with the award ceremony, held on Saturday, August 16, in the Indiana Authors Room at the Indiana State Library. Each category's winning title and author will be engraved on a plaque in the Indiana Authors Room. Two copies of all 2008 competition entries have been added to the State Library's collection. One copy of each entry will circulate. Indiana citizens can borrow any Best Books of Indiana title at the State Library or request it via interlibrary loan at their local public library.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Article on Bushemi Book

The Gary Post-Tribune in its Sunday "Neighbors" section featured an article on my recent talk at the Lake County Public Library on famed World War II photographer John A. Bushemi.

American GIs and marines (like the ones captured here by Bushemi sharpening their K-Bar knives) who participated in the invasions of such far-flung Pacific Ocean locations as New Georgia, Makin, Tarawa, Kwajalein, and Eniwetok during World War II could always count on a blistering reception from the Japanese forces defending those isles. They could also depend on their efforts being documented for their fellow soldiers and folks back home by Bushemi.

Assigned to Yank, the weekly magazine written by and for enlisted men, Bushemi specialized in "photography from a rifle’s length vantage point," according to his colleague Merle Miller. His work with his ever-present Speed Graphic camera earned Bushemi the distinction of being the "outstanding combat photographer" for the magazine, noted its managing editor Joe McCarthy. That distinction came as no surprise to those who knew Bushemi in Gary, where he had received numerous awards for his work as a photographer for the Gary Post-Tribune. While working for the newspaper, he had earned the nickname "One Shot" for his uncanny ability to capture even the fastest action with just one click of his camera’s shutter

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sewall Book Honored in Best Books Competition

Just received word today that my youth biography Fighting for Equality: A Life of May Wright Sewall, published by the Indiana Historical Society Press, is a finalist in the children/young adult category of the 2008 Best Books of Indiana Competition sponsored annually by the Indiana Center for the Book.

The other two finalists in the category are Julie Young for her book A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guérin, also published by the IHS Press, and Margaret McMullan for When I Crossed No-Bob, published by Houghton Mifflin.

This competition began in 2005 to highlight Indiana's ongoing literary successes. Books by Indiana authors or about Indiana, published between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year are eligible. In addition to the children/young adult category, other categories include fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

This is the third time one of my youth biographies has been named a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana competition. Both The Soldier's Friend: A Life of Ernie Pyle and The Sword & the Pen: A Life of Lew Wallace, failed to win. Perhaps the third time will be the charm when the winners are announced in a 1 p.m. Saturday, August 16, ceremony at the Indiana State Library.

Gus Grissom and Liberty Bell 7

On this date in 1961 Hoosier astronaut Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom became the second American and the third human to rocket into space as a Redstone rocket blasted his Libert Bell 7 spacecraft into a suborbital flight lasting approximately fifteen minutes.

Grissom's flight, however, is best known today for what happened after he successfully splashdowned in the Atlantic Ocean. As I noted in my biography of Grissom, written as part of the Indiana Historical Society Press's Indiana Biography Series, the astronaut was lying flat on his back waiting for the helicopter’s call that it had hooked onto the spacecraft, Grissom turned his attention for a second to the knife he had placed in his survival pack, wondering if he could carry it out with him as a souvenir instead of leaving it in the spacecraft. “I heard the hatch blow—the noise was a dull thud—and looked up to see blue sky out the hatch and water start to spill over the doorsill,” he told National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials. Acting on instinct, Grissom quickly tossed his helmet to the floor, grabbed the right side of the instrument panel, and exited the spacecraft. “I have never moved faster in my life,” he noted. “The next thing I knew I was floating high in my suit with the water up to my armpits.”

Inside NASA there existed “two vehement camps” with opinions on what happened. One side believed Grissom had either panicked or hit the switch by accident, causing the hatch to blow. Another faction pointed to some unknown problem with the machine and held the astronaut blameless for the accident.

The debate on the question of whether or not Grissom was to blame for the hatch’s firing seemed about to be put to rest for good in May 1999 when Curt Newport, whose twin passions as a child had been spaceflight and undersea exploration, found the long-abandoned spacecraft on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In July, Newport, joined by Guenter Wendt, a German engineer known as the "Pad Leader" by American astronauts and Jim Lewis, the helicopter pilot on the original Liberty Bell 7 recovery, returned to the site and, at 2:15 a.m. July 20—thirty-eight years almost to the day it had been blasted into space—hoisted the capsule off of the ocean floor and onto the deck of the ship Ocean Project.

As a restoration team at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center cleaned and reassembled the spacecraft’s 27,000 separate parts, they discovered some intriguing material to help the case that Grissom had not panicked on his flight and prematurely blown the hatch. The museum team, which completed its work in March 2000, discovered Grissom’s waterlogged checklist, which had been about a third of the way completed before the hatch blew. “As far as I’m concerned, that checklist pretty much cleared Grissom of any wrongdoing in connection to what happened,” said John Glass, who supervised the capsule’s restoration at the Cosmosphere.

In addition, Greg “Buck” Buckingham, a key figure in the restoration effort, pointed out that there were no burn marks from the explosive cord that had been intended to trigger the hatch’s release. If the explosive cord never detonated, Buckingham theorized that the spacecraft had slammed hatch-down into the ocean when it returned to earth, causing a titanium strip along the hatch sill to buckle and the seventy explosive bolts to fire one by one. “Most telltale to me are the lack of burn marks,” said Buckingham.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Interview on Kennedy Book

The Indiana University Press Blog features an interview with me about my book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary.

The interview includes a frequent question I receive when talking about the book, namely, what would an RFK administration would have been like if he had lived and won the 1968 general election against Richard Nixon? I always point out that Kennedy faced an uphill battle to win the Democratic nomination that year from Vice President Hubert Humphrey. A different perspective is offered by Mitchell J. Freedman, author of the book A Disturbance of Fate, which is an alternative history where Kennedy narrowly misses being assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan and goes on to win the 1968 election.

In addition to the IU Press Blog interview, I will be speaking about my RFK book at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 25, at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W McKenzie Road, Greenfield, Indiana. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at (317) 462-5141.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"One Shot" Book Talk at Lake County Library

On February 19, 1944, a young photographer from Gary, Indiana, John A. Bushemi, landed with American troops on Eniwetok in the Pacific Theater. Bushemi was there covering the invasion for Yank magazine. Shrapnel from Japanese shells hit and mortally wounded the photographer. As navy surgeons frantically attempted to save Bushemi’s life, the photographer gave his epitaph, telling his friend, “Be sure to get those pictures back to the office.”

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 2, I will be at the Lake County Public Library, 1919 West 81st Avenue, Merrillville, Indiana, to talk about Bushemi's life and work and to sign copies of my book "One Shot": The World War II Photography of John A. Bushemi.

“One Shot” features Bushemi’s work, from his early days photographing soldiers training at the Field Artillery Replacement Center at Fort Bragg in North Carolina to his frontline assignments among the grizzled American forces who engaged in the bitter fighting against the Japanese. Assigned to Yank, the weekly magazine written by and for enlisted men, Bushemi specialized in “photography from a rifle’s length vantage point,” according to his colleague Merle Miller.

For more information on the program, contact the Lake County Public Library at (219) 769-3541.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Book Signing at Bicentennial

In honor of the community of Charlestown, Indiana's bicentennial, I will be one of several Hoosier authors signing copies of my books at an Indiana Author booth sponsored by Cardinal Publishers Group. I will be signing copies of some of my most recent books, including Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Charlestown Greenway Park.

Established in 1808, Charlestown served as the county seat of Clark County from 1811 to 1878, before the seat was moved to Jeffersonville.

The schedule of events for the Charlestown celebration includes arts and crafts booths, food vendors, a 5K road race, a parade and float contest, a pioneer village display, and a number of performances by musical groups.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Marking RFK's Death

The fortieth anniversary of Robert Kennedy's death has prompted numerous articles in the media, including an interview with me in my old college newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. I also was interviewed by Ralph Hipp of WIBW television in Topeka, Kansas, about RFK's legacy.

Also of interest is David Greenberg's assessment on Slate of how Kennedy's death, and Eugene McCarthy's reaction to the loss of his bitter rival, crippled the Democractic Party in the 1968 general election. Greenberg notes the following: "Kennedy's death, of course, did not leave McCarthy alone in the race. All along, many party regulars had preferred Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who announced his candidacy in April but sat out the primaries, instead building his delegate base in states without primaries—which back then constituted a majority."

It's a point I always try to bring up when I'm asked by journalists what would an RFK presidency have been like? Even Kennedy's own advisers believed that RFK had only a 50-50 chance of capturing the nomination from Humphrey at the August 1968 convention in Chicago.

Talking privately with Richard Goodwin after squeaking by McCarthy in the California primary, Kennedy said while he and McCarthy were battling one another, Humphrey had been picking up delegate after delegate around the country. Kennedy did not want to have to spend his time the next few weeks campaigning on every street corner in New York in hopes of winning the primary there. “I’ve got to spend that time going to the states, talking to delegates before it’s too late,” Kennedy stressed to Goodwin. “My only chance is to chase Hubert’s ass all over the country. Maybe he’ll fold.”

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lecture on Apollo 1 Tragedy

On Friday, January 27, 1967, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency engaged in yet another step on its long journey of meeting late President John F. Kennedy’s goal announced six years earlier of landing a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

On that day, three American astronauts participated in simulated countdown of the Apollo spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 34. At one o’clock in the afternoon astronauts Roger Chaffee, a rookie and the youngest person ever selected to join the astronaut corps; Ed White, the first American to walk in space; and Hoosier native Gus Grissom, the first American to fly in space twice; entered the Apollo command module, built by North American Aviation. They never made it out alive.

The tragic events of the Apollo 1 disaster will be explored in my talk "Tragedy at Pad 34: Gus Grissom and the Apollo 1Fire," to be given at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 12, at the Highland Branch of the Lake County Public Library, 2841 Jewett St., in Highland, Indiana.

In addition to talking about the fire that took the life of the three American astronauts, I will be autographing copies of my biography of Grissom, born and raised in Mitchell, Indiana. The book was the second volume in the Indiana Historical Society Press's Indiana Biography Series.

For more information on the program, contact the Highland library branch by calling
(219) 838-2394.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Upcoming Events for RFK book

I will be talking about and signing copies of my new book Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary at two events in June.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, I will be in the Bard Room at the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana. The library is located at 80 North 6th Street in Richmond. The event is free and open to the public. For information, call the library at (765) 966-8291.

At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, I will be at Barnes and Noble Booksellers Store at 4601 Grape Road in Mishawaka, Indiana, my hometown, for a booksigning. The store is located three blocks south of University Park Mall. For more information, contact the store at (574) 277-9482.

To learn more about Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary, here are some helpful links:

* The book's listing at Indiana University Press.

* An interview with me about the book with the Bedford Times-Mail.

* An excerpt from the book published by the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.

* Listen to a radio interview with me by David Johnson of Bloomington's WFIU.