Cover Reveal!

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Dear Readers,

At long last, it is finally coming together. On Saint Patrick’s Day (fitting, that), I received three draft covers to choose from. I really liked the first cover, as it showed firefighters putting out a fire during an air raid. There was only one problem. They were in London, not Berlin. So that one wouldn’t work. I didn’t care for the second draft as it looked a little bit too much like every other World War Two book out there. Nothing made it stand out. That left me with draft three, which fortunately, I really liked.

I requested a few changes to the original version. First, I asked that the font used on the first cover be used on this one. Then, I asked that the burning corner image on the first draft be placed on this one as well. Lastly, I asked that the colors on the helmet be dulled just a bit to blend in better with the background. Thankfully, my cover designer was able to oblige me and came up with the incredible image that you see above. What you actually see there is the ebook cover. There is also a paperback cover, an audio book cover (which is exactly what you see above, just square), and a hardback dust jacket.

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Above, you see the hardcover dust jacket. The front inside flap contains the book blurb. The back inside flap has the “about the author” bit. Typically, the back of hardcover dust jackets contain snips from reviews or advance praise, etc. For mine, I decided to go with something simply and (hopefully) a bit eye catching.

All told, I’m extremely happy with how the cover has turned out. I think it stands out, but also conveys the genre quite well. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, as this is my first time. We are finishing up the formatting at present and the book will be available on April 18th!

L.H.

A Fun Start to the Year

2019 started out with a bang. Last week, I fell in the bathroom and landed in a seated position. I don’t have much padding there, just back and crack. I severely bruised my tailbone but worse than that, I jarred my existing spinal injuries really badly. Severe pain doesn’t begin to describe it. But I got a 9.5 from the Russian judge. I’m not super religious, but in times like these I recall a line from a hymn that says “Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

This isn’t quite how I wanted the year to begin, but fear not. I’ll improvise, adapt, and overcome. It takes more than pain to keep this mick down.

Seeing it on the Radio

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Dear Readers,

I have previously written about my affection for the spoken word of the radio for sporting events over that newfangled television contraption. I have a collection of old game broadcasts, old time radio shows, commercials, news, etc from the Golden Age of Radio. It actually proved quite useful to me when I was working on my novel as I could listen to what the news was on any given day. Things like that you can work into the novel as background noise, as it were. To me, the greatest radio call of all time was in the second Schmelling v Louis fight. When the announcer proclaims “Schmeling is down! The count is five!”, you can almost here the collective gasp of millions of Americans on the edge of their seats wondering if he’d stay down. (Spoiler alert: He did.) You can listen to the exact same broadcast from that night in 1938 here. Now, my personal favorite is from the final out of the 2004 World Series. As a Red Sox fan, I am a bit biased. Hearing Joe Castiglione with the final call: “It’s a ground ball stabbed by Foulke. He underhands it to first and the Red Sox are world champions! For the first time in eighty-six years, the Red Sox have won baseball’s world championship! Can you believe it!” I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.

It should come as no surprise then, reader mine, that I also enjoy old time radio programs. I’m a big fan of the Radio Classics channel on SiriusXM (and no, this is not a paid advertisement.) So I got to thinking about which OTR programs are my favorite and why, and I thought I’d hit you with another of my favorite things lists. So here we go. My favorite OTR shows.

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My all time favorite program is Tales of the Texas Rangers. Each episode details a case which takes place anywhere from the 30s to the early 50s. It details the actions of Ranger Jayce Pearson as he tackles crime across the State of Texas. It is a bit formulaic, as many OTR programs were. He’s usually called in to investigate a case beyond the abilities of the local authorities. There’s at least one scene where he rides off on his trusty steed Charcoal. Many episodes end in a fight or shootout, and he seems to get shot quite a bit, but don’t worry, he pulls through! I’m not sure why I like this one so much. It was only on for a couple of seasons. Maybe it is because I live in Texas. Maybe it is because I’ve known some actual Rangers. Who knows? One thing I can say is that it is great entertainment.

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A publicity still of the radio cast. Note it is not the TV cast.

What can I say about Gunsmoke that hasn’t already been said? It’s the granddaddy of all OTR westerns. It launched the TV series and, in fact, continued to air on the radio for a while even while the television version was gaining traction. It could be because I have something of a crush on Miss Kitty. Anyway, what I like about this show is that it does not always have a happy ending. Sometimes, bad things happen and bad people get away with it. Furthermore, it does not shy away from controversial topics. (Alcoholism, spousal abuse, prejudice, etc) It was billed as an “adult” western. By that, it means it was for the enjoyment of adults, not that you had to go into the backroom of a seedy video store to listen to it. I urge everyone to listen to at least one episode. Odds are, you’ll get hooked.

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Just the facts, ma’am.

Dragnet. Joe Friday is the man! Fighting crime and selling cigarettes! (Dragnet was brought to you by Fatima, America’s best long cigarette.) The radio program started in 1949 until 1957. It launched two television versions (50s and 60s) with Jack Webb playing Joe Friday on screen just as he did on the radio. It’s a noire=esque program with dark nights and dark deeds commonplace. It also tackles serious issues, such as the tragic episode about a young boy who finds his Christmas present early (a .22 rifle) and accidentally shoots and kills his friend. One thing that I find of great interest is that during the first season, each episode was dedicated to a police officer who died in the line of duty. The episodes signed off with giving the officer’s name, agency, and date of death. (Mostly during the 30s and 40s). I wonder why they abandoned that format going into the second season.

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Tired of the everyday grind? Want to get away from it all? Do you dream of a life of romantic adventure? We offer you…..Escape! (cue dramatic music) That’s how this great action/adventure series begins. It rain from 1947 until 1954. Most episodes start with a person in a serious life or death situation and explain how they got there and how they extracted themselves. Many episodes were based on short stories, so if you listen, you’ll see some familiar story lines if you know your literature. It really is a great show to kick back and listen to, and it definitely lives up to its name. You’ll find yourself lost in exotic locales and, at least for twenty-five minutes, it provides you with some Escape!

So there you have it, Dear Reader. These shows are all over the internets, so you can find it for free to listen to if you are so inclined. But I’ll make another proposition. For those of you who watch football, try listening to the Super Bowl on the radio instead of watching it. I will. Even if my Saints are in it. Especially if my Saints are in it. When baseball season finally starts up again (seriously, can it start already), try listening to one game for every four that you watch. I think you’ll enjoy it.

L.H.

The Greatest Game Ever Played

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In 1958, the NFL was no where near the mega sport that it is now.  College football reigned supreme, especially in the South where there was a lack of NFL teams.  This was two years before Lamar Hunt created the rival AFL that would one day merge to give us the modern NFL.  Baseball still ruled as America’s pastime having surpassed boxing for our most popular sport by the late 1930s.  All it took was one game to capture the imaginations of the country, and damn, what a game.
NBC carried it live throughout the country though, for some reason it was blacked out in New York City!  An estimated 45 million people watched the New York Giants battle it out with the Baltimore Colts.  (For you new football fans, I’ll try to explain briefly.  The Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis and became the Indianapolis Colts.  Then the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.  Then Cleveland got a new team also called the Browns!)
Both teams stumbled through the first half which ended with the Colts up 14-3.  It looked like they would cruise to an easy victory in the second half.  But the Giants had other plans.  They stormed back and took the lead late in the game.  While up by 3 points with two minutes left on the clock, the Giants punted the ball and the Colts took over deep in their own territory.  Unfortunately for the Giants, the ball was now in the hands of the great Johnny Unitas, one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever sling the old pigskin around the gridiron.  The Giants defense, led by famed linebacker Sam Huff, forced a 3rd and 11.  Unitas completed a pass and then followed it up with a few more.  With seconds left on the clock, the Colts kicked a field goal to tie the game and force overtime.
And therein lies the problem!  No NFL playoff game had ever been decided by overtime, much less the championship game!  The captains met at mid-field for the toss, just like they had at the beginning of the game.  The Giants won the toss and received the ball, but could do nothing with it.  They punted and the Colts took over.  Again, Unitas put on a football clinic as he drove 80 yards in 13 plays.  The Colts faced a third down on the Giants one yard line.  They called a simple play, really, the old fullback dive.  Alan Ameche took the ball and plunged across the goal line as camera bulbs flashed.  The image (seen at the top of the post) is one of the most iconic photographs of any NFL game.  Ever.
The NFL had arrived.  The merger of football and television was as significant as the merger between baseball and the radio.  Though it took time, the NFL would take over as America’s dominant sport.  The 1958 NFL Championship Game would go down in history as the “greatest game ever played”.
Though no full game video is out there to watch, you can listen to the complete game here along with seeing some of the game footage matched up with the radio call.

What If You Don’t Know?

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Dear Readers,

I took my first creative writing course as an undergraduate student at Sam Houston State University way back in the spring of 1998. That’s twenty years ago this semester, though I prefer not to dwell on the amount of time that has passed. On the first evening of class, the professor stood in front of us and repeated the words that all aspiring writers have no doubt heard repeatedly. Said he, “Write what you know.” “Cool!”, said I. “I’ll write about what I know.” But how do you write what you know when you don’t know?

The class went downhill from there. Of course, you are going to be more comfortable writing about topics that you have some personal knowledge of, be it fiction or non. I write historical fiction. I have not lived in any time period but my own, at least not that I’m aware of. I’ve never been through a bombing raid. I did not take part in the Civil War. So how well do I truly know these subjects if my knowledge was all derived from books?

I can’t really answer that. It’s true, as my last post indicated, that I spent an immense amount of time researching my most recent novel, but that research isn’t the same as living through it. Still, as I began work on my book on 10 MAR 2017, I found myself drawing from some of my own experiences. As a firefighter, I know what burning buildings look like. I’ve smelled roasted flesh. I’ve heard the screams of injured people. And I guess in my own way, these experiences made their way into my novel and I hope will make it a stronger one.

I would say that you don’t have to have in depth personal knowledge of something in order to write about it so long as you are willing to spend the necessary time to get to know the subject or to get to know people who do have that knowledge. Though I’m loathe to call myself a historian, though technically I am, I have conducted numerous interviews over the years doing that very thing. When approached respectfully and in a non-judgmental manner, people may be more willing to talk than you might think. You don’t have to be a detective yourself to write a mystery novel. You don’t have to be a reincarnated Civil War soldier to write a Civil War novel. Just ask the right questions. Read the right books. And talk to the right people. How do you know which of these are the right ones? Well, you’ll know. Have faith in yourself.

Hutch

Graveyard of Empires: Britain’s First Afghan War

 

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Remnants of on Army by Elizabeth Butler

 

If your officer’s dead and the sergeants look white

Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight

Just keep open order, lie down, and sit tight

And wait for supports like a soldier

Friends,

In the mid 19th Century, both the British Empire and the Russian Empire vied for control in Central Asia. With their base in India, the British pushed their imperialist banner northward towards Afghanistan in an attempt to keep the Russians out. The Russians, in the meantime, had a handy alliance with Persia and backed an anti-British ruler in Afghanistan. The British decide to oust him. Their cover story was that they were not invading, but merely aiding the legitimate ruler. Typical British Imperialist nonsense.

European countries, and the United States, held imperialist ambitions for a couple of reasons. First, they sought raw materials to feed their growing economies. Second, they needed new markets for finished products. Finally, there was a racial component that we cannot deny. Europeans felt that they had a right to any territory formerly held by people who were black, brown, yellow, or red. Consider, for example, Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”. At the same time the British were fighting their First Afghan War, they were also fighting the Opium War with China in an attempt to force the Chinese to trade with them. Hell, if you’re gonna fight a war, opium is as good a cause as anything else! To the victor belongs the………pipe.

In 1839 a large force of around 16,000 British and Sepoy (Indian) troops marched through the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan. They brought a staggering 35,000 or so camp followers with them. They included merchants, journalists, cobblers, blacksmiths, and, of course, prostitutes. I believe it was General Sherman who said a soldier who won’t f–k won’t fight! They reached Kabul and deposed the pro-Russian ruler and replaced him with one more friendly to the British government, or at least one who was under their control. The British wisely decided not to attempt to pacify Afghanistan since that would be impossible. Instead, they just used their puppet ruler to keep Russian influence to a minimum. But they made a tragic mistake. Custom dictated that the local ruler in Kabul pay monthly tribute to the Pashtuns who controlled the mountain passes. The ruler cut the tribute in half with no warning. Angered by this insult, the Ghilazis closed the Khyber Pass and cut Afghanistan off from India. This dilemma was made worse by the fact that the British sent the majority of their troops home the previous year since they didn’t think they would need them anymore. I believe we call that an “Oops”.

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Khyber Pass

 

At around 9am on January 6, 1842, the Kabul garrison consisting of 4,500 British and Sepoy troops and around 16,000 camp followers set out from the city, marching through deep snow. Along the way, Afghan snipers took shots at the column whenever the opportunity presented itself. Given the difficult terrain which favored irregular warfare, the British were unprepared for what they faced. 3,000 of them died in the Khurd-Kabul Pass. At one point, their commander ventured out to meet with the Afghan commander and was taken hostage. The Afghan’s offered to take all of the married officers and their wives into their camp for “protection” which they did, but they became hostages instead. The column marched on, or tried to, and was slaughtered. Near Gandamak, the 44th Regiment of Foot mounted a desperate last stand. With only a handful of men with a few rounds each, they responded to a demand to surrender with “Not bloody likely”.  Only one man, Dr. William Bryden, reached Jalalabad with the scene immortalized in the painting at the top of the post. Later, around 150 other survivors would be rescued or would straggle in to British outposts. All told, this was a disaster of epic proportions and not a very good day for the British Empire.

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The Retreat From Afghanistan by A.D. McCromick

 

The British rarely respond well to getting their asses kicked by people they consider to be inferior, and this is certainly the case here. The raised a new army in India, calling it the Army of Retribution. They set out for Kabul to bring vengeance upon the heathen who had so thoroughly trounced them before. When they arrived in Kabul, they destroyed the city’s Great Bazaar and the soldiers went on a rampage of looting, murder, and rapine, all done with the sanction of the British commanders. Things settled down for a while as the British were again content to simply control enough to keep the Russians out. This allowed them to meet their objective and also to grant the Afghans a nominal amount of independence. A little over one hundred years later, the Russians would enter Afghanistan on their own and find the Afghans to be just as fierce fighters as the British had during the 19th Century.

When your wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains

And the women come out to cut up what remains

Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

And go to your God like a soldier

–“The Young British Soldier” by Rudyard Kipling

L.H.

A Bloody and Treasonable Doctrine: An Urban Insurgency In the Midst of the Civil War

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This is a reworked article that first appeared on my old blog in 2014.

Friends,

Let us travel back in time to New York City during the hot summer of July 1863. It consisted only of Manhattan as Brooklyn was a separate city across the East River. A million people crammed into its narrow confines. A large percentage of them were foreign born, Irish and German mostly. Politically the city was solidly in the Democratic Party folds. Modern New Yorkers would be shocked to learn that the city voted 2-1 AGAINST Lincoln in 1860 and again in 1864. This was due to the fact that Tammany Hall and the likes of Boss Tweed controlled the city with an iron fist. The immigrants were loyal to the Democratic Machine and the Irish remembered the fact that prior to the establishment of the Republican Party, many prominent Republicans had been Know Nothings, an anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic organization. The fact that there were anti-Catholics/anti-Irish abolitioninsts often gets glossed over in the history books, but I digress. Given the very close business relationship between New York City and the South, Mayor Fernando Wood proposed seceding from the Union and declaring NYC to be an “open city”, free to trade with either side. New York City business leaders were afraid that they would lose a tremendous amount of money if the war kept them from doing business or if the slaves were freed and their cotton imports dried up.

And what of the city itself? We have a wonderful portrait of the city by virtue of a book called Sunshine and Shadow in New York written by an English visitor in the immediate post war period. It is out of print but you can download it for free on the internets. The population of Gotham doubled between 1825 and 1845 and that is BEFORE the Irish Potato Famine brought hundreds of thousands of poor Irish men, women, and children flooding into the city. By 1860, they made up a quarter of the population. They were crammed into some of the worst urban slums on the planet at the time. While they lived in squalor and extreme poverty on the Lower East Side, a few blocks to the north, the wealthy lived in opulent mansions seemingly oblivious to the plight of so many of their fellow New Yorkers. Crime and poverty go hand in hand and the city was known as a home to every vice imaginable. They city boasted 600 houses of prostitution and scores of other “houses of assignation”. Then you had saloons, lots of saloons. Some of the saloons on the East Side had “waiter girls” which shocked the sensibilities of the English author of the book. He said “waiter girls are not of the highest moral order”. Seeing as how my redhead was a waitress when I met her, I will not comment on that.

The NYPD and the Fire Department were overwhelmingly Irish, a fact that did not escape the notice of the wealthy Protestants in the city. They feared an urban uprising. When the day arrived, would they city’s protectors side with the rioters? Or would they protect the lives and property of the wealthy? No one wanted to find out for sure, though in the summer of 1863, they would. The Fire Department officially carried about 4,000 volunteers on the rosters but only about half of them were active. The police department, led by Superintendent Kennedy numbered around 2,100 men. Both had received plenty of bad press in the 1850s. Their manpower was down due to the number of men enlisting in the Army at the outset of the war, but by 1863, enthusiasm had grown very thin. Whereas other cities had made the switch to professional firemen with horse drawn apparatus, New York City still relied on volunteers who pulled their hose carts, steam engines, and hook and ladder trucks by hand.

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Superintendent Kennedy

That diminished enthusiasm, along with heavy losses is exactly why Congress enacted the Enrollment Act. It was signed into law in March of 1863. Each Congressional District received a quota that they were to fill from the ranks of men between the ages of 20 and 45. It was widely unpopular for two reasons. To escape the draft, you could pay a substitute to go in your stead, something only a wealthy person could do. Or if not substitute could be found, you could pay the princely sum of $300 which represented the average annual wage of a working class person. One thing that often gets left out in the discussion of the draft is why it was needed in the first place. People often ignore the effect that the Emancipation Proclamation had on recruitment. Notice that after the Proclamation was announced, they suddenly needed to institute a draft.  Likewise, when the Confederate Congress passed their draft law the previous year, it exempted those who owned 20 or more slaves or those who worked as overseers on plantations and Confederate enlistments dropped and desertion rose. In both cases, this was a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. In New York City, the ability of the rich to hire substitutes or pay $300 is ultimately what would cause this unrest.

Rumors ran throughout the Sixth Ward (aka: Bloody Sixth) in the days leading up to the draft days. On Saturday, July 11th, the first names were drawn, slightly over 30. The crowd gathered to listen were somewhat boisterous. They made jokes as the names were read aloud, mostly Irish. Not a wealthy man among them. “Well a nice vacation from the wife, Johnny”. The draft ended and people went home. Two days later, July 13th dawned hot and clear. As crowds began to gather in Lower Manhattan, the police were on high alert. A large crowd congregated around the 9th District draft office, led by firefighters of Engine Company 33, the Black Joke. (meaning dark sense of humor, not race) A pistol discharged and they stormed the building. The men of the Black Joke were upset because their captain had been draft on Saturday. There is a difference between a crowd and a mob. A crowd is just a large group of people. A mob is something quite different. People in a mob get a certain amount of anonymity and a mob mindset can take over quickly, as it did on that hot July day.

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Superintendent Kennedy arrived to try and see firsthand what was taking place. The mob recognized him despite his not being in uniform. They dragged him out of his carriage and nearly beat him to death. From the onset, he would be out of commission. The police, armed with clubs and revolvers, charged the crowd but were beaten back. The police took heavy casualties. As buildings were set alight, the fire department responded to the alarms but the mobs cut their fire hoses and attacked them with clubs. The mob then turned its anger on black residents of New York City. Why? The reason is a little more complicated than you may realize. Yes, the fear that freed slaves would come up North and take jobs away from the Irish was true. That idea had been mentioned in Irish newspapers. However, the predominantly working class Irish mobs vented their anger on black residents of New York City because they saw them as symbol. They represented the elite white New Yorkers who, though often abolitionist in sentiment, despised the Irish. Remember the mobs that burned down Catholic Churches just ten years before. Many of the leaders in that movement were now abolitionist and since the Irish could not attack them directly, they instead focused their rage on the people who the abolitionists cared about.

On Monday evening a mob lynched a black man and set his body on fire as he hung from a rope, strangling to death. In an eerie scene, something out of the Middle Ages, people danced around the burning body. Another mob marched on the Colored Orphan Asylum with the express intent of burning it down and perhaps murder the children inside. In a feat unparalleled in the history of the police and fire services, a small group of police officers and firefighters fought the mob long enough to allow the children to be safely brought to safety out the back door. The Chief Engineer of the Fire Department, a position similar to that of the Fire Chief, was grabbed by the mob. They slipped a rope around his neck and were about to hoist him skyward when he said “If you kill me, you will only stop my draft.” The crowd began to laugh. They patted him on the back and sent him on his way. Remember, the Irish were considered to be a different race by the elites in New York City, hence the frequent references to them as the “Irish race” and their depiction as monkeys in the newspapers. By attacking blacks, they were trying to racialize themselves as “white”. Of course, they also attacked the homes of the wealthy and Protestant churches, all people who had victimized them in the past. This was an uprising of oppressed underclasses that targeted everyone who upset them. The rich. The military. The city itself. And the black workers of New York who represented the threat of a non-union labor force and who the abolitionist cared more for than the poor Irish immigrants.

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Desperate calls for reinforcements went out from city leaders and the War Department rushed soldiers to the city to restore order. New York Governor Horatio Seymour, who was a little pro-South as it was, told Lincoln “Remember this—that the bloody and treasonable doctrine of public necessity can be proclaimed by a mob as well as by a government.” Many of the reinforcements had recently fought at Gettysburg. The mob attacked them too. They pulled up bits of the pavement and carried it to the rooftops. When dropped on the street, the paving stones and bricks shattered, peppering the ranks of police officer and soldiers with shrapnel. Accounts speak of cannons being fired and pitched gunfights in the streets between the mob and the military. I don’t know how accurate those accounts are, but they ring true. And what of those gallant men of the New York City Police Department? They fought armed mobs often armed with nothing more than clubs themselves. Teams of them would stream inside their stations for a break from the action, battered and bruised. Many sported bandages on their heads and supported broken limbs as they walked. After a brief respite they would form up and go back into the fray, clubs tapping out a beat on the pavement as they marched. No one knows for sure how many of them died over the course of those few days, somewhere in the vicinity of 10. A few hundred were injured, some so severely that they could never work again.

From the moment the war ended, there was a constant effort to downplay this incident in the official histories and to turn it into a race riot. It was a race riot, but it morphed into that. The Irish did not wake up that day and say “Let’s go kill some black people.” It started as a riot against the draft which was seen as an unfair and corrupt. Remember, when the war started the Irish were among the first to enlist. Tens of thousands of them fought with gallantry and honor. Historians also like to gloss over this incident because, it doesn’t fit in their nice little Civil War box whereby the North, a paragon of freedom and equality, fought against the slavish backwards South. History is complex. It’s complicated. And to reduce it to soundbites on the evening news does a great disservice to us all.

Furthermore, the official casualties that historians cite are so far off the mark to be laughable. James McPherson states that around 120 civilians died, including 11 black men who were lynched. I will call bullshit on that for a few reasons. First of all, there are plenty of accounts of a few black women being lynched too. Second, you don’t have pitched gunfights in narrow streets for three or four days with only 120 deaths. Third, there are plenty of accounts that say that the mob slipped out under the cover of darkness each night and removed their dead. Finally, what of the military casualties, which are thought to be pretty severe, as are the police department losses. Superintendent Kennedy estimated that around 1,100 people died, which is probably more accurate. Herbert Asbury estimates 2,000 deaths and that is probably too high. Bodies were incinerated in burning buildings, tossed in the rivers, or dragged away and a count of 120 is absolutely insane. These riots are downplayed and when discussed at all, it is turned into a race riot when it was really an example of class warfare AND a race riot. In my opinion, it moved far beyond “riot” category and moved into the realm of an urban insurgency against the police, the fire department, and the military.

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Note the simian appearance of the Irish in this cartoon.

So, as you can see, history is not, pardon the pun, a black and white thing. It is nuanced and not as simple as we try to make it. Some blame this “dumbing down” of history on things like the History Channel, but I disagree. I think it has more to do with our idea of a story having good guys and bad guys and a clear distinction between right or wrong. There is nothing wrong with this, of course. But we also need to understand that the truth is always more complicated. Every historian has his or her biases that keep them from being truly objective. The more they claim that they don’t, the more likely they probably do. Remember, the guilty man flees when no man pursueth. I have mine too. As proud as I am of my Irish heritage, murdering innocent people is wrong, no matter what justification you attach to it.

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Let us remember that intrepid band of police officers and firefighters who fought back angry mobs of their own people to save innocent lives and property, as they were sworn to do. They were the true heroes of this sad tale and should be remembered as such. And let us ask ourselves what we would have done. Remember too, that the Draft Riots of 1863 is the worst case of urban rioting in American History, bar none. Yet other than the terrible movie Gangs of New York, you don’t seem to hear much about it for some reason.  This was not my people’s finest hour to say the least, but just as we discuss the great things the Irish have done for our country, we must also discuss the bad. To do otherwise is to gloss over historical truth.

Hutch