one soldier’s triple avatars: Washington, Lincoln, FDR – and Mahatma Gandhi

I know it’s been forever since I posted. At my paper, I was dug in on some longtime obsessions, like illegal hotels and the 2004 RNC, as well as the shiny new NYC being dreamt for Hudson Yards.

For my book, I mostly dug in on writing, and got Chapter One, about the 18th-century soldier-dissent, completely drafted and revised. My characters including not just the 1781 Pennsylvania mutiny I mentioned earlier, but some more unexpected figures – including Simon Girty, whose name was used as a threat to make colonial schoolchildren behave.

The draft of the chapter was well received by my editor at Cal, whose short comment means so much to me that I’m tempted to post in on my wall: “It engages the reader completely.” Now, of course, I have to do a similar job 12 more times – by July 1, 2008. I had some ideas about how the book will be shaped, which I’ll reserve for another post.

But I also kept up as best as I could on today’s dissenters, which meant I went to this conference —which I failed to write about but was absolutely worth it (and dedicated to the memory of Dave Cline — and spent a good deal of time with this brave captain, who just opened his online shop here.

I was struck when Montalvan and I spoke how much inspiration he drew from earlier eras – this well-decorated Iraq vet was unafrad to draw as much from FDR and Gandhi as from the combat-tested Washington and Lincoln. Such a voice appears, to me, invaluable in any discussion of what the U.S. is actually doing in the Middle East – 0r anywhere else.


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