Being there . . . for a moment to ponder the undoubted, self-evident truism all good historians
submit to without shrinking, bear patiently, and suffer the consequences for: absolute truth,
total truth, unequivocal truth. His or her desire is to be accurate, resolutely so, believing factual
accuracy is the leading motive of all historical research. No historian can ever honestly cross the
infinitesimal chasm that exists between fiction and fact – – a reverent truth which brings us to
three riveting new books from McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers:
“THE ROAD TO DUNGANNON – – Journeys in Literary Ireland”, by Michael Patrick Pearson.
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers: 2023, 199 pages, 6” x 8 ¾”, softcover, $29.95. Visit,
“BLACK SLAVEOWNERS –Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790 – 1860”, by Larry
Koger. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers: 2023, 286 pages, 5 ¾” x 8 ¾”, softcover, $25.
“BRITISH FORTIFICATIONS THROUGH THE REIGN OF RICHARD III – – An Illustrated History”, by
Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers: 2023, 7” x 10”, 310 pages,
softcover, $39.95. Visit, www.mcfarlandpub.com.
LEAVE IT TO MCFARLAND PUBLISHING TO PRESENT US WITH THREE UNUSUAL, HIGHLY
ORIGINAL, AND WONDERFULLY DEFT BOOKS THAT WEAVE HISTORY AND MEMORY, PLACE AND
TIME, DARKNESS AND LIGHT, ALL AT ONCE REFRESHING READS
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“Why a journey to ‘literary Ireland’ when there is so much new military information to write
about?”, ask my darling World War II buffs. “For two reasons, (1) time to ignore and relax a
moment from so much death and destruction, and so many inhuman incarnates and
personifiers of pure evil; (2) to introduce my more somber and serious to a book like no other.”
Writes Fintan O’Toole, author of “We Don’t Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Modern
Ireland”. Adds Bill Roorbach, author of “Lucky Turtle”, “Life Among Giants”, and “Temple
Stream”, “I came for Joyce and Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Frank O’Connor, Edna O’Brien, and here
they are, thrilling. But this book offers so much more, the very context and milieu from which
these favorite writers arose, Ireland in all its history, all its glory, and of course all its troubles.”
Yes, Ireland, a great country, and an even better people. If not Irish, or, if even so Irish, a bit of
time out from war, atrocities, and civilizations under bombs. Journey with author Michael
Patrick Pearson on a pilgrimage of self-discovery through his Irish heritage rich in poems,
stories, lore, and legend to meet his brave, courageous ancestors, familial and nationally.
As uncomfortable as the subject may be, author Larry Koger provides the thoughtfully caring
with a useful reference most of us never considered priorly: African Americans themselves
played a significant role as slave masters. For example, studying South Carolina’s diverse
population of African American slaveowners, we learn that the free ones widely, nay, eagerly
embraced slavery as a viable economic system and that they, like their white counterparts,
exploited the labor of slaves on their farms and in their businesses. “Who wants to read ‘stuff’
like that?”, query even the most sensitive, empathetic buffs of my coral of readers. Answer: the
same genuine Americans who force themselves, literally, engage themselves in the horrors of
the Holocaust. It HAPPENED, and as the best historians insist, KNOW IT, lest, God forbid, it ever
happens again to the generation we’re raising now. Drawing on the federal census, wills,
mortgage bills of sale, tax returns, and newspaper advertisements, Larry, a historian who lives
in Largo, Maryland, reveals, as some historians of the past knew about but refused to
acknowledge publicly, the nature of those black slave masters who had earned their freedom
and what they did with it. But how many others, primarily mulattos born of free parents, were
unfamiliar with slavery’s dehumanization? Such is the making of a great book whose primary
job is not to please with enjoyable, entertaining chapters, but to serve as a catalyst for one’s
own personal research, lest biography of his or her family, hence the self, is forgotten.
And, on a topic NO ONE ever immerses the self in other than guys, and a few gals, like
historian-writer-illustrator, Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage, we have “British Fortifications Through the
Reign of Richard III”? This reviewer can hear his endearing WWII buffs all the way out to
Carmel-Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, California, “Who in the h – – – on God’s Good Green Earth
Gives a Flying D – – -?” Answer: “TRY READING THE FIRST CHAPTER and see if you can put the
book down!”, that’s who!” If true, buff, to, first, your emotional heart for ancient military
history, then intellectual mind, second, you’ll love this journey into how superba British
fortifications were established and created, from prehistoric times through the end od Richard
III’s reign in 1485, providing the history and its miniatous details of structures, walls, and
ramparts guarded by Richard’s reliable trust worthies, to say nothing of information on
weapons and siege warfare. More than 250 illustrations vividly detail each edifice’s
construction and configuration. How dare you endow yourself with the moniker, “a true
military buff”, if you can put this mini classic down once begun.
Simply put, friends, I’m sick of Herr Hitler and his boot-licking cronies who enjoyed
committing so much illimitable, unfathomable, excruciating anguish, suffering pain, and sorrow.
But, today, for a bit, we rested and encountered three new kinds of reads: tomorrow, back to
the grate and grit.