Great Lakes and War of 1812
are center of historical novel
The critical importance of the Great Lakes to the War of 1812 cannot be overstated, and The Last Roar, a novel by Ashland resident Craig S. Whitmore, depicts the actions of two fictional young men who are drawn into the fray.
Most of the men on an American ship in the Detroit River are not militia but merchants and craftsmen, like George Armstrong, a carpenter. George is among the civilians taken as prisoners of war when General William Hull surrenders Fort Detroit, but instead of waiting for a routine prisoner exchange, George simply walks out of the prison gates, finding help to make it to Cleveland and send word to Washington that Detroit has fallen.
George is a Quaker, determined not to fight, but when he returns to Presque Isle and his sweetheart, Polly, she tells him that Jesse, his cousin and rival for her affections, has been captured by the British and forced to serve on an enemy ship. George believes that he can best contribute to the war effort by building the defenses along the lakeside and, later on, to shipbuilding, as the little community of Erie turns itself to the business of raising a fleet.
Jesse continues to gather information about the British forces and to look for a means to escape, and George is faced with the decision of joining the American forces to protect Polly and his home, as the story pushes on to the Battle of Lake Erie. Oliver Hazard Perry arrives to meet the enemy in an exciting maritime combat scene.
The Last Roar (409 pages, softcover) costs $17.95 from online retailers. It is the first book in an announced trilogy; the next book, A Bit of Colored Ribbon, takes place during the Civil War. According to the author’s biography, Craig S. Whitmore is an alumnus of Ashland University and a former interpretive ranger with the National Park Service at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay.
Segregated Memphis memories
After Peter Rogers sees the body of Martin Luther King Jr. wheeled past him into the morgue, he tells a friend “I felt that the civil rights movement had passed me by.” In his memoir With Malice Toward None: The Night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Was Killed, Rogers reveals his life in the chaotic atmosphere of Memphis in 1967 and 1968.
Rogers, who grew up in a liberal Catholic family in Shaker Heights and is an alumnus of Walsh University, was a medical student at the University of Tennessee. His housemates were mostly bigots who approved of George Wallace’s segregation policies, but he did find one to attend a Ku Klux Klan meeting with him and stir up trouble. Rogers tried, in his small ways, to demonstrate fellowship with the black residents of Memphis, like sitting at the “colored only” lunch counter at Kresge’s, but he was asked to leave.
It took King’s assassination to galvanize Rogers into greater action. Attending a memorial service at a predominantly black church was dangerous; taking part in a tribute march resulted in a threat on his life. Rogers recounts his intimate relationship with Miriam, a black dentist he met at the memorial service. He was again threatened, this time with a lynching, simply for taking her to Burger King for a milkshake.
Though Rogers devotes a good deal of his book to his affair with Miriam, and a chapter in which she wins the respect of his narrow-minded housemates by beating Rogers in a footrace is both affecting and very funny, the power of the story is the chilling atmosphere of segregated Memphis.
With Malice Toward None (323 pages, hardcover) costs $25 from online retailers. Peter Rogers practices addiction medicine and lives in Columbus.
Jackson Township resident Lil Blosfield has contributed a story called “A Friend in Need” to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls. It’s about a lifelong friend who steps in during a family crisis.
Cleveland International Exposition Center (1 IX Center Dr.) — Bob Adamov, author of the Emerson Moore mystery series, signs his books, including the most recent, Sandustee: The Search for the Nazarene’s Code, at the Mid-America Boat Show, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Admission charged.
Hudson Library (96 Library St.) — Brimfield Police Chief David Oliver talks about social media and signs No Mopes Allowed, 7 p.m. Tuesday; Thomas M. Daniel, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, talks about writers affected by tuberculosis and his book Times and Tides of Tuberculosis, 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (North Royalton branch, 14600 State Road) — Andrew R. Thomas, author (with Paul N. Thomarios) of The Final Journey of the Saturn V, talks about the restoration of the Saturn V SA-514 rocket, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Rocky River Public Library (1600 Hampton Road) — Cleveland novelist Nick Shamhart talks about his novel The Fog Within, about a woman with autism, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Amasa Stone Chapel (10940 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) — Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood, author of nonfiction books including The Butler: Witness to History, on which the recent film was based, addresses the Case Western Reserve University Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, 12:30 p.m. Friday.
Visible Voice (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Joel Ayala Ayapana talks about and signs The Book of Positive Light: Remembrance of the Heart, 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.