Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Screen Plays and A Mutiny in the Baltic

I haven't had much free time for pleasure reading the last few weeks, with the book launch and everything, but here's a new book that I wanted to mention right away for the many writers and readers who come by this site: Screen Plays: How 25 Scripts Made it to a Theater Near You - For Better or Worse. Among the films are Gladiator, Troy, American Beauty, Lost in Translation, Monsters Ball, Aviator, and Black Hawk Dawn. Cohen, who also conducted technical research for the film version of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears, discusses the hits, misses, and explains why, uncovering the "alchemy of the movie business." Cohen's site is here.

Speaking of Tom Clancy, David Hagberg and Boris Gindin will soon publish their book telling the true story behind the 1984 novel, The Hunt for Red October. It's called The Mutiny, the title referring to an incident in the fall of 1975 on board the FFG Storozhevoy in the Baltic. Co-author Boris Gindin was on board the antisubmarine warship when Brezhnev ordered it destroyed. The Mutiny: The True Events That Inspired 'The Hunt for Red October is set for release in May. Hagberg's site is here, and Boris Gindin, here.

Amazon's New and Notable Books

Good news . . . Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna has just been selected as one of's "New and Notable" books in history. The other selection is Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, The End of Civilization.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

In The New York Review of Books

Here is an excerpt from an ad for Vienna, 1814 that my publisher placed in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books:

"The Party that Changed the World . . . The Congress of Vienna was the most audacious and extravagant peace conference in modern European history. What began as a series of debauched parties changed with word of Napoleon's escape - and led to agreements that drastically reconfigured Europe's balance of power, ushering in the modern age." Some reviews of my book are also cited.

By the way, too, I just heard about a new charity organization that is trying to create book collections for cancer patients in hospitals and clinics around the state. It's called the Kentucky Books for Patients Project, and it's sponsored by James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Louisville University Hospital, and Spalding University's MFA program. For more information about donating books, check out the project's blog.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the Air

Years ago, I had a blast hosting a college radio show. But I have to say that I had forgotten how much I enjoyed that until I found myself behind the mic again for Finding Atlantis. In the next few days, I’ll be happily on the air again talking about Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna on five or six radio stations, beginning Monday morning with WTKF-FM in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. I can’t wait. I love radio. And I love talking about Napoleon and that glittering Vanity Fair known as the Congress of Vienna.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Happy Book Day

These were the words I woke up to this morning, which my three-year old daughter proceeded to sing to the tune of "Happy Birthday" (and then "Happy Birthday" itself followed for good measure). What a wonderful opening to a wonderful day. Here's a picture given to me earlier today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Congress of Vienna

Here’s a description of my new book from my publisher:

Vienna, 1814 is an evocative and brilliantly researched account of the most audacious and extravagant peace conference in modern European history. With the feared Napoleon Bonaparte presumably defeated and exiled to the small island of Elba, heads of some 216 states gathered in Vienna to begin piecing together the ruins of his toppled empire. Major questions loomed: What would be done with France? How were the newly liberated territories to be divided? What type of restitution would be offered to families of the deceased? But this unprecedented gathering of kings, dignitaries, and diplomatic leaders unfurled a seemingly endless stream of personal vendettas, long-simmering feuds, and romantic entanglements that threatened to undermine the crucial work at hand, even as their hard-fought policy decisions shaped the destiny of Europe and led to the longest sustained peace the continent would ever see.

Beyond the diplomatic wrangling, however, the Congress of Vienna served as a backdrop for the most spectacular Vanity Fair of its time. Highlighted by such celebrated figures as the elegant but incredibly vain Prince Metternich of Austria, the unflappable and devious Prince Talleyrand of France, and the volatile Tsar Alexander of Russia, as well as appearances by Ludwig van Beethoven and Emilia Bigottini, the sheer star power of the Vienna Congress outshone nearly everything else in the public eye.

An early incarnation of the cult of celebrity, the congress devolved into a series of debauched parties that continually delayed the progress of peace, until word arrived that Napoleon had escaped, abruptly halting the revelry and shrouding the continent in panic once again.

Vienna, 1814 beautifully illuminates the intricate social and political intrigue of this history-defining congress–a glorified party that seemingly valued frivolity over substance but nonetheless managed to drastically reconfigure Europe’s balance of power and usher in the modern age.”

This book was an absolute joy to write, and I have been thrilled with its reception so far – I hope you enjoy it too! Vienna, 1814 will be published next week in hardback, ebook, mp3, and cd, and it will be selected by some regional and national book clubs, including the History Book Club and the Military Book Club.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Like A Rolling Stone

In addition to Martin Scorsese's upcoming Rolling Stones concert film Shine A Light, check out Steven Kurutz's fascinating new debut Like A Rolling Stone, which will also be released in April. Kurutz's book will follow two rival tribute bands, Sticky Fingers and Blushing Brides, on the 2005-6 tour, meeting other acts along the way such as the Kounterfeit Kinks and the Red Hot Chilli Bastards. Publishers Weekly reviews Like A Rolling Stone here, and Kurutz's blog is here.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Britain’s Star Warfare

Newly released documents from MI5 shed light on the astrologer Louis de Wohl, a self-styled Modern Nostradamus who was hired to wage “star warfare” against the Third Reich from his west London hotel (i.e. The Psychological Research Bureau). Read more about the file at the National Archives here, here, or track down Louis de Wohl’s many books such as The Stars of War and Peace. A copy of his Secret Service of the Sky, along with a signed letter from the author, is for sale here.

Death in the City of Light

Good news – here’s what I’ll be up to now, or rather continue to pursue, as the subject as long fascinated me, the story in Publishers Weekly and Publishers Marketplace: My next book, Death in the City of Light, will tell the true story of a hunt for a brutal serial killer in Nazi-occupied Paris. My book, Vienna 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna will be published next week in hardback, ebook, and audio book.