Thomas Fleming is the author of more than 40 books of fiction and history. He was born in Jersey City, N.J., the son of a powerful local politician, who gave him a lifelong interest in politics and history. He is the only writer in the seventy year history of the Book of the Month Club to win main selections in both fiction and nonfiction. His 1981 novel, "The Officers' Wives," won international acclaim, selling more than 2,000,000 copies." Liberty! The American Revolution" was listed as one of the eight best books of 1997 by the History Book Club. Fleming has made the Revolution his special field. Three of his books have won best-book-of-the-year citations from the American Revolution Round Table of New York. He has also demonstrated a sweeping grasp of the entire course of American history in "West Point" "The Men and Times of the U.S. Military Academy, The New Dealers' War" and other books. Fleming is a senior scholar on the board of the National Center for the American Revolution. He is also a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He often appears as a commentator on PBS, the History Channel and A&E. He lives in New York.
The heroine of this latest historical novel from Fleming (When This Cruel War Is Over) is 19-year-old Bess Fitzmaurice, a high-spirited Irish patriot whose beloved brother, Michael, has broken with his family to join the Fenians (the Irish Republican Brotherhood). In 1865, Michael and American Dan McCaffrey are on the run after a confrontation with police when Bess secures them all passage on a ship bound for the United States. Smitten with Dan and caught up in the romance of politics, Bess disregards her misgivings and joins the considerable ranks of the Fenians. About 50,000 Irish civil war veterans are ready to invade Canada under the Fenian banner in order to force the British to grant independence to Ireland. But the Fenians are double-crossed by the U.S. government, and Michael is murdered, forcing Bess to flee and assume another identity. Governess for the children of former Gen. Jonathon Stapleton (the saga of the Stapleton family appears in several other Fleming novels), she falls in love with her employer, only to be tracked down by Dan. Fleming depicts Bess's transformation from wild, idealistic youth to cynical observer with color and credibility. His use of quotations from Irish poetry add depth to the text and illustrate how an individual's experiences are part of the sweep of history. Bringing attention to a little-known aspect of the Irish civil war, this book is recommended for most public libraries.-Ann Fleury, Tampa- Hillsborough Cty. P.L. Cooperative, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"Thomas Fleming is one of my favorite writers because he combines powerful storytelling with the skills of a superb historian."--John Jakes"I don't read Thomas Fleming just to learn about American history. I read Thomas Fleming because I want to smell what the Americans in that time smelt, to see as our ancestor's saw, and most important to feel every emotion, every thought, and every moment that the people of our country felt."--W.E.B Griffin
Bess Fitzmaurice, the idealistic heroine of Fleming's historical melodrama, suffers no reticence in recounting her many sexual liaisons ("He took my hand and put his swelling manhood in it"). More seriously, through Bess's gushing first-person narrative, Fleming (When This Cruel War Is Over) portrays the Irish in post-Civil War America without the usual romantic claptrap. In 1865, Bess flees Ireland for the New World with her brother and her Irish-American lover, Dan McCaffrey, an unscrupulous rogue somewhat in the Rhett Butler mold. Bess discovers that the cynical Irish she meets in New York City, the lying congressmen in Washington, D.C., and the murderous KKK in the defeated South are all interested only in money. Fleming excels at depicting the underside of New York. The festering downtown slums, packed with poor Irish immigrants, horrify Bess, as do the gambling parlors and brothels uptown, all feeding incestuously on crooked Irish politicians and their cronies. Bess eventually allies herself with the Fenian Brotherhood, helping to raise money for an invasion of Civil War Irish veterans into Canada that ends in a predictable fiasco. Bess is as resourceful as Scarlett O'Hara, but the Southern portion of this windy tale is unlikely to win over many fans of Margaret Mitchell's classic. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.