Nellie Bly and Me

Here’s the book I was contributing to in late 2007 and through May 2008: “Irish American Chronicle.” (Me, I would have called it “The Irish American Chronicle”; but I’m hung up on articles, I guess.)


Anyway, UPS deposited a heavy box on the porch on Friday. Part of my payment, in addition to a writing credit and that old standby, cash, was nine copies of the book. It’s a coffee table number, and definitely in the popular/pictorial history vein.

I could go into my many quibbles with this kind of book, starting with the suspicions stirred upon encountering a foreword by the noted scholar Maureen O’Hara. But I won’t. It was a nice surprise to get the book, which I’d long ago stopped thinking about. For the most part, it’s well written and edited. I got a chance to research and write about a lot of fascinating subjects: Nellie Bly, for instance, who was both a pioneering (Irish-American) journalist and inventor of the 55-gallon oil drum (check out this article — a PDF file — from the American Oil & Gas Historical Society).

Besides, the book’s got lots of nice pictures. Now I have an entry in the Library of Congress database. And eight books to give away.

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