Wednesday, February 27, 2013




A Note To My Readers


We like our heroes to wear white hats and our scoundrels to wear black. But we do not live in a black and white world. Shades of gray color both minor and momentous acts. In his film "Lincoln "Stephen Spielberg accurately portrays the great man trading jobs for votes.

Was Christopher Columbus the intrepid explorer described in some history books or was he the merciless slave trader portrayed in other historical accounts? I believe anyone who has an interest in history will welcome a deeper understanding of how personal character and momentous events can converge to produce a scoundrel and a hero in one and the same person.  In my blog "Ironic American History" I describe how infamous labels can obscure heroic deeds and conversely how heroic deeds can camouflage villainous acts.  Here are a few illustrations:
  • Clarence Gideon, a convicted felon, was too poor to pay for a defense attorney. He appealed to  the Supreme Court from his jail cell and won a landmark Supreme Court decision that mandated all states to provide public defenders in criminal cases.
  • Four years before he attempted to sell the defense plans of West Point to the British, Benedict Arnold saved the American Revolution at the Battle of Valcour Island.
  • Wernher von Braun is considered by many to be the "father" of the American space program. During World War II he oversaw the manufacture of German V-2 rockets in slave labor camps.  The V-2s pulverized London in the latter stages of the war.
I welcome your suggestions and input. Insert a comment after a post and nominate your choice for inclusion in the pantheon of scoundrels who made America great.