Free Book Talks


January 13, 2019  Rescheduled - February 24
Witness to Peace & Strife - The History of Ben Lomond in Manassas, VA; 1:30 p.m

Free Book Talk with Author Paige Gibbons Backus

Learn the fascinating history of the historic house and plantation near the Manassas National Battlefield that witnessed Civil War strife and a colorful post-war history.  

About the Author

Paige Gibbons Backus currently serves Prince William County as the Historic Site Manager at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre (an 1820s town and the fourth seat for Prince William County) and Lucasville School (a one-room African American schoolhouse). She has been in the public history field for close to ten years focusing on educational programming and operations working at several historic sites throughout Northern Virginia including Gadsby's Tavern Museum, Sully Historic Site, and Ellanor C. Lawrence Park and Ben Lomond Historic Site. She has published numerous articles in Emerging Civil War, Virginia Association of Museum's Voice Magazine, Civil War Traveler, and Prince William Living

January 27, 2019 (snowdate February 3)
Kentucky Barracuda - Parker Hardin French (1826-1878); 1:30 p.m

In 1850 the “Kentucky Barracuda” swindled author Joe’s Goodbody's great grandfather when he was a passenger on French’s infamous California-bound gold rush expedition. Learn how the adventure faltered in mismanagement and collapsed in deception, fraud and forgery.

About the Author

Local author Joe Goodbody is a retired United States Army Colonel and corporate leader.

February 10, 2019
Five for Freedom-The African American Soldiers in John Brown's Army; 1:30 p.m

Join author Eugene L. Meyer to learn about this story of five brave men, the circumstances in which they were born and how they came together at this time and place, grew to manhood, and died. Their lives and deaths affected future generations, not just their descendants, but all of us. It is a story that continues to resonate.

March 3, 2019
Bringing Down the Colonel; 1:30 p.m

Join Author Patricia Miller for a free book talk on her book: Bringing Down the Colonel

About the Book:

Bringing Down The Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the “Powerless” Woman Who Took on Washington tells the incredible, true story of how a penniless girl from Kentucky brought down one the most powerful men in Washington, Colonel William Campbell Preston Breckinridge, scion of a Bluegrass political dynasty.

Patricia Miller tells the story of Madeline Pollard, an unlikely nineteenth-century women’s rights crusader. After an affair with the prominent Breckinridge left her “ruined,” Pollard brought him—and the hypocrisy of America’s control of women’s sexuality—to trial and awakened a generation of women to demand change.

Nearly 125 years after the Breckinridge-Pollard scandal, America is still obsessed with women’s sexual morality. And in the age of Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, we’ve witnessed fraught public reckonings with a type of sexual exploitation unnervingly similar to that experienced by Pollard. Using newspaper articles, personal journals, previously unpublished autobiographies, and letters, Bringing Down the Colonel tells the story of one of the earliest women to publicly fight back. (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux).


Patricia Miller is an award-winning author and journalist whose fascination with the untold stories of women led her on a 10-year journey to unearth the story of the Breckinridge–Pollard scandal. Her work on the interplay of politics and sexual morality has appeared in The Atlantic, Salon, The Nation, Huffington Post, and Ms. Magazine. She received a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and lives outside of Washington, DC, with her husband and dog.

May 12, 2019
The Million-Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President: George Washington Gayle and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln; 1:30 p.m

Forget what you thought you knew about why Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Join author Christopher Lyle Mcllwain, Sr. as he argues that it was not mere sectional hatred, but Booth’s desire to become famous, Lincoln’s advocacy of black suffrage, or a plot masterminded by Jefferson Davis to win the war by crippling the Federal government. 

About the Author

Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr., has been practicing law for more than three decades in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and is the author of Civil War Alabama, the winner of the McMillan Prize, and 1865 Alabama: From Civil War to Uncivil Peace. Chris has also published several articles in a variety of history journals.