What’s in a book? An interview with Eugene L. Meyer, author of “Hidden Maryland”

“The journalist’s new collection shines a light on “hidden Maryland.”

Holly Smith, Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Independent Review of Books, interviewed me on the publication of my newest book Hidden Maryland: In Search of America in Miniature. To read the entire interview, click here.   To order the book, available now in e-book and paperback, click here.

The stories are about little known places and people. They are admittedly, and purposely, off the beaten path.  Take a trip of discovery across this remarkable, diverse state that has defied easy definition but encompassed much of America within its oddly-configured borders.  For a free preview and to order a paperback or an e-book, click on Amazon. But  don’t let me just toot my own horn–yet.  Here’s what others had to say:

If Maryland is for crabs, then Gene Meyer is for Maryland. He’s visited every corner of the state. That’s no easy task, given how squiggly Maryland’s border is in places. And after decades spent plumbing every nook and cranny — from seashore to mountain — Gene reveals a simple truth: Maryland’s greatest natural resource is its people.” –– John Kelly, the superb local columnist at the Washington Post (and Gene’s onetime editor on the Weekend section)

“Back when Gene Meyer wrote for The Washington Post, I followed him closely. His stories from across Maryland popped with discovery and read-out-loud prose. His superb story-telling skills obviously continued into his Hidden Maryland days. In each tale, he makes his readers feel like fellow travelers.” – Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun columnist

Here’s just a snippet from the interview:

“Obviously, the state’s diversity, encompassing maritime, metropolitan, and mountain settings and cultures. In a larger sense, the state reflects what’s good about our country. Not only in its variety of physical landscapes and urban, suburban, and rural locales, but also in its people. What I hope readers will learn is that it’s possible, even in our troubled, polarized times, to speak to one another without condescension or antagonism. Amid the culture wars, people have far more in common than otherwise. I hope readers will see the goodness and basic humanity in the many and diverse characters who inhabit Hidden Maryland. The pictured scenery [in the book] is also a plus!”


Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army:  On the 163d anniversary of the John Brown raid on Harpers Ferry to seize the federal arsenal and incite a slave insurrection, publisher Chicago Review Press is offering a 35% discount off the retail price through October 20.  At checkout, the code is FREEDOM35. My book tells the story of the five forgotten men who joined with Brown from different paths and for different reasons.  It’s the first time their stories have been fully told in one volume, and I’m proud to say the book was named best history/biography in 2019 by the American Society of Journalists and Authors. It also led to a state highway memorial plaque being erected to Dangerfield Newby, one of the five and the first raider to die at Harpers Ferry, and his enslaved wife Harriet, in northwestern Culpeper County, Virginia, in May.

FIVE FOR FREEDOM: Raid Anniversary Special

On Oct. 16, 1859, a rainy Sunday night 163 years ago, John Brown led 18 men down a dark country road to seize the federal arsenal and rifle works at Harpers Ferry. His plan was to arm and incite a slave insurrection that would topple the hated institution of slavery. With him were five African Americans, largely forgotten and the subject of my book Five for Freedom: The African Americans in John Brown’s Army.  The insurrection ended in failure 36 hours later, but historians say it lit the spark that brought on the Civil War and, ultimately, led to abolition.

For the raid anniversary this year, the publisher Chicago Review Press is offering a 35% discount off the list price ($17.81 v. $26.99). The sale runs through Oct. 20. There are a dwindling number of hardcover copies in stock, so order now by clicking here. During checkout, use this code: FREEDOM35

There is more: If you want your copy signed or inscribed, please send me a website message.  I will reply with my address.  Mail it to me (use media mail, might take a little longer but it’s cheaper), and I will sign or inscribe it as you wish and return it to you postpaid.

Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown’s Army was named the best book of history/biography in 2019 by the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Read what some others had to say about it:

“Eugene Meyer has given the story of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry new meaning and relevance by restoring Brown’s black collaborators to their rightful place in historyFive for Freedom elevates the names Newby, Anderson, Copeland, Leary, and Green to stand with Brown as individuals who were willing to sacrifice their own lives to rid our country of the horror of chattel slavery.”

— Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures

“Finding fascinating stories that other writers miss has been Eugene Meyer’s calling card for decades, and he has done it again with this important and largely untold story of five men forgotten in the John Brown legend.”

— David Maraniss, Pulitzer-prize winning author and Washington Post Associate Editor

“A terrific read and an important book. Spanning nearly 175 years, Meyer’s deeply researched book shows how the lives of the courageous martyrs still influences the present day and will likely continue to do so for generations.  You probably have never heard of Osborne Perry Anderson, John Anthony Copeland, Shields Green, Lewis Sheridan Leary and Dangerfield Newby. But after reading this book, you will never forget them.”

— Courtland Milloy, Jr., Washington Post columnist


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