A Shameless Plug

As some of you already know, all of my diaries here are draft chapters for a number of books I am working on.

Some of these are now available:

The Nuclear Tourist: Visiting Historical Sites and Weapons from the Cold War

For over four decades, the United States and the Soviet Union faced each other in a Cold War that threatened the entire world with nuclear annihilation. Today, the relics of that immense conflict still exist. Some of them are now forgotten ruins. Some of them are now in museums. Over the years, Lenny Flank has visited most of the available sites which commemorate America’s Cold War nuclear history. This book is a chronicle of some of these nuclear displays and exhibits, and the history behind them. It is a cross-country tour that ranges from Florida to Washington, with stops in Arizona, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Dakota, Connecticut, Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, and Illinois, and covers the decades from the 1940s to the 1990s. Here, at sites that were once some of the most super-secret places on the planet, tourists can now wander around with cameras and cellphones, taking snapshots for social media of weapons and equipment that were once capable of ending all of human civilization in the space of a single afternoon. This is their story. Illustrated.

The War of 1812 Tourist: Visiting The Battlefields and Historical Sites of the War With Britain

The War of 1812 has been mostly forgotten in the US. At the time, it was a war that many thought should not have been waged. It was, however, a major event: it precipitated the American invasion of Canada (and an attempted retaliatory invasion of America by Canada), it led to the capture and burning of the American capitol in Washington DC, and it marks the last time that foreign troops ever entered and fought inside the continental United States (though much of the fighting actually took place in Canada). Yet, it was also a war with an ambiguous end and no clear winner—and the United States of America does not like to celebrate or remember wars it did not win. Over the years, Lenny Flank has visited most of the battlefields and historical sites from the War of 1812, both in the US and in Canada. So at one level, this book is a sort of historical travelogue. But at another level, it is a plea to remember: to consider and preserve the places where history was made, in a war that is today mostly forgotten. Illustrated.

The French and Indian War Tourist: Visiting The Battlefields and Historical Sites of the War With France

The two countries of France and England were rivals in Europe for centuries and had fought innumerable wars against each other, and this competition extended to their New World colonies. Inevitably, only one empire could dominate the new continent, and they could only do that by pushing the other one out. The French and Indian War settled that issue. The War had far-reaching effects. In Paris, the huge expenses incurred by the conflict led to financial difficulties which ultimately resulted in the French Revolution. In London, the war also produced money issues, which the British government tried to solve by raising taxes in the colonies–provoking the American Revolution. In North America, smoldering resentments among the Native American Nations over the war’s aftermath would eventually help spark the War of 1812, and the subsequent destruction of Native power and culture in both the United States and Canada. Yet today, the French and Indian War is mostly forgotten. Some of its major battlefields were destroyed by development. Others remain as monuments only because of their connections to later wars and people that were much more famous. This book is an attempt to resurrect some of that forgotten history, by presenting some of the stories behind a number of the historical parks, memorials, and battlefields that have managed to survive for the past 175 years. Most of these historical sites, in both the United States and Canada, are little-known and seldom-visited. But they deserve to be remembered. Illustrated.


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