top of page
  • Mike Martinez

An Update on My Writing Projects

I first started writing my blog in July 2011. Every summer since that time, I have updated readers on my writing projects. Accordingly, this blog will serve as my “report card” for 2023.

I have completed three projects since my 2022 update.

1. Scoundrels: Political Scandals in American History

On June 15, 2023, Rowman & Littlefield published Scoundrels: Political Scandals in American History. The book, my 17th, discusses 13 episodes of scandalous behavior by political figures in the United States stretching across American history. Specifically, Scoundrels details these cases of public malfeasance:

Chapter 1: The Yazoo Land Fraud

Chapter 2: The Aaron Burr Conspiracy

Chapter 3: The Caning of Charles Sumner

Chapter 4: Scandals of the 1870s (Salary Grab/Whiskey Ring/Credit Mobilier)

Chapter 5: Teapot Dome

Chapter 6: William “Wild Bill” Langer

Chapter 7: Spiro Agnew

Chapter 8: Watergate

Chapter 9: Abscam

Chapter 10: The Savings & Loan Crisis

Chapter 11: Iran-Contra

Chapter 12: Jack Abramoff

Chapter 13: 2016 Russian Election Interference

The book can be ordered from these retailers:

2. Three Episcopal Ministers, Black Communicants, and the Civil War Era

The academic journal Anglican and Episcopal History agreed to publish an article that I coauthored with my late uncle, Rev. Loren B. Mead. Beginning in 2015, Loren, a retired Episcopal priest, was working on a book about the three white clergymen in the nineteenth century Episcopal Church of South Carolina: Peter Fayssoux Stevens, A. Toomer Porter, and William Porcher DuBose. These men present excellent case studies because they were contemporaries and their early lives were remarkably similar, yet their responses to the tumult of race during the nineteenth century diverged following the Civil War.

The three men shared a common understanding of the church’s duties before the war, but their responses to emancipation, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow (segregation) era demonstrated a range of reactions. Peter F. Stevens left the Protestant Episcopal Church (PEC) for the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) when Blacks were not afforded an opportunity to choose their own leadership within the PEC. A. Toomer Porter advocated on behalf of Black leadership in Black PEC churches, but he continued working within the church even after white leaders rejected his entreaties. William Porcher DuBose was a white supremacist who was comfortable denying Black communicants a place within the postwar PEC.

Loren had spent several years on the project before he died on May 5, 2018. He had gathered most of the research, prepared an outline, and written a few pages of general observations and impressions. I finished the work based on his direction.

On February 23, 2016, Loren sent me a letter containing notes and an outline for the work. As he explained in his letter, “I’m going to try to do a new book on three men I call my own Three Musketeers, white men who really stood in the crossing between whites and blacks in the Episcopal Church right after the war.” He asked if I would complete the work if he died before it was finished.

It was only natural that Loren B. Mead was interested in telling the story of these three Episcopal ministers from South Carolina. A native South Carolinian, Loren spent much of his adult life and professional career thinking about ministers and their congregations. Moreover, he was vitally interested in race and schisms within the church and in American society. During the 1960s, Loren was involved in efforts to desegregate Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he was a minister. In the following decade, he founded the Alban Institute, an organization dedicated to improving the work of congregations. (I interned at the Alban Institute during the summer after I graduated from college and before I went to law school.)

In his salad days, Loren was prominent in the Episcopal Church and a prolific author. “ By 2016, he fretted that the Stevens-Porter-DuBose project was too much to take on. At the age of 86, he concluded that the book was “bigger than me. Not only that, but I’m old. I mean OLD….”

I initially hesitated to take on the task because I was working on many other projects at the time. Finally, I relented. I am still laboring on a book-length manuscript. In the meantime, however, the article on Stevens, Porter, and DuBose will appear in Anglican and Episcopal History, Volume 92, No. 3, which will be published in September 2023.

3. 28 Exemplary American Public Servants: “A Finer Spirit of Hope and Achievement”

In August 2021, I signed a book contract with Routledge Press to produce a book titled 28 Exemplary American Public Servants: “A Finer Spirit of Hope and Achievement.” The book covers effective public servants (defined as unelected officials who conduct public business working inside a government agency at any level) who understand the rules and regulations in their organizations, but they also are not afraid to find creative means of achieving their goals. Sometimes they work according to organizational norms and customs, while at other times they bend the rules and seek a broader domain for the agency. Some effective servants have been charismatic individuals who relied on an outsized personality while others have been self-effacing introverts who labored quietly behind the scenes to achieve their goals. Their one commonality is a strong belief in government service and a willingness to employ effective methods for accomplishing their objectives.

I finished writing the manuscript earlier this month, and I am polishing it before I submit it to the publisher on or about August 31, 2023. The publication date is uncertain, but it should appear sometime in 2024.

These are the 28 figures highlighted in the book:

1. Montgomery Meigs (1816-1892)

2. Charles Dawes (1865-1951)

3. Frances Perkins (1880-1965)

4. Harold Ickes (1874-1952)

5. Leslie Groves (1896-1970)

6. David Lilienthal (1899-1981)

7. Robert Moses (1888-1981)

8. Alice Hamilton (1869-1970)

9. Ralph Bunche (1904-1971)

10. Allen Dulles (1893-1969)

11. Frances Oldham Kelsey (1914-2015)

12. Hyman G. Rickover (1900-1986)

13. Wilbur J. Cohen (1913-1987)

14. Stewart Udall (1920-2010)

15. Robert C. Weaver (1907-1997)

16. David O. “Doc” Cooke (1920-2002)

17. Dwight Ink (1922-2021)

18. Elliot Richardson (1920-1999)

19. Alan K. “Scotty” Campbell (1924-1998)

20. James A. Baker III (1930- )

21. Alice Rivlin (1931-2019)

22. Elmer Staats (1914-2011)

23. James Webb (1906-1992)

24. George Schultz (1920-2021)

25. Prudence Bushnell (1946- )

26. Constance Berry Newman (1935- )

27. Colin Powell (1937-2021)

28. Anthony Fauci (1940- )

I will provide an update on the publication date in a future blog.

45 views0 comments


bottom of page