I met John last October during the ABA's conference in Connecticut, and he graciously agreed to be my guest here.
Jane Merrill, John's co-author, is the author of many books and magazine articles. She lives in Saint George, Maine.
John has practiced law in New York, Texas and Connecticut. He lives in Litchfield, CT, the town in which Aaron Burr first studied for the bar.
Meet John, read about his research and writing journey, and his famous ancestors.
About AARON BURR IN EXILE
Aaron Burr--Revolutionary War hero, third vice president of the United States and a controversial figure of the early republic--was tried and acquitted of treason charges in 1807, and thereafter departed for self-imposed exile in Europe, his political career in ruins. Adrift in Paris for 15 months, he led a marginal existence on the run from creditors and the courts, getting by on handouts. While other Americans in Paris enjoyed official status that insulated them from life in the capital, Burr dreamed up fruitless schemes and pawned his possessions, yet remained in high spirits, enjoying Parisian theater and cafes. He shopped, flirted, paid for sex and associated with friends old and new while gathering the resolve to return to America.
Burr's Paris journal is a rare item, with only 250 unexpurgated copies printed in 1903. In it he relates his fascinating stories and describes Parisian life at the height of Napoleon's power. Drawing on Burr's journal and other sources, this book provides a self-portrait of the down-and-out Founding Father abroad.
My neighbor and good friend Peter Tavino, Secretary of the Aaron Burr Association, put on a play at the Litchfield, CT library based on Aaron Burr’s treason trial and Peter cast me in the role of the prosecuting attorney. Thereafter, I read a biography of Burr which mentioned that Burr had kept a journal during his stay in Europe. It turned out that the only Connecticut copy of the 1903 published edition of the journal was to be found at the Litchfield Historical Society. When I read the journal there, I realized that it could be the subject of a very interesting book, which would be the first to consider in detail how Burr spent his time in Europe and particularly his very interesting and eventful 15 months in Paris in 1810 and 1811.
Do you have another book in the works, and can you give us a hint as to what it will be about?
What are some of your favorite books about Aaron?
What are some of your favorite books of all time?