'Encounters' is a fascinating jaunt through 2500 years of history with 10 seemingly random stops along the way to thoroughly examine a series of intriguing personal meet-ups between historical personages. These encounters range from the curious, amusing and inconsequential to the profound and provocative to historically momentous. What they all have in common in the skillful hands of the author is their absorbing and thoroughly entertaining value to the history-inclined reader.
To name a few, these encounters include Hannibal/Scipio (an after-the-fact chitchat between leadership rivals in the penultimate Rome/Carthage confrontation), Mozart/Beethoven (to the author, a potential turning-point in musical history), and JFK/Khrushchev (again, per the author, consequential to the max!).
For each encounter the author provides extensive detail as to the historical setting and context as well as to the personal background and mind-set of each individual. By the time he reaches the actual encounter itself the author has so effectively set the stage that my anticipation was piqued almost to the level of a good fictional thriller; nor does he disappoint in that final scene. He puts us into the heads of each player, and beyond the official record (where it existed) of actual words spoken, he surmises plausible thoughts, and motives of each . . a level of intimacy that could only have come from the most exhaustive scrutiny of the nearest contemporary accounts of each such meet-up.
It is clear that Richard Hermann thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing this book . . . and his enthusiasm will carry through to create a most rewarding journey for the reader.
Encounters: Ten Appointments with History describes ten meetings between historically relevant individuals and, in one case civilizations, that have profoundly imprinted themselves on both their contemporary eras and what followed. Each of the subjects of this book changed the world in ways that still resonate today, from the 2,500-year-old clash between Persia and Greece on the Plain of Marathon (Chapter One) to the dangerous Cold War inflection point represented by the summit meeting of President John F. Kennedy and his arch-rival, the Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev, in Vienna in 1961 (Chapter Ten). The theme that weaves through each encounter can best be labeled the “Lessons of History,” a refrain that is especially relevant today when those lessons are often unknown to or not well understood by our leaders and decision-makers.
About the Author
Richard Hermann is the author of ten books, a former law professor and entrepreneur, the founder and president of Federal Reports, Inc., a legal information and consulting firm. He writes a weekly op-ed column, a legal blog, and is a regular contributor to National Jurist magazine. He has degrees from Yale University, the New School University, Cornell Law School, and the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's School. He has always been interested in history and is an avid consumer of histories and biographies. He lives with his wife in Arlington, Virginia and Canandaigua, New York.