Free Book Talks


January 13, 2019
Witness to Peace & Strife - The History of Ben Lomond in Manassas, VA; 1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Author Paige Gibbons Backus.

About the Author

A native of Wisconsin, Paige Gibbons Backus graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a bachelor's degree in Historic Preservation, and George Mason University with a master's degree in Applied History. She has been in the public history field for close to ten years focusing on educational programming and operations working at several historic sites throughout Northern Virginia including Gadsby's Tavern Museum, Sully Historic Site, and Ellanor C. Lawrence Park and Ben Lomond Historic Site. She currently serves Prince William County as the Historic Site Manager at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre (an 1820s town and the fourth seat for Prince William County) and Lucasville School (a one-room African American schoolhouse).

When out of the office, Paige spends her time serving on the board of the Virginia Association of Museums, exploring, being outdoors, or researching her interests. Her published works include Witness to Peace and Strife: The History of Ben Lomond in Manassas, Virginia, as well as well as numerous articles published for a variety of publications such as Emerging Civil War, Virginia Association of Museum's Voice Magazine, Civil War Traveler, and Prince William Living. She currently lives in Brentsville, Virginia, with her husband, Bill, and their two dogs, Barley and Bernard.

January 27, 2019 (snowdate February 3)
Kentucky Barracuda - Parker Hardin French (1826-1878); 1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Author Joe Goodbody

About the Author

Local author Joe Goodbody is a retired United States Army Colonel and corporate leader with a bachelor’s degree from University of Nebraska (Omaha) and a masters in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology.  He and his wife Carol have been married for fifty years with two sons and four grandchildren. In 1850 the “Kentucky Barracuda” swindled Joe’s great grandfather when he was a passenger on French’s infamous California bound gold rush expedition.  The adventure faltered in mismanagement and collapsed in deception, fraud and forgery. 

February 10, 2019
Five for Freedom-The African American Soldiers in John Brown's Army; 1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Author Eugene L. Meyer

About the Author

Five for Freedom is the story of five brave men, the circumstances in which they were born and how they came together at this time and place, grew to manhood and died. Their lives and deaths affected future generations, not just of their descendants, but of us all. It is a story that continues to resonate in the present.

May 19, 2019
The Million-Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President: George Washington Gayle nad the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln; 1:30 p.m; Free

Free Book Talk with Author Christopher Lyle Mcllwain, Sr.

Forget what you thought you knew about why Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. No, it was not mere sectional hatred, Booth’s desire to become famous, Lincoln’s advocacy of black suffrage, or a plot masterminded by Jefferson Davis to win the war by crippling the Federal government. Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr.’s The Million-Dollar Man Who Helped Kill a President: George Washington Gayle and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln exposes the fallacies regarding each of those theories and reveals both the mastermind behind the plot, and its true motivation.


Christopher Lyle McIlwain, Sr., has been practicing law for more than three decades in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His other passion is the study of nineteenth century history. He is the author of two previous books, Civil War Alabama (U. of Alabama Press, 2016), the winner of the McMillan Prize, and 1865 Alabama: From Civil War to Uncivil Peace (U. of Alabama Press, 2017). Chris has also published several articles in a variety of history journals.