Monday, January 26, 2015

Republic of Pirates, now in Hungarian


I'm especially pleased to announce the Hungarian language edition of my third book, The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and The Man Who Brought Them Down, as I called Budapest home for nearly five years between 1989 and 1995.

The new edition, Kalózköztársaság, is from Könyvmolyképző Kiadó in that most paprika-worthy of cities, Szeged. At this writing it's even on sale at their website -- just HUF 2764. I gather the official release date is February 24, but it seems to be available now.

Republic of Pirates, the inspiration for the NBC drama "Crossbones", is also available in US, UK, Spanish, Portugeuse, Polish, Danish, and, shortly, Taiwan Chinese editions.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Maine DEP weakens, endorses disclosure rule for toxic phthalates

For those following Maine's ahead-of-the-curve effort to regulate toxic chemicals in consumer products, I have an update in yesterday's Portland Press Herald.

Regular readers will recall "Lobbyist in the Henhouse", an award-winning investigative report published in 2013 that revealed that the state's commissioner for environmental protection, Patricia Aho, a longtime corporate lobbyist, had been strangling many of the laws she'd unsuccessfully fought against on behalf of her clients, including the Kid Safe Products Act, disliked by chemical manufacturers.

Aho's DEP, compelled by activists' petitions to rule whether manufacturers of four phthalates will have to disclose which consumer products sold in Maine contain the substances, has endorsed a weakened rewrite of the rule that effectively excludes products likely to expose fetuses and pregnant women. Details in the story.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Talking American Nations with Monocle 24


While in Marrakesh for Atlantic Dialogues 2014, I sat down with Monocle editor Andrew Tuck to talk about the thesis laid out in American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America and why its essential for foreigners seeking to understand the United States.

That interview airs during the current edition of "The Urbanist" on Monocle 24, the magazine's radio arm. It's available online here; my conversation with Tuck begins at almost precisely 0:35.

I also have an essay in Monocle's recently released Forecast publication for 2015. It's not available online, but here's a preview of the edition, which is currently on newsstands in Britain and the capitals and airports of at least several global cities.

Thanks to Monocle for their interest.




Saturday, January 10, 2015

Maine DEP, headed by chemical lobbyist, to rule on chemical disclosures

In today's Portland Press Herald, I have an update on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and its handling of the execution of a law designed to protect babies and children from toxic chemicals.

Regular readers will recall "Lobbyist in the Henhouse", an award-winning investigative report published in 2013 that revealed that DEP commissioner Patricia Aho, a longtime corporate lobbyist, had been strangling many of the laws she'd unsuccessfully fought against on behalf of her clients, including the Kid Safe Products Act, disliked by chemical manufacturers.

Now Aho's DEP must rule whether manufacturers of four phthalates will have to disclose which consumer products sold in Maine contain the substances. Details herein.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Times-Record profile



Thanks to the Times Record, my nearly hometown paper in Brunswick, Maine, for this kind profile of what has, admittedly, been a pretty good couple of years.

Which reminds me: this blog kicked off five years ago tomorrow, with this brief posting from Iceland, where I was covering the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse for the Christian Science Monitor and Chronicle of Higher Education. I'm not surprised that the country has bounced back so well.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gotham is Dutch: my take in The Monocle


For those of you in the United Kingdom, I have an essay in The Monocle's "Forecast" edition on New York City and how its having been founded by the Dutch has determined so much about the city it has become and will continue to be. It's an idea developed further in American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, a book that should have a U.K. edition but, alas, doesn't (though the U.S. one can be bought from Amazon.uk.)

There's no digital tease or online version, bless their hearts, beyond this little bit on the issue, so you'll have to actually get it in the newsstands.





Monday, December 15, 2014

When the Wabanaki ruled the waves...with European vessels

In this week's Maine Sunday Telegram you'll find my piece on a little-known aspect of early American colonial history: the dominance of the Gulf of Maine and the nearshore waters of the Maritimes by the region's native inhabitants, the Wabanaki, who include the Micmac, Passamaquoddy, Penobscots, and other nations.

The fascinating element: that the very first explorers in the Gulf of Maine encountered Indians using captured European sailing vessels with great skill, and that later colonial fishermen and mariners would find themselves on the losing end of maritime raids by Indians using both native and European vessels.

The essay is occasioned by a new and somewhat flawed academic paper in the Journal of American History -- one that tries to place the Wabanaki story within the "hot" academic field of Atlantic World studies, arguing that the tribes had geopolitical ambitions to block the creation of the British mercantile world. As you'll see in the piece, that's rather a stretch, but the topic at hand is a fascinating one.