We like our heroes to wear white hats and our villains to wear black. Scoundrels Who Made America Great takes a fresh view of heroism by using a dramatic event in the life of each -scoundrel- to illustrate how disreputable labels can obscure heroic deeds.
-Some of them are household names. Others have been forgotten till now. Some are villains who turned out to be heroes. Others are heroes who proved to be all too human. They are The Scoundrels. And Martin Henley has brought them to life in a vividly-written volume that overflows with surprising stories, little-known facts, and the pure drama of history. Enjoy.-
--William Martin, New York Times Bestselling author of The Lost Constitution and The Lincoln Letter
-By showing that the meanings assigned to the actions of prominent historical figures by contemporaries as well as future generations can fluctuate dramatically, Martin Henley's book inspires readers to reflect on the very nature of history. It helps them to understand that both scoundrels and heroes are made by their deeds as much as by the collective memory that shifts with time and place.-
--Michal Rozbicki, Professor of History, St. Louis University
-With the rigorous research of a scholar and the superb story-telling skills of a novelist, Martin Henley has penned a wonderful book about five historical -scoundrels- who, upon further reading, were not the dreadful miscreants all of us have been led to believe. -Scoundrels who Made America Great- is a highly readable and truly enlightening slice of hidden history.-
--Ronald E. Yates, Dean Emeritus, College of Media Studies, University of Illinois. Bestselling author of Finding Billy Battles
About the author
Martin Henley was born in New London, Connecticut where his father, John, served as an instructor at the Coast Guard Academy. After World War II his family moved to Syracuse, New York. He and his siblings Judy and John grew up in a middle-class Irish and Italian neighborhood during what today sometimes seems like the “idyllic” 1950’s.
In 1966 he graduated from the State University at Oswego, N.Y. with a B.A. in history. Subsequently, Henley joined the Navy and served in Vietnam aboard an ammunition ship, U.S.S Mauna Loa. After an honorable discharge, he taught in urban schools for several years. His passion for teaching inner-city youth led him to a federally funded M.Ed. program for teaching disadvantaged students. After graduation from Syracuse University, he taught special education for two years. Administrative positions followed, first as a Head Start Director and then principal of an inclusive school for students with autism.
After earning a Ph.D. in special education, he accepted a tenure-track position at Westfield State University, Westfield, Massachusetts. During his 31 years at Westfield State, he served as director of special education programs, head of the university honors program, and chairman of the Education Department. He retired in 2009 as professor emeritus, and since that time he continues to teach online courses at WSU on classroom management and special education. Although he has authored several books about teaching at-risk youth, the narrative non-fiction Scoundrels Who Made America Great is his first history book.
He resides in Westfield, Massachusetts with his partner Patricia Montagna. His daughter, Margaret, a social worker lives nearby. Presently, he is researching and writing a new book: Champlain – The Lake that Shaped a Nation.