‘Scoundrels’ Can Be Overlooked in the History Books

WESTFIELD-For history buffs who especially love a great “scoundrel,” Martin Henley invites you to join him this week as he revisits five key figures in American history.

Martin Henley will discuss his book, "Scoundrels Who Made America Great," this week at the Westfield Senior Center.

Martin Henley will discuss his book, “Scoundrels Who Made America Great,” this week at the Westfield Senior Center.

Henley’s presentation on his book, “Scoundrels Who Made America Great,” is planned Oct. 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Novel Ideas Book Group gathering at the Westfield Senior Center on Noble Street.

Liz Boucher coordinates the logistics for the book group that meets monthly, discusses the selection, and chooses a book for the following month.

“Having the author in is a special event for the group,” said Tina Gorman, executive director, Westfield Council on Aging.

During a recent interview at Blue Umbrella Books at 2 Main St., Henley said his hour-long talk will show how retrospective history provides a clear understanding how each individual made a significant contribution to this country. “Scoundrels” featured in his book include Anne Hutchinson, the Puritan “Jezebel,” Benedict Arnold, America’s most notorious traitor, John Brown, the violent abolitionist, Iva Toguri, the infamous “Tokyo Rose” of World War II, and Clarence Gideon, four-time felon, who challenged the Supreme Court from his prison cell.

Henley said his presentation will present some teasers about each individual, and he expects to elaborate more on Toguri.

“I hope to have an open discussion too with the readers and am interested in questions they may have about these individuals,” he said.

Henley said his book is an easy read and “brings history to life.”scoundrels-book-cover

“The book is very interesting to anyone who has an appreciation of American history,” he said. “History is made with great stories about important American citizens who made significant contributions that are overlooked.”

Henley will also conduct a book signing following the presentation. “Scoundrels” is priced at $17.99 for the soft cover and $35.95 for the hard cover. He also has an e-book available for $8.99.

On a related note, Henley will host a book discussion on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at Blue Umbrella Books on “Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution” by Nathaniel Philbrick. For details, visit www.blueumbrellabooks.com.

Now in retirement after a 31-year career at Westfield State University where he served as director of special education programs, chairman of the university honors program, and chairman of the Education Department, Henley continues to teach on-line courses at Westfield State. Also, he administers the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education elementary education programs.

The narrative non-fiction “Scoundrels” is Henley’s first history book.

“If you like an underdog, you will love this book,” said Henley.

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