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October 18, 2002

Biography of Diplomat and Confederate Journalist John Moncure Daniel to be Featured at 'Books & Beyond' Presentation Nov. 18

Peter Bridges will discuss his new book, "Pen of Fire" (Kent State University Press, 2002), the first full-length biography of Confederate champion John Moncure Daniel, at the Library of Congress at noon, Monday, Nov. 18, in Dining Room A, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E. in Washington, D.C.

Part of the Center for the Book's Books & Beyond author series, the program is co-sponsored with the Newspaper Section of the Library's Serial and Government Publications Division. It is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

During his short and stormy life, John Moncure Daniel (1825-1865) served as a U.S. diplomat (American envoy to the kingdom of Sardinia at Turin), journalist, Confederate officer and the "conscience of the Confederacy." Strongly pro-slavery, fiercely loyal to the cause of the South, and outspoken, he made many enemies. As editor of Richmond's Examiner, he pushed successfully for the secession of Virginia (leaving the newspaper twice to serve in the Confederate army) and attacked Jefferson Davis as timid, incompetent and corrupt. Daniel fought several duels and died in Richmond in March 1865 after being wounded in 1864 in a duel with the Treasurer of the Confederacy, E.C. Elmore.

Writer and lecturer Peter Bridges is a former Foreign Service officer who served in American embassies in Panama, Moscow, Prague, Rome and Mogadishu. His final government position was that of U.S. ambassador to Somalia, 1984-1986. His first book, "Safirka: An American Envoy" (Kent State University Press, 2000), recounts his experiences as ambassador in Mogadishu. For research about John Moncure Daniel, Bridges was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship by the Virginia Historical Society. Bridges did a considerable amount of research for "Pen of Fire" in the Library of Congress, particularly in the newspaper collection.

The Library's newspaper collection, located in the Serials and Government Publications Division, includes more than one million unbound pieces, 33,000 bound volumes, and 500,000 microfilm reels. Newspapers of the Civil War era are one of its special strengths.

The Center for the Book was established in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its program and publications and the activities of its national and statewide affiliates, see its Web site: www.loc.gov/cfbook.

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PR 02-150
10/18/02
ISSN 0731-3527

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