Robin Winks – my mentor!
My principal writing interests focus on a spectrum of subjects, ranging from topics relating to the history of espionage; the relationship of treason, loyalty and dissent; national identity; the history of the American West and the preservation and interpretation of Canadian and American national parks and historic sites. I’ve written biographies on two accused Soviet spies – Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White – but I have also have written on history and heritage and the way that it is discussed and interpreted in both the American and Canadian national park systems. I am now beginning to venture into the genres of historical fiction and scriptwriting.
For those who don’t know me very well, this seems a curious juxtaposition of interests. However, it is principally due to the influence of one of my mentors, professor Robin Winks — the American academic, historian, diplomat, and writer. Our interests and personalities meshed during the period that I worked in Washington, D.C., on historical, cultural and archival issues. To my knowledge, no one else writing today shares quite the same eclectic mix of personal and academic interests as Winks did then, and as I do today. Based upon principles of Robin’s tutelage, I have tried to instill my writings and my research with the same literary vigor and devotion to the interpretation of fact and historical truth as did he.
Fortunately, as an independent scholar who teaches only on a part-time basis (and mainly for the love of it), I haven’t had to worry or be limited to what I say in my writings for fear of losing my job or not gaining tenure at some university for advancing a controversial position. This has enabled me to write what I truly believe, based upon where the facts have taken me. As a consequence, some of my writings and views indeed have generated controversy. I’m proud to have earned the distinction of having my views on Cold War espionage attacked by those of both the political Left and Right!
Today, as a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, I am in the unique position of claiming a loyalty to both the American flag and the British monarchy. This unusual circumstance has given me a different perspective when it comes to thinking and writing on topics relating to treason, loyalty, political dissent, and national identity.