June 22, 2011
About the Blog
Past Imperfect is history with all the interesting bits left in. It’s a blog about the larger than life and the strange but true; about memorable names and faces, times and places, told with passion and precision. We don’t expect the blog to have too many limits-we plan to take you to the furthest reaches of the Pacific and deep into the Russian taiga as often as we tour through Europe, Mexico or Muscovy-but we do promise to put down firm roots in the history of these United States.
What unites us is a love of original research, a fascination with hidden history and with colorful characters-oh, and the firm belief that even the staidest portions of the past have their fascinating side. Join us while we prove our point.
About the Authors
Karen Abbott was born and raised in Philadelphia, where she worked as a journalist covering everything from Kobe Bryant’s rookie year to then-U.S. Senator Arlen Specter’s conspiracy theories to the fighting techniques of teenage girl gangs. A search for an ancestor who went missing in 1905 led her to write Sin in the Second City, which became a New York Times bestseller. She’s preferred the past ever since, and is currently obsessed with the Civil War, researching the lives of four women who risked everything for their causes. Her favorite historical tales feature dark characters with dubious intentions: crooked politicians, greedy entrepreneurs, underworld thugs, spies and anyone who is not quite what he or she seems.
Mike Dash read history at the University of Cambridge but abandoned thoughts of a life in academe to write a series of heavily researched popular histories. So far he’s published seven books and written on the Dutch tulip mania, New York lowlife and Indian strangling gangs. His Batavia’s Graveyard, an international bestseller, tells the story of what was surely the world’s bloodiest and strangest mutiny. Mike’s also the author of the award-winning blog A Blast From the Past (which is how we found him and which contains more of the sort of stories he’ll be writing here). He says the history that he likes best is the stuff that no one else is interested in. He’ll never knuckle down to Washington or Henry VIII if he can curl up with an odd old book about a forgotten island or social banditry in Brazil.
Gilbert King is a New York writer and photographer who is just as likely to be found taking pictures of models and celebrities as he is at the Library of Congress, combing through dusty records and files of crumpled carbon paper that haven’t seen the light of day in sixty years. With a passion for reinvestigating decades-old but mostly forgotten civil rights crimes of the century, Gilbert sees himself as part detective, part author, hell-bent on uncovering “what really happened” at a time in American history when the truth was often swept under the rug. He also wants to entertain. His last book, The Execution of Willie Francis, was described by one reviewer as, “strangely charming and unforgettable,” which is pretty much the tone of what Gilbert hopes to bring to his stories here.
Follow Gilbert on Twitter: @Gilbert_King