After Episcopal

Four Alumni Publish Books

David Opie ’86 is out with his second picture book as an author-illustrator — “All the Fish in the World,” a delightful tour of the exotic shapes, sizes, and colors of the more than 33,000 species of fish that swim in our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Leading this adventure are Trout and Mudskipper, who are awed by a variety that includes a fish that is “longer than a school bus” (the whale shark) and one “that grows only as long as the word ‘fish’ on this page” (the stout flouter). This is a follow-up to Opie’s “All the Birds in the World,” which Publishers Weekly praised for its “fantastical compilations of birds common and rare.”
Ty Seidule, son of longtime EHS faculty member Jim Seidule, has written “Robert E. Lee and Me,” which mixes historical research and autobiography to document his break with a lifetime fealty to the idea that the Confederate general was a gallant and principled hero. Seidule, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general and emeritus professor of history at West Point, revered Lee as a boy and into adulthood, in part because Lost Cause culture flourished in his surroundings — in Alexandria, on the Episcopal grounds where he spent time as a child, as an undergraduate at Washington and Lee University, and then at West Point itself. His research, however, found that worship of the Confederacy can’t be separated from slavery’s violence and the years of lynching, terror, and subjugation that followed the Civil War for Black Americans.
Dr. William Thomas ’82, a historian at the University of Nebraska, has published a widely acclaimed American Revolution-to-Civil War history of legal efforts by enslaved families to win their freedom. Thomas focuses “A Question of Freedom” on Washington, D.C., and Maryland and writes deeply personal portraits of generations of families who took to the courts to battle — and sometimes beat — landholders and officials committed to their enslavement. Thousands of such lawsuits were filed, becoming what Thomas calls “a public counterpart of the Underground Railroad.” The Washington Post called his book “gripping” and says it puts to rest the lie of the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision’s argument that the Constitution did not grant citizenship or legal protections to Black individuals, whether free or enslaved.

Blake Miller ’95 recently published his second book, “Delos: The White Tree,” available on Amazon. In Miller’s words, the book is “fantasy based in reality” and geared toward young adults. His protagonists, twins Cynthia and Kayden, attend Vanguard High, an Alexandria boarding school based loosely on The Holy Hill, and the book follows their adventures into the world of magic. Miller prefers to base his stories in concrete settings that his readers will recognize — despite the fantastical elements. “This world is one doorway away from what we know,” he says. “When you feel like you’re there with them, I feel like I’ve done my job.” Miller is at work on the second installment of the Delos series.