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Howard Hughes bio published

March 24, 2020 3 comments

Hughes_book_cover

The revised and expanded edition of my Howard Hughes biography was released March 11th. The title is Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia, and Palace Intrigue. The publisher is University of Nevada Press.

I am proud of the book, which is longer and better than the first edition, which was published by Stephens Press in 2008. I added 29,000 words, and improved and updated the original 100,000.

Obviously this is a difficult time to promote the book. But I’ve been doing some great radio interviews. Most notably, I recently had the opportunity to talk about the book for two hours on “Coast to Coast AM,” which has a massive audience across North America. (Thank you to longtime friend and colleague George Knapp, who hosts the show once a month, for inviting me.)

Hughes was a fascinating character, and his story still resonates today on several fronts. I hope those who get and read the book enjoy it.

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Sel Raab, author of canonical Mafia history, speaks at Mob Museum

November 25, 2016 4 comments

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Sel Raab when he spoke at the Mob Museum earlier this month. A retired reporter, Raab’s career was highlighted by 25 years at the New York Times, where he became one of the country’s foremost authorities on the New York Mafia. His most well known book is Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires, which is required reading for anyone interested in mob history.

sel-raab-and-geoff-11-16

Selwyn Raab poses with Geoff Schumacher before he speaks at the Mob Museum on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Photo by Jerry Henkel)

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Mob Museum panel: What happened to Jimmy Hoffa

Hoffa panel 2015

Dan Moldea, Stan Hunterton, Scott Burnstein, Michael Green and Geoff Schumacher before a June 2015 panel discussion on Jimmy Hoffa at the Mob Museum.

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Panel discussion on the Bugsy Siegel murder

Geoff Schumacher, Larry Gragg and Warren Hull in the courtroom at the Mob Museum, March 24, 2015.

Geoff Schumacher, Larry Gragg and Warren Hull in the courtroom of the Mob Museum, March 24, 2015.

Great venue, interesting discussion.

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The first non-triple-digit summer day in a long time

August 3, 2014 6 comments

It’s not hot today. The high is supposed to be 84. There could be thunderstorms, although in Las Vegas that can mean you get a 30-second sprinkle and call it done.  This is the first time we’ve had a day like this in months. It’s been a hot, dry summer. This is not terribly unusual for Las Vegas, but it’s definitely a significant contrast with Iowa, where we were for three years previous. I don’t mind the heat, but I do mind the climatological monotony.

My work at the Mob Museum is going very well, but Las Vegas generally is not as hospitable as one would like. With the endless violence reported on the news, the ubiquitous homeless people approaching us in parking lots and the thoughtless and angry motorists on the streets, not to mention the recent report ranking Nevada 50th in education, we are less than impressed with our new-old home.

But summer is weird. Things might look better before too long. Fortunately, it’s that time of year when some things return to normal. In a week, our younger daughter will return to Iowa State University for the fall semester. In two weeks or so, our son-in-law will return to the classroom to teach eighth-graders. At month’s end, college and pro football will start their regular seasons. In mid-September, the fall TV season will kick off, bringing back a handful of shows we like. And by late September we might start feeling the first signs of fall.

Since I don’t blog that often, I should throw in a few updates:

– The Nevada sesquicentennial book launched in May with a great event at the Clark County Library. The book has been well received and is selling well. In fact, the first printing is nearly sold out. We’re not sure yet whether there will be a second printing.

– I wrote a long essay for this year’s Las Vegas Writes book. The book’s theme is “Lost and Found,” and I wrote about lost and found Nevada historical documents and artifacts. The book will debut at the Vegas Valley Book Festival in October.

– Speaking of the book festival, I am scheduled to participate in two panel discussions there, one on the Las Vegas Writes book and one on the Nevada sesquicentennial.

– I’ve been writing some essays and book reviews for Desert Companion, Nevada Public Radio’s monthly magazine. My old friends and colleagues Andrew Kiraly and Scott Dickensheets run that operation, and I enjoy writing for them.

– I recently completed a big project to rescue the Las Vegas CityLife and Las Vegas Mercury hard copy archives from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which wanted to dispose of them, and donate them to the Nevada State Museum. There were many car trips from the R-J to my house, where the 75 banker’s boxes of papers were stored in my garage, and then there were many more car trips from my house to the museum. Thanks to museum director Dennis McBride for taking an interest in preserving these publications.

Back to Las Vegas, in a very different line of work

March 6, 2014 3 comments

When I moved from Las Vegas to Ames, Iowa, three years ago, several people told me, “You’ll be back.” At the time I thought it was a rather presumptuous prediction, built on the idea that Las Vegas is such a desirable place to live that I would be disappointed anywhere else. But here I am, three years later, back in Las Vegas, and happy to be here.

After 25 years in the newspaper business, I have leaped into a whole new industry. I’m the director of content development for the Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas. Although museums are very different from newspapers, I think my skills and experience translate well into what I am doing now. I am working on a bunch of different things but they all revolve around history and storytelling.

I intend to continue writing books and articles, but my primary focus will be on contributing in whatever ways I can to improve and grow the museum. The possibilities are vast, exciting and daunting. There is no shortage of work to do and ideas to pursue.

I also hope to revive this blog a bit after a long period of inactivity.

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A Nevada sesquicentennial book update

October 16, 2013 2 comments

The designer, Sue Campbell, and I plan to send the book to the printer by mid-December. We are in the final stages now.  I received the first draft of the layout today, and now the work begins to refine the look, proof the text and finalize the photo selections.

The book will be released in late May. It’s being published by Stephens Press but it will be marketed and distributed by the University of Nevada Press.

“Nevada: 150 Years in the Silver State” is going to be a fine book. It will be thick — probably 288 pages in a small coffee table size.  More than 70 writers and about a dozen photographers have contributed to the book. Many well-known Nevada writers are represented.

We cover a lot of ground in the book but it is not a comprehensive history of the state. There is ample history but writing about contemporary Nevada is laced throughout the book as well. It should appeal to a wide audience. Although it can be read from front to back, it also can be enjoyed more selectively.

I’m excited about it, but I’ll be very happy when the work is done.