The Harford County Public Library Foundation hosted a crowd of nearly 200 guests on Friday, April 19 for its annual A Night Out @ the Library fundraiser. Attendees enjoyed lite fare, cocktails and the opportunity to hear and meet renowned military history author Jeff Shaara.
"It was a phenomenal evening!" Kay Deitz, local Realtor with Garceau Realty and a sponsor of the event, said. "Mr. Shaara is able to present history in a way that the general public can enjoy and relate to. I found him fascinating."
Shaara's novels about the Civil War, the American Revolution and World Wars I and II have been met with acclaim. He was approached to write his first book, "Gods and Generals," after the death of his father, Michael Shaara, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning "The Killer Angels." "Gods and Generals" was a prequel to his father's work and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 15 weeks. Over the last decade, Shaara has written 11 historical war novels that have made the New York Times bestseller list.
"We were honored to host Mr. Shaara for our annual A Night Out @ the Library event," Amber C. Shrodes, director of the Harford County Public Library Foundation, said. "His extensive knowledge, easy demeanor and enthusiasm for the subject were inspiring. He is a master storyteller."
Shaara shared stories about growing up, his father and his unique journey that led him to a career in writing. In addition, he discussed his new series, which marks a return to the Civil War. The first volume, "A Blaze of Glory," was released in May 2012, and made its debut at #7 on the New York Times bestseller list. The book recounts the Battle of Shiloh and was released to coincide with the 150th anniversary year of that momentous event.
"I read Jeff Shaara's father's book "Killer Angels" 30 years ago and I thought his presentation tonight was fantastic," stated Ray VanPelt, an attendee and retired army officer. "I have gained a great appreciation of the writing process. Mr. Shaara is a humble man and it was nice to see him continuing the legacy of his father."
According to Dave Patzer, Harford County Public Library Foundation president, the event had tremendous support from local sponsors. The event sponsors included MediaWise Inc., the Kelly Group, Kay Deitz/Garceau Realty, The Aegis, Harford's Heart, Two Brothers Moving, the Jarrettsville Friends, COPT, PNC Bank, Pamela Kaste, the Kinsley Foundation, Mary and Mark Hastler, Lynne and Mark Degen, Mathew and Beth Hendrix, the Carroll Men's Club, Kathy and Robert Wajer, Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union, the Bel Air Friends, Mark Welsh/BB&T Bank, Jarrettsville Creamery and Deli, BottleWorks, Coffee Coffee and WOLO Food Truck and Catering. Proceeds support a vast array of initiatives, including the Library's early literacy program, the annual summer reading program and Little Leapers – a new STEM initiative.
Prior to the A Night Out @ the Library event, Shaara attended a luncheon hosted by Harford County Executive David Craig and Library Director Mary Hastler at Tudor Hall, the childhood home of John Wilkes Booth. Curtis and Kimberly Coon won the luncheon at the Library's Annual Gala in November. Representatives from the Spirits of Tudor Hall and Harford County Historical Society were on hand to lead tours of the estate and serve as docents to Divided Allegiance: The Booths of Tudor Hall exhibition, which went on display at the Abingdon library May 4. The lunch was catered by WOLO Food Truck.
Shaara's next three works will feature Vicksburg and the final campaigns of Sherman through the end of the war in the Carolinas. These volumes will be released in 2013, 2014 and 2015. "A Chain of Thunder" is due for release next month.
Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches throughout Harford County, Maryland. The library serves more than 175,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of 4.5 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting a love of reading within the community.
The Harford County Public Library Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization established to raise funds to augment the financial resources of the library and to promote awareness of Library services. More information may be found at hcplonline.org.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun