Blaine B. Taylor, an author, editor, perennial political candidate, decorated Vietnam War veteran and longtime Towson gadfly, died April 5 of complications from a stroke at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. He was 74.
“Blaine was a student of history, very intelligent, stylish and quirky,” said longtime friend 5th District Republican Baltimore County Councilman David S. Marks. “He had a deep love for history and politics.”
Blaine Bruce Taylor, son of Raymond Bernard Taylor, a streetcar conductor, and his wife, Sarah Mildred Taylor, was born in Washington and raised in Waverly.
He attended Calvert Hall College High School and Towson High School.
Mr. Taylor enlisted in the Army in 1966 and served as a military police officer in Vietnam with the elite 199th Light Infantry Brigade, participating in intense combat. Among his 12 decorations were the Combat Infantryman Badge.
After being discharged, he returned to Baltimore and earned his General Educational Development diploma and then a bachelor’s degree in history from what is now Towson University.
“We met at Towson because we were both involved with student government, political campaigns, and we both loved history,” said Jacob J. Mohorovic Jr., Mr. Taylor’s personal representative. “And we’ve kept in touch through the years and became good friends. He was a successful guy who wanted to help people, and he always tried to reach for the truth.”
From 1991 to 1992, Mr. Taylor was press secretary to Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, a Republican, and he had been “press secretary for four successful political campaigns: Maryland House of Delegates, 1974; Maryland Senate, 1978; Baltimore county executive, 1990; Maryland presidential primary, 1992,” The Sun reported in 2006, when he was a candidate for U.S. Senate.
His peripatetic career included stints as a TV and cable host; in radio, advertising, public relations, newspaper reporting, freelance writing and copy editing; and as an author.
He was an assistant editor at Baltimore magazine and was managing editor and production editor for three medical publications “at one time,” he wrote in an autobiographical sketch.
But Mr. Taylor really hit his stride in the 23 books he wrote, many of which described facets of Nazi Germany, often focusing on military vehicles, and biographies of Albert Speer and Fritz Todt in “Hitler’s Engineers: Master Builders of the Third Reich.”
He also wrote about such Nazi figures as Hermann Goering in ”Beer Hall Putsch to Blood Purge 1919-1934” or Eva Braun, Hitler’s lover and finally wife, in “Mrs. Adolf Hitler: The Eva Braun Photograph Albums.” In 2014, he published “Kaiser Bill! A New Look at Germany’s Last Emperor Wilhelm II 1859-1941.”
His non-Nazi books included “Reich Rails: Royal Prussia, Imperial Germany and the First World War 1824-1918,” “Dallas 50 Years On: The Murder of John F. Kennedy: A New Look at an Old Crime, 22 November 1963-2013,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Bobby! From Robert F. Kennedy to RFK 1925-1968: A Life on the Way to Death — and Beyond.”
He wrote about the birth of the Volkswagen — the affordable “People’s Car” — that came along during the Hitler years, and in “Apex of Glory: Benz, Daimler & Mercedes-Benz 1885-1955,” a paean to possibly the world’s most fabled motorcars, which when it was published in 2006, weighed 4 pounds and included 450 photographs.
“They exude prestige. They’re the top of the line. It’s good, solid workmanship. You buy it for life,” he explained in a Sun interview in 2006. “The wealthy always buy Mercedes.”
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He said in the interview that in addition to the Kaiser, Hitler and his cronies were steady customers of Mercedes-Benz and that the Nazi dictator amassed a personal fleet of 200 parade cars and limousines.
“Hitler purchased top-of-the-line models because he used them in PR gigs to impress the electorate with the invulnerability of his Germany,” Mr. Taylor said. He also revealed that Hitler did not know how to drive a car and left that chore to others.
At his death, Mr. Taylor was working on his 24th book, “Rudolf Hess: Hitler’s Winged Parsifal.”
Mr. Taylor was a familiar figure at Towson Town Center, where he could be seen busily writing at a table in the food court, a few blocks from his home at the Hampton House on East Joppa Road in Towson.
“You could always spot him on the street because he was wearing a bright yellow windbreaker,” Mr. Marks said.
Graveside services for Mr. Taylor will be held at 1 p.m. May 19 at the Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery, 11301 Crain Highway, Cheltenham.
There are no close survivors. In addition to Mr. Mohorovic, he is survived by another longtime friend, Doris Kropp of Towson. Two marriages ended in divorce.
This article has been updated. An earlier version gave an incorrect age.