THOMAS FLEMING, RIP

On July 25, the historian and novelist and historian Thomas Fleming died at the age of 90. He was a wroking writer, the author of 23 novels, including the bestselling The Officers’ Wives and 25 books on American history, including the widely acclaimed account of the Burr Hamilton conflict, Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America, and a book about the First World War that I much admired, The Illusion of Victory, America in World War I. I met Mr. Fleming through our mutual friend Derek Alger. In October 2008, the three of us had lunch at a place on the east side. Tom regaled us with stories about J.D. Salinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Margaret Truman, among others, and told me that during teh sixties, the Hearst Corporation was very close to starting a magazine to compete with Playboy. As we were leaving, Tom paid me a terrific compliment by comparing me to his first boss, Fulton Ousler, the author of The Greatest Story Ever Told, and like me, a native Baltimorean, and like me, a journalist. Tom said “You’re like Fulton. You are a magazine man.” I then went back to my office. Within the hour, I was lid off, a magazine man nevermore.

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