Books

SEALAND: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WORLD’S MOST STUBBORN MICRONATION AND ITS ECCENTRIC ROYAL FAMILY
To be published on June 9, 2020 by Diversion Books in the US and September in the UK by Icon Books

In 1967, retired army major and self-made millionaire Paddy Roy Bates cemented his family’s place in the history books when he inaugurated himself King of the Principality of Sealand, dwarf-sized dominion of the high seas. And so began the peculiar story of the world’s most stubborn micronation on a World War II anti-aircraft gun platform off the coast of England.

Sealand is the raucous tale of how a rogue, larger-than-life adventurer seized the disused Maunsell Sea Fort from a group of pirate radio broadcasters, settled his eccentric family on it, and defended their tiny kingdom from UK government officials and armed mercenaries for half a century. Incorporating original interviews with surviving members of the principality’s royal family, Dylan Taylor-Lehman recounts the riveting battles and schemes as Paddy and his crew engaged with diplomats, entertained illegal pirate radio and TV broadcasting, and even thwarted an attempted coup that saw the Prince Regent taken hostage. Incredibly, more than fifty years later, the self-proclaimed independent nation still stands—replete with its own constitution, national flag and anthem, currency, and passports—and offers the esteemed titles of “Lord” or “Lady” to its loyal patrons.

Complete with rare, vintage photographs of the Bates clan and their unusual enterprises, this definitive, stranger-than-fiction account of a dissident family and their outrageous attempt to build a sovereign kingdom on an isolated platform in freezing waters is the stuff of legend.

An excerpt from the book was published by Narratively and can be found here.

The book can be preordered here!

DANCE OF THE TRUSTEES: ON THE ASTONISHING CONCERNS OF A SMALL OHIO TOWNSHIP
Published July 31, 2018 by Trillium Press, an imprint of The Ohio State University Press

On September 9, 2015, in the quirky village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, the Miami Township Board of Trustees arbitrated a dispute concerning an area bed and breakfast that was apparently causing a lot of problems in the neighborhood where it was located. People were irate – the B&B was considered too loud or unfairly under attack, and the township officials were called incompetent by both sides for not ruling in their favor. The trustees looked amused, concerned, interested, annoyed, and baffled at the situation before them.

But this quaint debate was one of many fascinating problems the trustees deal with on a daily basis. While Miami Township is small, the concerns are myriad – cemeteries are filled with unknown remains, there is a fire department to oversee, and they sometimes take legal action against properties clogged with junk. The responsibilities are doubly impressive considering no trustees have backgrounds in public office.

This book combines entertaining nonfiction vignettes with well-researched township history – including its history of religious cults and the possibility that Lee Harvey Oswald was once in town – and elucidates the processes behind an entire civic division. The book documents 21st century township life with humor, warmth and erudition, but also with the scholarship befitting an easy to read civics textbook.

Until I figure out how to build a shopping cart for this site, the book can be purchased here!

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