Michael's writing career began as an editor of the Pepperdine Law Review. He came to believe that behind the cold sterile facts of every reported court case lies a human interest story - and the basis, perhaps, of compelling nonfiction. Through the years he has nurtured the idea of relating real-life yet engaging histories that prompt the reader to ask, "Why haven't I ever heard of this story..."
THIS NOBLE WOMAN
Myrtilla MIner and her Fight to Establish a School for African American Girls in the Slaveholding South
Chicago Review Press
Publication Date: August 1, 2018
"We all know teachers can change the world. But Myrtilla Miner took it to an extreme, facing down danger and fighting through obstacles to build her school. This is a truly inspiring story."
— Steve Sheinkin, author of Bomb, Most Dangerous, and The Port Chicago, 50.
Frederick Douglass dismissed Myrtilla’s plan to open a school for African American girls in the slaveholding South as “reckless, almost to the point of madness.” But Myrtilla Miner, the daughter of poor white farmers in Madison County, New York, was relentless. Fueled by an unyielding feminist conviction, and against a tide of hostility, on December 3, 1851, the fiery educator and abolitionist opened the School for Colored Girls—the only school in Washington, DC, dedicated to training African American students to be teachers.
Although often in poor health, Myrtilla was a fierce advocate for her school, fending off numerous attacks, including stonings, arson, and physical threats, and discouraged local “rowdies” by brandishing her revolver with open displays of target practice. The school would gradually gain national fame and stimulate a nationwide debate on the education of black people. Myrtilla’s School for Colored Girls would slowly flourish through the years and its mission exists even today through the University of the District of Columbia.
THE COURT-MARTIAL OF PAUL REVERE
A Son of Liberty and America’s Forgotten Military Disaster
ForeEdge, An Imprint of University Press of New England
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
"Michael M. Greenburg’s deeply researched, riveting account of the Battle of Penobscot Bay is hard to put down. It sheds important new light on a little understood episode of the American Revolution, and on the character of Paul Revere, one of America’s more complex, iconic heroes."
— George C. Daughan, author of 1812: The Navy’s War and The Shining Sea
A lively exploration of Paul Revere's only military service during the Revolution -- a major but disastrous episode in his life
At the height of the American Revolution in 1779, Massachusetts launched the Penobscot Expedition, a massive military and naval undertaking designed to keep the British out of the strategically important coast of Maine. What should have been an easy victory for the larger American force quickly disintegrated into a quagmire of arguing, disobedience, and failed strategy. In the end, not only did the British retain their position, but the entire flotilla of American vessels was lost in what became the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor.
In the inevitable finger-pointing that followed the debacle, the already-famous Lieutenant Colonel Paul Revere, commissioned as the expedition’s artillery commander, was shockingly charged by fellow officers with neglect of duty, disobeying orders, and cowardice. Though not formally condemned by the court of inquiry, rumors still swirled around Boston as to his role in the disaster, and so the fiery Revere spent the next several years of his life pursuing a court-martial to resuscitate the one thing he valued above all—his reputation.
The single event defining Revere to this day is his ride from Charlestown to Lexington on the night of April 18, 1775, made famous by Longfellow’s poem of 1860. This is the first book to give a full account of Revere’s conduct before, during, and after the disastrous Penobscot Expedition, and of his very low reputation at the time, which only Longfellow’s poem 80 years later could rehabilitate. With extensive research and riveting narrative that brings the battles and courtroom drama to life, The Court Martial of Paul Revere strips away the myths that surround the Sons of Liberty and reveals the humanity beneath. It is a must-read for anyone who yearns to better understand our country's early days.
THE MAD BOMBER OF NEW YORK
The Extraordinary True Story of the Manhunt that Paralyzed a City
Union Square Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
"A Unique trip into the heart of the decades-long investigation to find the mystery man who held New York City in his deadly grip, and into the mind of a psychopath bent on revenge - no matter the cost. An excellent read!."
— Clint Van Zandt, former FBI Profiler, NBC/MSNBC's senior criminal analyst, and author of, Facing Down Evil: Life on the Edge as an FBI Hostage Negotiator
It was an evening rush hour in Penn Station, just like any other. Bustling commuters pushed and jostled past one another as newspaper vendors hawked their evening sheets. Suddenly, an explosion shook the building, blowing a two inch hole in a concrete wall and sending clouds of smoke billowing through the lower level of the terminal. As the dust settled and the investigation began, police detectives were certain of one thing: The Mad Bomber had struck again.
That explosion, on January 11, 1955, involved just one of the thirty-three meticulously assembled devices that would appear in some of the most populous areas of New York City—including Grand Central Terminal, Radio City Music Hall, and Macy’s—from 1940 to 1956. The notes the bomber left in the wake of his destructive deeds revealed no lofty social goals or political objectives, no broad civic message or popular agenda, no demands for extorted money, and no pleasure from the indiscriminate injury that he had caused. He simply held a grudge—a grudge fueled by a simmering anger that targeted in its crosshairs the bewildered citizens of New York.
The Mad Bomber’s reign of terror paralyzed New York City and sent shockwaves of panic throughout the rest of the country. With bombs left in phone booths, storage lockers, public restrooms and even movie theaters (where seat upholstery was sliced open and the explosive slid inside), people were terrified to be in communal spaces. Shoppers steered clear of department stores. Parents kept their teenagers home from the movies. Simply venturing out into public meant the possibility of crossing paths with a mad man.
Against mounting pressure to capture the culprit, the NYPD—having exhausted their leads,—finally called in a little-known crime psychiatrist to assist in the frantic search. The clock was ticking. Would they be able to find the perpetrator before the next bomb exploded?
With chilling parallels to today’s domestic terrorist attempts, The Mad Bomber of New York offers a riveting look at a psychotic mind and the men and methods used to apprehend him.
PEACHES & DADDY
A Story of the Roaring 20s, the Birth of Tabloid Media, & the Courtship that Captured the Heart and Imagination of the American Public
Publication Date: October 2, 2008
"Greenburg artfully transports us to a fascinating time when the world went mad and lets us spy on a naughty society surprisingly like our own."
— Deborah Davis author of, Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X
One commentator described it this way: “They were the most celebrated, if comic, couple of their oddity-obsessed times: He, a flamboyant multimillionaire named Edward West Browning, also known as ‘The Cinderella Man’ for his proclivity for lifting pretty, young girls into the lap of luxury; She, baby-faced Frances Heenan, young enough to be his granddaughter, and digging for his gold.”
“Peaches,” as he would later call her, and “Daddy,” as he had come to be known, met at a high school sorority dance in 1926. He was 51 and she was 15. Thirty-seven days later they were married, and 296 days after that they would begin a legal battle for separation that would cast their tempestuous drama into a national scandal, and forever change the American moral compass.
Peaches and Daddy historically recounts the improbable romance, marriage and ultimate legal battle for separation of this publicity craving Manhattan couple in America’s “Era of Wonderful Nonsense.” Their story is one of dysfunction and remarkable excess, yet at the time, the lurid details of their brief courtship and marriage captured the imagination of the American public like no other story of its day. The prurient nature of their saga propelled them into the headlines and the bylines of the nation’s tabloid press for a brief moment in time, but their legacy is one of an enduring contribution to the cultural landscape of a turbulent country.