For forty years, I have been a professional magazine editor, freelance writer, and book author. I’ve started six magazines (city, regional, and national), was editor-in-chief of five inflight magazines, and was director of communications for AAA Colorado. Throughout my career, I have had to convey complex issues in clear, compelling, and engaging ways that attract and hold the interest of general readers.
Evidence of my success in these efforts includes the national recognition of two of my books: My co-authored men’s health book, Facing Your Fifties, was included as one of only three health books in Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2002; and Behind the Lines was included in Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014. The Kirkus Starred Review included two quotes that are directly relevant to the Public Scholar Program’s stated goal of funding projects by authors who can reach general audiences. One states, “Miller writes that his goal was to write for people ‘who never read history books’; he accomplishes that splendidly, while also creating a work that scholars will admire.” And, “An excellent history book that should catapult Miller to the top tier of popular historians.” Additionally, Behind the Lines was a finalist in the history category of Foreword Reviews’ international Indie Book of the Year 2014 Awards, which included eight other history finalists that were from university presses.
My passion for this CRB topic began when I learned about the CRB and Belgium from my grandfather, Milton Brown, who had been a CRB delegate, and from my grandmother, Erica Bunge Brown, who was a 22-year-old Belgian in 1914. When they died, I inherited their diaries, journals, correspondence, and photographs from those times.
During my research and writing of Behind the Lines, I relied on English translations of documents because I do not read German or Flemish (a Dutch derivative spoken in northern Belgium), and have only a cursory knowledge of French. I used standard scholarly procedures that I learned while earning a BA in history from the University of Denver, and from the previous research and writing of my first book, Stapleton International Airport: The First Fifty Years (Pruett Publishing, Boulder, 1983), which was described as “entertaining, informative, and pertinent” by Dr. H. Lee Scamehorn, professor of history at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in a 1984 review published in the Colorado Historical Society’s magazine.
My scholarship is best represented by my work on Behind the Lines. I spent three full-time years researching and writing, including multiple trips to the Hoover Institution at Stanford, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa, and the libraries of Princeton University. I’ve studied and/or collected the papers from more than fifty CRB delegates, as well as more than a hundred primary books and thousands of pages of primary source documents and letters related to World War I, the CRB, and Belgium. My indexing of materials has produced a card catalogue of 2,000 index cards and more than 500 pages of typed notes. Behind the Lines has six published pages of sources and 1,000 endnotes that fill twenty-eight published pages. (Behind the Lines was self-published because no traditional publisher could have completed it in 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.)
My work has also been supported by scholars who have read Behind the Lines. Matthew T. Schaefer, the archivist at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, invited me to be one of four historians to speak at a one-day symposium on Hoover and the CRB. Dr. Branden Little, a well-respected humanitarian relief scholar and professor at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, agreed to write the foreword to Behind the Lines. And Dr. George H. Nash, an eminent scholar and biographer of Herbert Hoover, agreed to be one of my two references for this application (the other is Dr. Little).