History Comes to Life!

"If you enjoy the writing style of David McCullough, then this is an author you will especially enjoy. Excellent reading!"

"Carmicheal's engaging writing style brings history to life, drawing the reader in and moving the true-to-history plot forward like a good novel!"



Last Mission of the Monuments Men: Rescuing Europe's treasures from America.

Only $0.99 at Amazon (for Kindle)>>>

They had battled across Europe to rescue the Western world's greatest cultural treasures from the Nazis. Now they had one mission left: rescue those treasures from the Americans.

TAGS: Monuments Men, Looted Art, Art History, World War II


Superior! The USS Superior and America's First Arms Race, 1814.

Paperback: $16.99 from Amazon.com >>>
Paperback: $14.99 from Lulu.com >>>
Kindle version: $6.99 >>>

136 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-9882705-0-3

On a moonless night in April 1814, three open boats felt their way across the frigid waters of Black River Bay at the eastern end of Lake Ontario. Furtively they snaked past guard boats and small ice floes that still snarled the harbor. They were on a dangerous mission: to bring fire into the belly of the U.S. Navy’s stronghold at Sackets Harbor, New York. British Admiral Sir James Yeo hoped to cripple the American Navy with a single thrust to the heart; to destroy the one ship that could pitch the balance of naval power back to America once more, the USS Superior. Read More>>>

I had a hard time putting this book down. While I was already somewhat familiar with different aspects of the War of 1812, I was pretty ignorant of the role played by the Navy on Lake Ontario. Couching the history in terms that we can easily identify with helped bring this to life. Who would have thought that an arms race was going on between the US and Canada (& England) at the time. Recommended reading for anyone interested in US history! (Amazon reviewer)

TAGS: War of 1812, USS Superior, Sackets Harbor, Battle of Sandy Creek, Daniel Appling


Last Mission of the Monuments Men: Rescuing Europe's treasures from America.

Only $0.99 at Amazon (for Kindle)>>>

They had battled across Europe to rescue the Western world's greatest cultural treasures from the Nazis. Now they had one mission left: rescue those treasures from the Americans.

TAGS: Monuments Men, Looted Art, Art History, World War II


To Hold, Teach, or Defend: Napoleon plunders the secrets of Galileo's trial.

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For a solid year the caravan of wagons teetered over the narrow mountain road. Tall stacks of wooden chests bound tight with iron bands lurched in each wagon bed as it pitched over the rutted road. Every hairpin turn threatened to upend the horses, struggling to pull their priceless cargo over the Alps to Paris. Eventually 3,239 chests of plunder from the Vatican's Secret Archives were delivered to Napoleon Bonaparte. Among the thousands of items was one small book of particular importance: the transcripts of Galileo's trials before the Inquisitions of 1616 and 1633. In them the Emperor uncovered a secret that had been hidden for 200 years.

TAGS: Galileo, Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius VII, heresy, Vatican Secret Archives


Tour de Force: The nomadic journey of America’s most famous document.

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If George Washington hadn’t promoted Horatio Gates to Major General we might never have known how hard Thomas Jefferson labored to write the Declaration of Independence. That promotion set off the events that led to a remarkable discovery in 1947. But Jefferson’s immortal creation almost didn’t survive the ‘care’ it received from its guardians. The Declaration traveled a winding and treacherous road to its present-day shrine at the National Archives.

TAGS: Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, National Archives, Library of Congress, American Revolution, American History


Treasures from Aladdin's Cave: The knowledge of Africa emerges from underground.

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The English began looking for the fabled city in 1788, but for forty years every European who reached it paid with his life. Timbuktu was taboo. No Christian could enter it and live. But still they tried. When Westerners finally reached it, the fabulous city was nothing more than a dirty collection of mud huts. Disappointed, they turned away without discovering its secrets—for Timbuktu's greatest treasure was not its gold but its documents, the secret deposit of centuries of African learning and knowledge. Most lay beneath the very feet of European treasure hunters, smuggled away centuries before and hidden in basements and caves. There they remained for centuries more, and when the secret trove began emerging in the twentieth century it revealed a startling history of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known.

TAGS: Timbuktu, Africa, History, West Africa, Sahara


Buy individual stories below, or get five stories in one package!

The first five Secrets From The Archives short stories are now available in one package:

  • The Miracle Letter
  • Proven to All the World
  • Reputation in Flames
  • The Most Important Book in America
  • Uncommon Descent

First 5 stories: Kindle version ($2.99)>>>


Uncommon Descent: Rediscovered Images of Humanity.

Only $0.99 at Amazon>>>

The images were discovered in an attic at Harvard, and they were so disturbing that some wondered whether they had been hidden there on purpose, to keep them from public view. One woman set out to uncover their secrets, unraveling the story of America's most famous scientist and his attempts to dehumanize the African race. Ironically, the images he created to bolster his case reflect instead the common humanity of all races.

TAGS: Louis Agassiz, slave photographs, special creation, Darwin, Evolution, Slavery, Civil War


The Most Important Book in America: The Exile of America's Chronicle.

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One of the tragic victims of the American Revolution was the most important book in America, lost amid the horrors and flame of war. As patriots struggled to rebuild their shattered country the loss of the book only added to their hatred of the British. But some secretly wondered whether the Americans themselves had accidentally destroyed the book. It would be nearly a century before they learned the startling answer.

TAGS: William Bradford, Bradford Journal, American History, Colonial


Reputation in Flames: A President Lost, Found, and Lost Again.

Only $0.99 at Amazon (for Kindle)>>>

In the days following the President’s sudden death his fiercely protective wife was determined to shield—and even recast—his reputation. Piece by piece she fed his personal letters to the flames, putting the secrets of his life beyond the reach of history. But one box of letters lay beyond her own reach—a box filled with revelations so startling that she longed to destroy it more than all the others. By the time it was discovered in 1964 the First Lady had been dead for forty years. Even then, though, her long shadow reached out and blotted the letters from public view after just one brief glimpse.

"If you enjoy the writing style of David McCullough, then this is an author you will especially enjoy. Mr. Carmicheal not only possesses a writing style that personalizes the character of the book as if you are observing the scene(s) in person, but also pulls out aspects in history that causes the reader to ponder long after the book is finished. Excellent reading!" (Amazon reviewer)

TAGS: Carrie Phillips, Warren G. Harding, Harding love letters, Presidents, World War One, Spies, American History


Proven to All the World: The Pewter Plate that Changed History

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It was a simple pewter plate, but it contained proof of an invention that had revolutionized our world. One man was determined to see that its inventor got the credit he deserved. But first he had to find the plate, which had disappeared in 1898. As Helmut Gernsheim closed in on the truth, though, he discovered that recovering the plate might not be enough: the evidence it contained had disappeared as well!

"I thought I knew something about the early days of photography, but this account deepened my understanding and taught me something new. Carmicheal's engaging writing style brings history to life, drawing the reader in and moving the true-to-history plot forward like a good novel. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the pieces in this series!" (Amazon reviewer)

TAGS: History of photography, Helmut Gernsheim, Photography


The Miracle Letter: A forgotten request unmasks a traitor and saves an innocent life in nineteenth-century France

Only $0.99 at Amazon (for Kindle)>>>

A chance encounter. A simple letter. A risky decision. Together they add up to one of history's most thrilling turning points. When an innocent man is accused of treason and exiled to Devil's Island, his accusers expect him to die and take their secret with him. But then a man discovers a forgotten letter and realizes the truth. Now he faces an agonizing decision: ignore the evidence buried in his files or risk his own future by exonerating the most hated man in France.

TAGS: Alfred Dreyfus, Dreyfus Affair, Bunau-Varilla, Devil's Island, European History, Antisemitism

Don't know much about Archives?

Do you remember the last scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Ark is shoved into place on a shelf in some vast room, never to be seen again (until it's needed for a sequel)? That's what most people think about archives: that they're dark, dusty places where records disappear into vast rooms, never to be heard from again. In fact (get ready to be disappointed), most archives I've ever visited (and I've visited a lot) are exceptionally clean, well-lighted, and very (very) organized.

So if archives are so all-fired organized, what's up with the "secrets from the archives" bit?

That's the fun part: Even in the best-organized archives it's easy to stumble on some long-forgotten document that solves an age-old mystery. Or creates one. The Library of Congress, after all, holds about 61,000,000 manuscripts (that's probably more than a billion pieces of paper, since most manuscripts aren't just one page). That's a lot to keep track of!

Archives take in lots and lots of records and it's impossible for anyone to look at all of them. A fragment of the original draft of the Declaration of Independence gets filed with routine correspondence, or a secret love letter gets tucked into an unrelated file, and slowly everyone forgets it's there (if anyone even knew it was there in the first place). After all, when you store (very neatly) that many records on the (well-organized) shelves, it's easy to forget what's in all of them. And then one day someone goes through the records looking for something and they stumble upon the long-forgotten document. Voila! Mystery solved—or mystery created.

My Favorite (old) Descriptions of Archives

One reason we think of archives as dusty, dark places is because many early ones (and maybe a few contemporary ones) were. I love to read old descriptions of archives and libraries around the world. As an archivist, they usually make me laugh—or cringe.

  • Added August 2011: From, The Library Journal (1885) - It is the condition of keepers of the archives, however, that provokes the jealousy of the writer… . Read More>>>
  • Added August 2011: From, European Archives (1902) - The public research-room in most archives is but small, and unannounced guests may embarrass… . Read More>>>
  • Added July 2011: From, A Reminiscence of Simancas (1926) - [F]ew are the searchers for the sources of Hispanic history who would venture upon a sojourn in what the Spaniards themselves describe as the "terror of archivists, a purgatory on earth but without the hope of salvation"… . Read More>>>
  • Added July 2011: From, Music Research in Italian Libraries: An Anecdotal Account of Obstacles and Discoveries (1949) - Rome can be one of the coldest places on earth, partly because the Romans continue to believe the myth that it doesn't get cold in south central Italy, and therefore make few if any provisions for heating … . Read More>>>


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