Tuesday, June 19, 7:00pm Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)
James Anderson O'Neal presents Riley and the Great War
“Riley was my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was born on May 6, 1898. He died on October 18, 1993. Every day in between, he was a tough son of a bitch.”
Quiet, intense, and deadly, Riley is fated never to live the respectable life he convinces himself he craves. Smart, witty, and cocky, Cornelius fancies himself a lover, though he’s actually a bit of a bastard. Together, they’re a force to be reckoned with — assuming they’re telling the truth. Their grandson Jim is tasked with digging out the truth in Cornelius’ memoirs, with color commentary from Riley. The problem is that the two old friends are the biggest liars of the Twentieth Century.
Their adventures span the era of American predominance in a pre-global world, a world still often savage and brutal, where torturers and fascists see no impediments to glory. From the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Riley and Cornelius find themselves linked to many of the great events of the Twentieth Century.
George Patton takes them to meet Pancho Villa. Winston Churchill dines with them. A mysterious secret agent targets them, forcing one to spy on Rosa Luxemburg and the other into a fixed boxing match refereed by a young fascist with a Charlie Chaplin mustache. Codebreakers, torturers, soldiers, lovers, even a dachshund and a tiger — all of these figure into their adventures.
If you believe them, that is.
James Anderson O’Neal enjoyed a long career as a trial lawyer based in Minneapolis at the Faegre Baker Daniels firm. His courtroom successes won him recognition as a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Now retired from his practice, O’Neal serves as the Vice Chair of the Advocates for Human Rights, a globally-focused non-profit that implements international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. Along with the Riley series, O’Neal is writing a novel set in Liberia, inspired by his human rights work there. He and his wife Sally split their time between the Twin Cities and Lake Vermilion, Minnesota.