Hearn, Chester G. 1932-
Hearn, Chester G. 1932-
Born March 7, 1932, in Erie, PA; son of Chester G., Jr. (a banking executive) and Esther L. (a homemaker) Hearn; married S. Ann (a homemaker), June 1, 1955; children: Wendy Hearn-Holthaus, Chester G. IV. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Allegheny College, B.A., 1954. Religion: Presbyterian. Hobbies and other interests: Military history, competitive swimming.
Home and office—Erie, PA.
Combustion Engineering, Muncy, PA, vice president for manufacturing, 1973-90; Consultant for Philip A. Crosby Associates, Inc., 1990-93. Young Men's Christian Association of Milton, PA, past president of board of directors. Military service: U.S. Army, 1954-56.
Gray Raiders of the Sea, McGraw (Camden, ME), 1992.
Mobile Bay and the Mobile Campaign, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1993.
George Washington's Schooners: The First American Navy, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1995.
When the Devil Came down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1997.
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut: The Civil War Years, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 1997.
Safe in the Arms of Jesus: The Life of Fanny Crosby, Christian Literature Crusade (Fort Washington, PA), 1998.
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2000.
Ellet's Command: "The Strangest Outfit of All," Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2000.
Naval Battles of the Civil War, Salamander (London, England), 2000.
The American Soldier in World War II, MBI Publishing (Osceola, WI), 2000.
An Illustrated History of the U.S. Navy, Crysalis Books (London, England), 2002.
The Illustrated Directory of the U.S. Marine Corps, Salamander (London, England), 2003.
Sorties into Hell: The Hidden War on Chichi Jima, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2003.
Circuits in the Sea: The Men, the Ships, and the Atlantic Cable, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2004.
Carriers in Combat: The Air War at Sea, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2005.
Spies & Espionage: A Directory, Thunder Bay Press (San Diego, CA), 2006.
Army: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Army from 1775 to the 21st Century, Zenith Press (St. Paul, MN), 2006.
Navy: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Navy from 1775 to the 21st Century, Zenith Press (St. Paul, MN), 2007.
Marines: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Marine Corps from 1775 to the 21st Century, Zenith Press (St. Paul, MN), 2007.
Contributor to magazines, including Blue and Gray, Civil War Times, Valley, North and South, and Naval History.
Chester G. Hearn is the author of books on various aspects of the American Civil War and naval history. To quote Jeff Seiken in Civil War History, Hearn's "resumé insofar as the Civil War is concerned leaves little to question." Seiken went on to note that Hearn's books are "gracefully written and based on a thorough sifting of published and manuscript sources." In a Historian review of Six Years of Hell: Harpers Ferry during the Civil War, Steven E. Woodworth declared that Hearn "presents a number of good stories that shed more light on some events of the Civil War than has previously been done." Booklist contributor Margaret Flanagan, in a review of The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, likewise concluded that Hearn's work provides "a timely and insightful reconsideration of a painful episode in the history of the U.S."
In When the Devil Came down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans, Hearn takes a look at Ben Butler, an American lawyer, general, and politician who is notorious for his reign in New Orleans after his army occupied the city during the American Civil War. In Michael D. Pierson's review of the book for H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, he noted that "while Hearn's discussion of Butler's life and career before and after New Orleans can be hasty and sensationalized, he assesses Butler's rule over New Orleans fairly and without obvious biases. That is no small accomplishment, especially while succeeding in maintaining the pace and style of good, popular historical writing."
Another one of Hearn's books, Circuits in the Sea: The Men, the Ships, and the Atlantic Cable, tells the story of one of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements of the nineteenth century—the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable between the U.S. and Europe over almost two thousand miles of deep ocean, which was successfully executed a little over a decade after the first attempt in the summer of 1857. This account is told from the perspective of Cyrus W. Field, an American businessman and entrepreneur whose determination helped drive the project to fruition despite several mishaps and disappointments along the way. In order to write this account, Hearn used records of mechanical and electrical engineers, correspondents, and others who lived during the laying of the cable, as well as Field's papers in the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress. According to the Historian's R. Angus Buchanan, "there is nothing particularly new in Hearn's account of the project, but the story is well told, providing the basic technical details in a heroic narrative of one of the greatest adventures of modern science and technology." Journal of College Science Teaching's Charles K. Jervis believed that "this volume is most appropriate for the college classroom. It clearly illustrates the dynamic balance between science, technology, and society, and how developments in one influence applications in the other."
Hearn has also written several histories of the American military, such as his 2005 book Carriers in Combat: The Air War at Sea. This book covers the period from World War I to the present, and looks at the development of naval aircraft carriers in regards to combat and defense requirements, aircraft, and air tactics. His 2006 book, Spies & Espionage: A Directory, is a collection of profiles of more than one hundred of the most notorious spies in history. The book also includes photos and illustrations of the spies and the secrets they acquired. Also published in 2006, Army: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Army from 1775 to the 21st Century offers a comprehensive, visual combat history of the U.S. Army from the American Revolution to modern times, including dramatic paintings, action photos, and battle maps. Following the same principle is his 2007 book, Navy: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Navy from 1775 to the 21st Century.
Hearn once told CA: "As a youngster, I developed a serious interest in military and naval history, and this continued throughout my working career. By the time I began to think about retirement, I had accumulated a library of about fifteen hundred volumes, mostly on the Civil War period, and I began looking for niches to write about. Although I had written and published several articles, I never considered them as having the same value or importance to readers as a properly researched and documented work.
"My first book, Gray Raiders of the Sea, covered the history of the Confederacy's eight high-seas raiders, which virtually destroyed the American carrying trade during the Civil War. In writing it, I became interested in both Mobile Bay and New Orleans. This led to two other books.
"When compiling research for almost any event in the Civil War, a writer quickly learns that one subject opens the door to other subjects. Once you begin, there is almost no end to it. I am often working on two books simultaneously, and when on the road doing research, I collect all kinds of documents that may apply to a future effort. The hardest part of the task is locating new material. I always do this because it adds history and enhances the theme, often adding color in a form that can be enjoyed by the reader. I work every day, and I always enjoy it."
Hearn added: "I write to learn, because I believe you cannot understand a subject until you write about it. In writing, the understanding of one subject opens the doors to others, and those that capture my interest I write about. I draft rather quickly while accumulating research, and then I restructure the draft, applying the research—gather more, and continue the process until it meets my expectations."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2000, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, p. 2104; November 1, 2004, George Cohen, review of Circuits in the Sea: The Men, the Ships, and the Atlantic Cable, p. 448.
California Bookwatch, February, 2007, review of Army: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Army from 1775 to the 21st Century.
Civil War History, March, 1999, Jeff Seiken, review of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut: The Civil War Years, p. 74; March, 1999, A. Cash Koeniger, review of Six Years of Hell: Harpers Ferry during the Civil War, p. 91.
Esprit De Corps, June, 2007, review of Spies & Espionage: A Directory, p. 46.
Historian, fall, 1997, Jeff Seiken, review of George Washington's Schooners: The First American Navy, p. 131; spring, 2001, Steven E. Woodworth, review of Six Years of Hell, p. 644; fall, 2006, R. Angus Buchanan, review of Circuits in the Sea.
Internet Bookwatch, July, 2007, review of Navy: An Illustrated History: The U.S. Navy from 1775 to the 21st Century.
Journal of College Science Teaching, November 1, 2005, Charles K. Jervis, review of Circuits in the Sea, p. 51.
Reference & Research Book News, February, 2006, review of Carriers in Combat: The Air War at Sea.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (December, 1997), Michael D. Pierson, review of When the Devil Came down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans.