Historian Fred Johnson Authors
Novel "A Man Finds His Way"
Posted January 13, 2003
HOLLAND -- Dr. Fred L. Johnson III, assistant
professor of history at Hope College, is the author of "A
Man Finds His Way," published recently by One
World/Ballantine Books of New York City.
The book focuses on the personal and professional
challenges faced by Darius Collins, a history professor in
Cleveland, Ohio. Collins, who is African American, weathers
professional storms for opposing a university visit by a
controversial black activist who is also anti-semitic. A
divorced father who is struggling with the dating scene, he
faces an even greater challenge when his troubled teenage
son is accused of rape. Along the way, he reconnects with
spiritual roots that had been fostered in his youth by his
now-deceased minister father.
"Publishers Weekly" has noted that "A Man Finds
His Way" "offers a thoughtful take on some tough
contemporary issues in job politics and race relations," and
calls Collins "an intelligent, well-drawn protagonist with
believable strengths and flaws."
"A Man Finds His Way" is Johnson's second novel.
His first book, "Bittersweet," was published early in 2002,
and has received critical acclaim. "Essence" called
"Bittersweet" "a book to curl up with on a winter evening...
an appealing tale of sibling rivalry and revelry from a
Johnson joined the Hope faculty in the fall of
2000. His primary field is 19th century U.S. history,
specifically the Confederacy during the Civil War. Other
areas of study include the U.S. in the 20th century, the
U.S. military and Africa.
He is also revising his doctoral dissertation for
publication. Titled "The Tracks of War: Confederate Rail
Policy and the Struggle for the Baltimore & Ohio," it is a
case study of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad during the Civil
War to determine whether or not, or to what extent, the
Confederate government had a definitive strategy against it
and other United States railroads. He is also conducting
research for a book on the history of U.S. foreign policy in
East Africa since 1945, and is interested in writing a
biography of Henry O. Flipper, who was born a slave and in
1877 became the first black graduate of the United States
Military Academy at West Point.
Johnson grew up in the Washington, D.C., metro
area. He received his bachelor's degree from Bowie State
College in Maryland, and his master's and doctorate from
Kent State University in Ohio. His past career experiences
include serving as a corporate trainer and as an officer in
the U.S. Marine Corps.
Johnson's community involvement includes serving
on the board of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.
"A Man Finds His Way" is available in hardcover,
and retails for $23.95. Copies are available at the
college's Hope-Geneva Bookstore and other area booksellers.