On Thursday evening, residents of Hawthorne, Glen Rock, and Fair Lawn, attended the Maurice Pine Fair Lawn Library to hear an entertaining and educational presentation by local author and historian John Van Vliet as he brought to life a vivid description of the British soldier during the Revolutionary War.

John arrived at the library dressed in the attire that was worn by a British officer, complete with musket, equipment, and bayonet. Needless to say, this caused quite a lot of attention as he entered the foyer! Clothed in the redcoats’ attire, this made for a rather dramatic entrance.

The presentation began with an outline of the role of the British soldier during the Revolutionary War.  Further into the lecture, John pointed out various little-known facts on this time period that we, as Americans, did not necessarily learn in school from our history books. For example, there is a shocking fact about George Washington revealed, (and no, it was not the myth of chopping down the cherry tree).  Other surprising facts were also revealed about Samuel Adams, the Minutemen, and other historical figures of the Revolution. Were they heroes or villains? Sorry for this teaser, but you’ll have to attend one of his performances to find out the true story, folks.

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Apparently there were many history buffs in the audience last night, and several reached out with thought provoking and intelligent questions at the Q and A period after the presentation. As a matter of fact, the show ran a bit overtime due to the interest shown by the audience. John was articulate and precise, and managed to answer every question with his vast knowledge and a good dose of humor.

After hearing John speak last evening, it is quite apparent that he has a great passion and love for the past, and enjoys sharing his expertise by educating adults and children.  In addition, we learned that he has also authored a series of historical fiction books which follows the exploits of an 18th Century British officer named Thornridge. While fiction, they lend themselves to be authentic to the times.

In 2006, Main Street Magazine dubbed John Van Vliet as “The International Man of History” on its cover, followed by an in depth interview by Albert Stampone.  John also recreates living history programs in meticulous detail for Ancient Rome, the Victorian era, World War 1, and World War 2.

All in all, a jolly good time was had by all, and we certainly look forward to more of John’s presentations in the future. Fascinating!

This show was sponsored by FirstLight Home Care of Bergen, Glen Rock, NJ, and coordinated with Leslie Kruegel, Head of Reference, Maurice Pine Fair Lawn Library.