PRLog - Oct. 5, 2012 - SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Thousand Oaks, CA -- THE BALLAD OF BILLY LEE: THE STORY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON’S FAVORITE SLAVE by award-winning author Len Lamensdorf has been published by SeaScape Press Ltd. as an ebook and will be followed by the printed version on November 30. It is an important work with an introduction by Joseph J. Ellis, a Note from Ron Chernow, and a section devoted to comments of Mary Thompson, research historian at Mount Vernon.
The “poignant untold story” is of Billy Lee, an African-American slave who was at George Washington’s side for over thirty years. Though never a relationship between equals, it was an intimate and enduring connection.
A superb horseman, bold soldier and a literate aide, Billy Lee stood next to Washington when he crossed the Delaware, galloped at Washington’s side in battle—a slave armed with a pistol, carbine and spyglass—served with him in Valley Forge and through the difficult years to the final victory at Yorktown. He was responsible for Washington’s public and private papers at conventions and congresses, but Billy was a slave, always hoping to be freed, and his slavery cost him the love of his life. Yet his loyalty to Washington was unwavering.
Len Lamensdorf’s novel, based on his one-man play of the same name, is a unique and remarkable “buddy” story which delves into the quest for freedom, from the tyranny of England to the chains of slavery. THE BALLAD OF BILLY LEE carefully weaves the history of the American revolution with the personal story of Washington’s rise to power and Billy Lee’s exciting but difficult life as a slave and as Washington’s right-hand-man. Writing to Lamensdorf after watching the play version of The Ballad of Billy Lee, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Chernow noted: “You have done a beautiful job of coaxing [Billy Lee] out into the sunlight and giving him the attention that he most assuredly deserves. My sincere congratulations. . . I share your strongly held view that it would be wonderful if more Americans were acquainted with the remarkable Billy Lee.”
Although this is a novel, Lamensdorf sought to insure that the historical tapestry on which it is weaved is extremely accurate, to the point of sending the manuscript to several historical sources for review, hence the section addressing comments from Mary Thompson at Mount Vernon.
THE BALLAD OF BILLY LEE is also unique because it includes an extensive timeline, original images, a bibliography, an afterword with insight into where the author deviated from history and why, and list of internet links to videos and other media sources.
About the author:
Len Lamensdorf’s writing credits include 8 novels, a feature film and 3 produced plays, including the acclaimed stage version of The Ballad of Billy Lee. His novels have been published by Simon Schuster, Delacorte and SeaScape Press, and have won a gold and a silver Benjamin Franklin Award, three Ippy’s (Independent Publishers Award) and A ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year--plus for his Young Adult trilogy, a Children’s Choice Award from the International Reading Association and the Children’s Book Council. Len was an honors graduate of the University of Chicago College and Law School (Law Review Editor) and completed his post-graduate work at Harvard. He studied playwriting at UCLA with Kenneth Macgowan, original producer of Eugene O’Neill and Chairman of the UCLA School of Theater Arts. Len’s film projects include Cornbread, Earl & Me, nominee for 5 NCAAP Image awards, casting Oscar and Emmy nominated Laurence Fishburne III in his first film role.