Unveiling history through novel writing

Unveiling history through novel writing

After Frank Amoroso retired from law, he and his best friend, Nelson Johnson, the author of “Boardwalk Empire,” were sitting in Johnson’s house talking about books and writing.

Amoroso said he was admiring Johnson’s mantle, which held eight copies of “Boardwalk Empire” in different languages, when he began thinking about writing his own book.

Johnson told Amoroso that his strong writing background from his law career would help him write a book, Amoroso said.

At first, Amoroso said, he wasn’t sure about it, but eventually came around to the idea and published his first book, and then two more.

On Oct. 6, Amoroso, who is originally from Garden City but now lives in North Carolina, held a book signing and a Q&A at the Dolphin Bookshop & Cafe  in Port Washington for his book “Dread the Fed,” a historical novel “with a narrative with flesh and blood characters,” he said.

“The book signing went especially well,” Amoroso said. “The room was filled and I got to talk a lot about the book and showed a slide show presentation that put together the origins of the Fed and the perfect crime.”

Amoroso’s book chronicles the battle for control over the country’s money in the early part of the 20th century, and Rep. Charles A. Lindbergh Sr.’s quest to “save the dollar from the diabolical clutches of the money trust,” he said.

While he was sitting in a lecture hall two years ago listening to a speech on the Federal Reserve, Amoroso said, someone in the audience asked who owned the Federal Reserve.

“Immediately, I thought to myself: what a silly question — of course it’s the United States,” he said. “Then, the lecturer said 12 privately owned banks that are locally controlled owned the Fed. I felt stupid.”

After the lecture, Amoroso said, he went home and began reading about and researching the Fed and discovered information on Lindbergh, crimes that were committed and laws passed during President Woodrow Wilson’s administration.

“It was really interesting stuff, and I didn’t have to interview anyone,” he said. “I just read for most of the information, specifically books and articles and biographies of certain people mentioned in the book. It was an easy process.”

Amoroso, who grew up on the North Shore of Long Island,  practiced law for 30 years and credits his legal writing as the “foundation” of his novel writing.

“I’ve written extensively my entire life,” Amoroso said. “As a lawyer, you’re writing about facts and cases, and in fiction you’re concentrating on the imagination, so I had to adopt historical fiction writing. But writing is extremely liberating and it was such a good feeling.”

In 2014, Amoroso published his first book, “Behind Every Great Fortune: The Oheka Chronicles,” a historical novel about Long Island’s Oheka Castle and Otto Kahn, the man responsible for building it.

As a companion to his first book, Amoroso wrote “Behind Every Great Recipe: From Latkes to Vodkas & Beets to Meats,” a cookbook with references to food history.

Amoroso said completing his first book was a liberating experience.

“There’s a study that says one percent of people who start writing a book complete it,” Amoroso said. “So it’s a real feeling of accomplishment to create and express myself artistically through these great stories that not many people know of.”

Currently, Amoroso is working on a book about Babe Ruth’s relationship with his father.

“Not many people know this, but Babe’s father died nine days before the 1918 World Series when Ruth was a 23-year-old pitcher with Boston,” Amoroso said. “The book is going to be about their relationship, but also have subplots about German-Americans and the bombing of a federal building.”

The book will be part of a three-part series about Ruth, he said.

“It’s just another story that hasn’t been told,” he said.

By Stephen Romano

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