Killing Shrubs & Hunting Bugs

book, non-fiction, historical memoir, seeking publisher


The Barberry Eradication Campaign, a widespread national plan to destroy the common barberry bush in an effort to reduce the spread of crop rust, began in 1918 as an unprecedented collaboration between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and thirteen individual state agricultural departments. When all done, some 500 million bushes would be destroyed in the U.S. In 1962, my father joined the USDA and was one of the last “barberry men” to engage in this ongoing project.

Killing Shrubs & Hunting Bugs  is a book providing two perspectives: one is a that of one man’s boots-on-the-ground experience as a USDA field worker during the shifting environmental and social norms of the 1960s. The second is a historical explanation of this amazing and largely forgotten chapter of American history.

With never-published, original photographs from the 1960s, Killing Shrubs & Hunting Bugs provides an in-depth and intensely documented look at a remarkable and at times unbelievable period of American history.

NOTE: While currently under review by a potential publisher, no contract has yet been signed or offer extended. Please contact me for details.

1920s ink blotter for Barberry Eradication Campaign
An antique ink blotter from the 1920s in my collection highlighting the Barberry Eradication Campaign


Some sidetracks on my journey.

Thought Bubbling, Volume One

Self-published collection of humor essays from 2011. Essays were written previously as part of a blog experiment called Thought Bubbling, an observational humor blog. Here I I was able to muse on work coffee cups, children’s logic, and why cavemen don’t have ghosts. 

Thought Bubbling, Volume One



Collecting Without Clutter

Collecting Without Clutter: How to Experience the Joy of Collecting While Remaining Organized and Clutter Free, self-published in 2018. This micro-book non-fiction did what it said, but its short length and lack of photos ultimately minimized its usefulness. I pulled  it, but it has solid advice and could easily have been expanded into a full-length book.

Collecting Without Clutter




Environmental Activism

Yours truly at the U.S. Senate as part of a coalition with the American Sustainable Business Council. We met with senators about, you guessed it, sustainable business. I was doing writing and research for an organics product company at the time. I actually met with senators including Chuck Schumer instead of their interns, which is unusual. I suspect this was in no small part due to a certain member of our little group of ten, actress Jessica Alba (featured center). I’m the one in the frumpy suit next to documentary maker Ed Brown in the red shirt. I am in much better shape now.