This week on Q&A, our guest is Michael Hill, author of "Elihu Washburne: The Diary and Letters of America's Minister to France During the Siege and Commune of Paris." Mr. Hill reflects on his early career in politics and the transition he made into independent research. He talks about the 20 year partnership he has developed with author David McCullough and the various books he has researched for him. He details the research he did for a wide variety of other authors including Evan Thomas, Nathaniel Philbrick, Jon Meacham and Michael Korda, to name a few. Hill’s own book introduces us to Elihu Washburne, the American ambassador to France whose private diary entries and correspondences provide a window into life in 19th century France during the Siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, as well as the Paris Commune that followed. Washburne remained in Paris after the outbreak of war with Prussia despite being given the opportunity to leave, an opportunity almost every other foreign minister in the city had taken. Hill also tells of how Washburne and his son Gratiot helped Americans in Paris escape through the siege lines and how Washburne helped protect Prussian civilians in the city.
Michael Hill earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Kent State University, his JD from the University of Akron School of Law, and a Master of Public Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He then became an independent researcher. He has worked for authors including David McCullough, Evan Thomas, Jon Meacham, Nathaniel Philbrick, Michael Beschloss, Jeff Shesol, Michael Korda, and Dorie McCullough Lawson. He is the co-author of “Will the Gentleman Yield?” with Bill Hogan. “Elihu Washburne” is his second book. Hill is married and lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.