Getting personal: Maj. Andrew English
November 6, 2008
Maj. Andrew English, an intelligence specialist at RAF Molesworth, recently released his third self-published book, "Ringside at Richburg," chronicling America’s last, great bare-knuckle boxing championship in Mississippi on July 8, 1888.
Why did you choose to write about this fight?
Most people who know anything about the history of sport, know of this fight. They know of it, they don’t know the full details of it. … It’s a story that’s never been told. … It’s a snapshot, if you will, of the 19th century at that moment in time. … It was called the "Fight of the Era." … Something told me, "I’ve got to tell the story."
Are you a boxing fan?
Not really. I am somewhat. I am a historian, an amateur historian, I might add. I like a great story.
What is it about this story that speaks to people beyond the sporting world?
It is the average person stepping up to the challenge, whatever that challenge may be, and just going into it. Just sluggin’ it out. …
Are you making any money as a self-published author?
The whole idea is to make enough money to pay for it. … You might spend $8,000 to publish a book and it takes a long time to get your money back. Having said that, why do I do it? Because the stories are too good not to tell.
What’s your best piece of advice for other burgeoning writers?
How good is your story? If it’s a story you’re excited to tell, it’s a story other people are going to want to read. …
This is your third historical nonfiction book. What are the other two about?
My second book, which I’m very proud of, is the story of a ship during the American Civil War. … The first book was a history of [Hattiesburg, Miss.], because I grew up with a lot of oral history. … Reportedly my hometown is one of the birthplaces of rock ’n’ roll. … I was interested in the place I grew up. I always wanted to leave it, and I’m glad I left to go explore the world, but there is history on everyone’s doorstep, and it’s just a matter of threading it together.
What’s your favorite period in time?
I would have to say the mid-1800s. … The full stride of the Industrial Revolution period. It was just a really vibrant time.