Oct 11, 2020
Anyone attempting to invade Long Island Sound at the turn of the last century would have faced a gantlet of artillery guns mounted in forts across the islands that stretch from Orient Point to the Rhode Island coast. With little actual chance of invasion, the men manning these forts had few diversions to choose from: baseball, drinking, or ruining a man's career.
On today's episode, we speak with Marian E. Lindberg. Her new book, Scandal on Plum Island: A Commander Becomes the Accused, focuses on the court martial of Major Benjamin Koehler. Accused by a number of his men of immoral conduct, Koehler faced trial on the island in 1914. Compared by some contemporaries to the Dreyfus Affair, Koehler's case reveals much about the military's emerging views of homosexuality and the developing norms of masculinity in America.
You'll hear about Marian's research process, her interactions with Koehler's descendants, and her thoughts on preserving Plum Island and Koehler's legacy.