Napoleon Bonaparte once said that “history is written by the winners.” Often what we think is history is not. Facts can be manipulated to make individuals, or a group of people look like heroes. In the past, text books taught us to believe in a history where the Native Americans were always the bad guys bent on doing evil to the innocent settlers. The Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock and made friends with the natives. Columbus discovered America. An altruistic Abraham Lincoln freed the poor slaves and instantly made life better for Black people.
Then came the backlash. The cowboys became the villains. The Puritans were hypocrites. Columbus should have stayed home. And slavery still existed, just in a different form.
The truth depends on who is telling the story.
Chicago History in Fiction and Non-Fiction is a program where historian Joe Rulli and Science Fiction author Steve Bellinger join forces to look at historical research in non-fiction and fiction in order to tell a fuller, more objective story of past events – a sort of “History Nerd meets Sci-Fi Geek” to plead for reason and objectivity instead of playing the blame game when dealing with contemporary issues.
In this 60-minute presentation, Rulli and Bellinger discuss their books; including an historical account of the Haymarket Riot where actual court transcripts were used to piece together the facts, and a time travel novel that uses little known true events to tell the story. Then they examine the concept of “false facts,” and give recommendations on how to deal with questionable news online.
Chicago History in Fiction and Non-Fiction has been presented in several venues including:
Chicago Public Library Edgewater Branch
Oak Park Public Library
Evanston Pubic Library
Barnes and Noble DePaul Center
Museums at Lisle Station Park
Joseph Rulli is the author of The Chicago Haymarket Affair (The History Press, 2016), a more objective look at the events surrounding the Haymarket Riot of 1886, using actual court transcripts and other reliable sources. His second work, Chicago Socialism: The People’s History (The History Press, 2019), the first comprehensive history of Socialism in the Windy City, Rulli examines major events in Chicago socialism through the largely unchronicled lives of the Chicago citizens who experienced them. In his latest book, Chicago Marching: A History of Protest, Authority, and Violence (The History Press, 2023), he studies several pivotal events in the city since its earliest major uprising to showcase the “what ifs” of history in order to blaze new paths for contemporary citizens (and potential leaders) to walk. He also has a satirical novel in print, Bread & Circuses (Shy City House, 2021).
Steve Bellinger’s debut novel The Chronocar – An Urban Adventure In Time (2nd ed. Wordwooze Publishing, 2019) is multiple award-winning time travel story that begins with the son of a slave and includes the bloody Red Summer Riot of 1919 in Chicago. This and his subsequent novels Edge of Perception – A Paranormal Science Fiction Love Story, (Wordwooze, 2019), e-Pocalypse – The Digital Dystopia Is Coming , (Wordwooze, 2020) and Time Waits for No One – The Chronocar Chronicles, (Wordwooze, 2020) all take place in Chicago and required a great deal of historical research. He has also produced original radio drama and has worked in the computer technology industry for 40 years as a programmer, web designer, and an instructor.
|“Steve and Joe illustrated the way history can be connected to our present and how today affects how we look at yesterday. Their talk was lively and interesting and their books are a welcome addition to your library shelves.”
—Joanna Hazelden-Chicago Public Library
“Steve Bellinger and Joe Rulli took a unique approach in presenting “History in Fiction and Non- Fiction” at the Oak Park Public Library. Both are experienced writers and presenters. I can highly recommend their informative program.”
—Debby Preiser, Community Relations Coordinator, Oak Park Public Library
“Joe Rulli and Steve Bellinger combine a thoughtful and energetic discussion of real historical events with a classic science fiction style that bridges the gap between science and history in this engaging presentation.”
– Ethan Peterman, The Museums at Lisle Station Park
Contact Joe or Steve to have Chicago History in Fiction and Non-Fiction presented at your venue. The program is free.
Yes, I would like more information about Chicago History in Fiction and Non Fiction! The program is free!*
* Copies of our books will be available for sale at the end of the program.