Author, Speaker, Photographer

Books

Tom lectures and does videos and PowerPoint presentations for each book he has written. In addition, the following programs have been presented at libraries, organizations, schools and colleges:

1) Become A Stamp Collector

2) The Orphan Train Era (1853-1929)

3) Writing Articles For Fun & Profit

Call Tom at 845-300-4296 or send a message via the contact page if you or your organization would like to host a program.
You can order Tom’s books at: heritagebooks.com, Amazon.com, or by calling 1-800-876-6103.


The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus Pandemic and The 12 Deadliest Viruses on Earth

Tom Riley’s Power Point Presentation is in demand at libraries, colleges and senior centers. This informative presentation spends a lot of time on Covid-19 in all it ramifications. Viruses have been attacking mankind since time immemorial and have taken hundreds of millions of lives. The book is available from LGT Press for $20.00 and that includes postage. You can call LGT Press at 845-300-4296.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Great Hunger

The Great Hunger

THE GREAT HUNGER IN IRELAND (1845-1852) & ITS LEGACY IN AMERICA: THE ORPHAN TRAIN ERA (1853-1929)

Nothing happens in a vacuum, and the transfer of 273,000 children out of New York City by rail for 75 years was initiated by the Great Hunger in Ireland. Over 35,000 orphaned children were wandering the streets of NYC starving and suffering from open sores, abuse and delinquency. In an incredible intervention, Theodore Roosevelt Sr. rescued a young boy who was dying of pneumonia. He and a friend were lodging in a sewer pipe when Roosevelt rescued the boy, John Brady, and brought him to the Children’s Aid Society, which Roosevelt co-founded with Charles Loring Brace.

John Brady was sent on an Orphan Train with Andrew Horace Burke. Both boys rode an Orphan Train to Destiny as Andrew was to become Governor of North Dakota and John the Governor of Alaska for three terms. This historical fiction novel with illustrations and pictures is a rousing, action packed book that you won’t be able to put down. It’s a breathtaking novel covering a long expanse of Irish and American history.  You could say it’s a North Western with a twist.

 

The book is published by LGT Press.  It’s in color, 265 pages and is available for $24.00 including postage.  Please contact Tom via the contact page to order, or call LGT Press at 845-300-4296.

 

 


DNA Detectives

Many people in the past saw genealogists as studying old bones, searching for ancestry to fill out the Family Tree or for adoptees to locate their real parents. Now genealogists are in demand helping law enforcement to revolutionize criminology by cracking cold cases, freeing innocent people and bringing justice to families. When LA District Attorney, Paul Holes was tracking down the elusive Golden State Killer he asked Barbara Rae-Venter, an advanced genealogist, to assist him. Barbara connected him to a 3rd cousin, a retired Sacramento police officer whose DNA was found at the scene of several murders. The Golden State Killer had committed more than 50 rapes and 14 murders. Since Sir Alex Jeffery’s breakthrough research on DNA thousands of cold cases have been solved, many decades old. Genealogists are aiding law enforcement with their skill in locating familial connections.

To purchase this book, please contact the author via the contact page

 


 
 

We Deliver: A Chronicle of the Deeds Performed by the Men and Women of the U.S. Postal Service

This history of the postal service, from its inception over 6,000 years ago to the modern and efficient service we enjoy today, chronicles the deeds performed on and off the job by the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service. This tribute to the 790,000 men and women employed by the U.S. Postal Service includes stories about courage and kindness, heroism and humor.

Discussions include: how war in the Persian Gulf highlights the importance of mail, the need for communication felt by all societies, and the importance of postal services since their inception 6,000 years ago. Man’s ingenuity in transporting messages, how Rowland Hill’s reforms and contributions to postal operations bring speedier delivery and education to the masses, and The International Postal Congress Treaty are also discussed.

An overview of the historical developments covered in this book are as follows: the history and development of the U.S. Postal Service, including Ben Franklin’s contribution to postal service development in the U.S., the Civil War and postal service, the pony express, and the history of air mail. The U.S. Post Office undergoes an era of change: major accomplishments under reorganization, post offices and public art in the New Deal; the postal strike: workers risk it all in the historic 1971 strike, Nixon signs the Postal Reorganization Act, the strike brings changes to the National Association of Letter Carriers; stamp collecting, soliloquy of a postage stamp, stories behind the stamps, stuck on stamps, getting started, Baltic nations give significance to older issues; one man’s answer to a modern prayer — “to feed the hungry,” seeing invisible people, affordable housing and homelessness; carrier exploits on and off the job: a watchful carrier saves patron’s life, bringing relief to quake victims, Postal Walk benefits abused children, open house a grand success, human chain pulls boy from ice; the postal inspection service: protecting the work environment, forfeiture ($78 million returned to Postal Service from insider trading on Wall Street), internal audits, bombs in the mail, crime lab celebrates 50th anniversary; EARTH: Handle with Care: carriers make a difference on environmental issues, clearing the air, troubled waters, acid rain, leaky landfills, our disappearing rainforest; meet our former Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank: he cares about people and admires innovation, and he can handle the heat, too; privatization exposed: Canada’s privatized post office puts profit before service, franchise follies, the price of privatization, union busting; postal lore and trivia; automation, contracting out, barcoding (how private companies can save millions on their mailing cost), as deliverers of forty percent of the world’s mail, the U.S. leads in mail processing technology; understanding your post office and how your post office operates to serve you; postal kids news: stories for young children and the young at heart, things to do and build; and, how to apply for postal service employment. A glossary of U.S. postal terms, a list of postmaster generals of the United States, photographs and a bibliography enhance the text.

The History of Postal Services

Communication, the lifeblood of every society has undergone tremendous advances over the centuries. One of the earliest messages, as recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible, was transported by a dove to Noah in the form of an olive branch. Moses inscribed the Ten Commandments in stone tablets to stress their importance and to etch into the memory of his people lasting principles of human conduct. The Chinese developed a Post House Relay System that used mounted couriers to deliver messages on paper. The ancient Romans, Mayans, and Incas developed systems to relay messages. This very basic need to communicate over a long distance marks the advent of postal services.

The ingenuity of man in devising means to communicate over long distance is a tribute to the imagination of humankind. Dogs, cats, camels and reindeer were used at various times until technology improved to the point where steamships, railroads and airplanes aided communication. As faster means of communication were devised the postal service was quick to make use of them. Now computers, satellites and fax machines provide even faster means to communicate.

This fascinating history follows the evolution of the postal system from stone tablet etchings to electronic mail via satellite. The book closes with a discussion about stamps and stamp collecting that will make readers look at postage stamps with greater appreciation. A wealth of images enhance the narrative.

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HAPPY VALLEY SCHOOL: A HISTORY AND REMEMBRANCE

Happy Valley School was an outgrowth of the work of The Five Point House, a private charitable foundation organized in 1850 to relieve the distressed conditions of an area in New York City known as the “Five Point District.” It was a country home school for boys and girls in the first through the eighth grades, from six to eighteen years of age. It was dedicated to the service of children whose homes had been broken or who would benefit from school experience in homelike surroundings.

Happy Valley was truly integrated. Black, White, Hispanic, Jew and Arab slept side by side, ate, played and worked together. The common denominator was family dysfunction; neglect, abuse and poverty had brought them all together. Although they had house-parents around, the warmth, camaraderie and interaction was with one’s peers. Children fought, made friends and felt the first pangs of adolescent love with their peers. Discussions include: The New Mission House of the Five Points, Claude Boorum and the Happy Valley Colony, Edwin Gould: A Friend of Happy Valley and a Titan of Philanthropy to Children, History and Purpose, Sports and Recreation, Health, The American Female Guardian Society and the Home for the Friendless, Institution Chronology, Alumni of Pomona’s Happy Valley School Reunite as School is Torn Down, transcript of an article about Happy Valley School: “Happy are the Memories,” George Cosmos (a Former Happy Valley Alumni) Fills Us in on the 1930’s and the 1940’s, Board of Trustees and Other Members, School Life, Religious Life, The Minisceongo Golf Club: Friends Golf on the Site of a Former Children’s Home, Data Retrieval Investigations of a Multi-Component Site at the Minisceongo Golf Course (Ramapo, New York) with a history of investigations and detailed site description, Stage III Investigations, and Research Potential. A wealth of facsimile reprints of photos enhance the text.

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Andrew Horace Burke: A Man For All Seasons

Andrew Horace Burke: A Man for All Seasons is a historical novel about the life of Andrew Horace Burke, who was orphaned at the age of four in New York City when his mother died during childbirth and his father was killed in an industrial fire. He was sent to the Children’s Aid Society and, at the age of nine, rode an Orphan Train to Indiana along with John Green Brady, who later became governor of the Alaska Territory. Burke joined the Civil War at the age of twelve as a drummer boy for the 75th Indiana Regiment. Because little is known about the battles he fought in, the author has fictionalized his life as a drummer boy and medic during the war. From his discharge to his return to Indiana, everything is historically accurate. Also included are photographs and illustrations, which serve to reinforce and illuminate the narrative.

This book is a companion volume to The Orphan Train to Destiny: The Life of John Green Brady. Burke and Green became friends, and the fact that these two boys who became fast friends should rise to governorship (Burke to become the governor of North Dakota and Green to become the governor of Alaska) is a cornerstone of the narrative. What a tribute to the opportunity and greatness of America!


Martian Odyssey

What if opposing forces in the next world war employed noxious, new weapons that had never been used before. What if much of Earth became uninhabitable? Could a heroic team of five astronauts armed with 3-D printers, infrared-resistant plants and oxygen-producing bacteria save mankind by terraforming Mars? Readers are invited to travel with the crew of Courage One on its mission to Mars. Join Commander Michael Ryan and his fellow astronauts as they explore and make extraordinary discoveries, with the assistance of Dixie GPS, the robot dog.

This is a work of science fiction, which the author predicts will become a reality within the next hundred years. He believes that American astronauts will be the first to step foot on Mars and explore all the resources that Mars has to offer. Terraforming Mars to make it habitable is in our future.

The Stuyvesant Connection

Not your typical teenager, Mike Ryan did more than dream of making the world a better place; he researched the desalinization of water as a solution to the problem of hunger and the encroaching deserts that were threatening Africa and other parts of the world. His friends (Bernie, Lydia and Tran) shared his passion for science and all four were awarded a trip to Mammoth, Kentucky, for their exceptional high school science fair projects. Overcoming extreme poverty and an abusive father, Mike’s solid research had qualified him for this exciting opportunity. His dreams were temporarily shattered when his father refused to let him go. Mike had to summon all his courage to defy his father — he knew he had to set his own course if he was to succeed in life. A guided tour of Mammoth Cave was an exciting prospect for the four friends. They marveled at the other-worldly beauty of the underground terrain. Mike longed to explore the uncharted wild caves but they were off-limits, considered too dangerous for the general public. Mike respected this rule, but the danger of unknown passages was a powerful lure that some reckless souls could not resist. When a group of kids vanished in the restricted cave system, Mike had to decide: follow the rules or follow his conscience.

The Big Green Book

The Big Green Book: How the Environmental Decisions We Make in These Turbulent Economic Times Will Affect America and the World. The author’s passion for the welfare of the earth and its inhabitants shines through on each page of this absorbing work. The Big Green Book discusses the environmental issues facing America and the world and the innovative solutions people are coming up with to address these problems. It is crucial that we make the right environmental choices so that our children will have a healthy, vibrant, ecologically diverse and sustainable planet in which to live. Illustrations enhance the text.

THE ORPHAN TRAIN TO DESTINY

This novel has it all: adventure, edge-of-your-seat action scenes, martial arts, a little history, and a touch of romance. Marvel at John Brady’s survival of childhood hardships and join him as he ventures into the rugged Alaska Territory in the late 1800s.

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ORPHAN TRAIN RIDERS: VOLUME 2

Entrance Records from the American Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York, Volume 2.

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ORPHAN TRAIN RIDERS: VOLUME 1

A brief history of the Orphan Train Era (1854-1929) with entrance records from the American Female Guardian Society’s Home For The Friendless in New York, Volume 1.