Welcome to CraigpHoward.com, and please come again often, first as readers and perhaps later as friends.

When you visit, you should be able to discover new ideas about people and events, often long forgotten, that have made our world what it is today. You should find new heroes, people who have championed freedom in America and created knowledge worldwide. You should also find ways to use these people and events as springboards, empowering you by their example to reach your full potential and especially to help young people reach theirs.

Though I’m a first-time book author, I have been a professional writer, reporter and editor since 1974. In January 1977 I covered the appearance of a group of teenagers at their former high school. Dressed a bit like Disney dwarves and showing the swagger of an almost lawless age, these long-haired, bearded fellows sang the songs of French troubadours and spoke as voyageurs along the shores of 17th century North America.

Three and a half decades later, I had forgotten what they wore, what language they spoke, and how they carried themselves. What lingered in my mind was their iron-gray skin, cured in the subzero icebox of the Midwest’s record cold, and ropelike muscles forged by paddling canoes through the freezing waters of Lake Michigan. The boys were halfway through a 3,300-mile odyssey following the path and timetable of an all-but-forgotten explorer.

I resolved to find out why no National Geographic story had ever been done, no book ever written about their epic journey. After three years of research, writing and editing, the result is Hard Rivers: The Untold Saga of La Salle: Expedition II. Like the great Sieur de La Salle himself, the crew of LS2 has largely been ignored over the years. But this achievement, by American kids under brutal conditions, had never been attempted before and will never be equaled.  

Yet their remarkable achievement, forty years later, is as current as this morning’s news. In today’s boardrooms and laboratories, group dynamics and innovation create progress. La Salle: Expedition II shows how it’s done: commitment to a common goal, courage against the odds, resilience in the face of disappointment, openness to fresh ideas, flexibility to master difficulties, meaningful communication, trust in the team, respect for others – even those we don’t like – and a sense of adventure in everything we do.

As a former teacher of history and geography in the digital age, I found that young people actually DO have all the answers now. What they do NOT have are the questions.

I assigned biographical papers to do. But I did not let student have the low-hanging fruit, the George Washingtons and Rev. Martin Luther Kings. The students had to dig for answers to learn HOW the young mother who survived the Alamo massacre then survived on her own in the Old West, WHY a free black man left his seclusion in racist Virginia to help lay out the new city of Washington, D.C., and WHETHER an impoverished girl working the risky cliffs of England was really the greatest paleontologist of her era.

Let’s seek the questions together. Come on the adventure!