Today’s guest is Peg Lamphier, author of Soldier, Diplomat, Archaeologist: A Novel Based on the Bold Life of Louis Palma di Cesnola.
As the son of an Italian count, Cavalry Colonel Louis Palma di Cesnola had more military experience than most of the leading officers in the Civil War. Objecting to his general’s orders, di Cesnola led his men into battle, earning himself a Medal of Honor.
When di Cesnola was captured and thrown into the notorious Libby Prison, he was forced to examine his life decisions. Upon release, di Cesnola was torn between his desire to return to war or to his wife and daughter—a battle of his heart and his duty.
Once the war ended, di Cesnola became America’s consul for archaeological excavators, and eventually became the first director of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. With every step of success, di Cesnola was forced to prove himself in a country that emphatically disapproved of immigrants. His plight forged a path of national acceptance of Italian-Americans throughout the entire country.