New Book Released – Tall Paul

Paul Fannin liked to joke that his segue to politics from his career selling natural gas or propane was natural. Both featured lots of “hot air.” He brought customer service and a businessman’s approach to the governor’s office of an emerging Arizona in the late 1950s, actively recruiting economic opportunities and cultivating financial, cultural and environmental ties with the Sonoran state in Mexico where he said, “God made us neighbors. Let us be good neighbors.”

As a two-term US Senator, he fought on behalf of Native Americans, workers who did not want to be compelled to join a union and shepherded the Central Arizona Project through the Senate, the single most important piece of legislation in Arizona history.

Tall Paul for the first time provides readers an important chapter in Arizona history, telling the story of Paul Fannin, the businessman-politician who helped transform Arizona.

“While many politicians today speak about economic development, Paul Fannin actually delivered. He dedicated his life to improving Arizona’s economy at a time when our state’s future was uncertain. Tall Paul is a must-read about an exemplary Arizona leader whose legacy of selfless public service has left a permanent mark on our state and nation.” – Senator John McCain

Foreword written by Senator Jon Kyl

Sharing the same podium as Arthur Koehler: 79 years later

rotary talkThis week, I had the great honor to speak before the Madison chapter of The Rotary Club. Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, home of the first ever Rotary chapter, I always knew that building as the one right across from my favorite pizza place. Through the years though, I’ve been educated specifically about the great work Rotary has done helping to eradicate polio all over the world.

I was there to discuss “The Sixteenth Rail,” the story of Arthur Koehler’s wood detection and Sherlock Holmes-like botanical detective skills that helped solve the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case. What was even more amazing is that it’s a story Koehler himself shared at the Madison Rotary Club in the summer of 1935.

Here’s a link to an article written about the talk:

Thanks to my friend, Bob Delaporte, for taking the picture that accompanies this post.

Book talk in Wisconsin Rapids on 3/6

McMillan Library

McMillan Library

I’m excited to go to Wood County, the site of Arthur Koehler’s first criminal case testimony, on Thursday night for a talk at the McMillan Library.

Koehler’s work helped convict John Magnuson of creating a bomb that killed the wife of the Wood County Commissioner in December, 1922.

We’ll discuss Koehler’s work on that case as well as the work that made him famous, the “Sherlock Holmes of (his) era,” on the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case at the library in Wisconsin Rapids.

Here’s a preview of the talk from The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

It’s free to come and it all starts at 7pm.

NPR’s Science Friday Transcript

Book coverIn case you missed it, here’s the transcript of NPR’s Science Friday listing “The Sixteenth Rail” as one of its top books for 2013:

Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize winner, complimented the book for “the phenomenal depth of (its) storytelling,” and concluded it was “just a fascinating exploration of a little-known science.”

I thank her and all of you in 2013 for your continued support.

NPR’s Science Friday: “Science Book Picks for 2013”

scifri_logoSo, my parents go to Florida every winter to get away from the arctic Chicago winds and to reduce their overall stress. My father is the first male in his family to make it past the age of 65 because of heart disease.

I share this with you to let you know he nearly went into cardiac arrest as he listened to NPR’s Science Friday a couple days ago and heard my name and “The Sixteenth Rail,” my project about Arthur Koehler, in a conversation about the best Science books of 2013. After he caught his breath, he had my mother call me here at the station as he was still a little too worked up.

I’m blown away by to put it mildly. To even be mentioned in the same conversation as “Five Days at Memorial,” which continues to haunt me more than a month after I’ve read it, is an honor that’s hard for me to fathom.

If you want to hear the conversation about the book, click here:



University Place TV Appearance

Arthur KoehlerI had a great opportunity this summer to deliver a lecture at the University of Wisconsin’s Wednesday Nite @ the Lab ( called “The Scientist and the Lindbergh Kidnapping.”

It’s the power-point presentation that I do about Arthur Koehler when I’m talking about my biography, “The Sixteenth Rail: The Evidence, The Scientist and The Lindbergh Kidnapping.”

The talk was recorded by my old colleagues at Wisconsin Public Television for a program called “University Place,” which captures lectures and broadcasts them to the state. My talk is now part of the rotation.

If you’d like to watch it, click here ( or log on to Wisconsin Public Television ( to see when it’s going to be on.

TV appearances on the book

Book coverI’ve been remiss and haven’t posted these even though they happened a few months ago.

Here’s a link to a segment I did with my own television station, WISC-TV News 3:

And here’s an interview I did with my good friend Molly Fay for her program, The Morning Blend, on WTMJ:

New review in from Madison Magazine

MMJust in time for the holidays, the December issue of Madison Magazine is out and its books column features, “The Sixteenth Rail.”

Any time someone refers to the book as “riveting,” I’ll take that.

If you want to read the whole review, click here:

There’s also a review in from the Tennessee Bar Association which “heartily” recommends the book as well:

New Book Released Today!

Proud to release some of the comments about “The Sixteenth Rail” that can now be bought at your local bookstore, borrowed at your local library or purchased on line.

“People lie, but wood doesn’t. As journalist Schrager (The Principled Politician: The Story of Ralph Carr) tells it, Arthur Koehler, a pioneer in forensic science, was often called into court as an expert witness. The most well-known case in which Koehler testified, though, was the kidnapping of Charles and Anne Lindbergh’s son. When he saw the pictures of the wooden ladder used by the kidnappers, Koehler knew he could make that wood talk. After nearly two years on the case, he was able to provide damning evidence by explaining the origin of the wood, the way it was used, and a piece of wood found in Bruno Hauptmann’s attic that perfectly aligned with a piece missing from the ladder. Hauptmann was found guilty, and Koehler was considered a new Sherlock Holmes. VERDICT The hero worship so often reserved for Lindbergh in books about his child’s kidnapping is here placed onto Arthur Koehler, a key but little-known player in this drama. Framing the story around the kidnapping case, Schrager has written a much-needed biography about Koehler and his important work in the early days of forensic science. Dynamic and compelling, Schrager’s book is a perfect read for anyone interested in the history of criminal justice.”—Kathleen Quinlan, Library Journal

“A fascinating and objective look at the forensic evidence that led to the conviction of the Lindbergh baby kidnapper.  For anyone who wants to rely on simplistic assessments of that frenzied case, this highly readable book will be enlightening.” — Scott Turow, Author

“In a World where CSI solves crimes by the dozen every night, here is a true tale of a real, mild-mannered guy and his amazing knowledge of all things wood.” —Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

“This exceptionally well written book is a must for anyone interested in the Lindbergh Kidnapping and the history of forensic science.” —Paul Dowling, Creator and Executive Producer of Forensic Files

“Adam Schrager weaves a compelling tale of forensic science, criminal law, and American history. This incredible true story reads like a novel.” —Anthony Barkow, former Federal prosecutor

“Arthur Koehler is now on my list of American heroes.” —Colonel Mark Trostel, former head of Colorado State Patrol

“Mr. Schrager has crafted a suspenseful and personal portrait–true to the man I knew–of the forensic scientist whose exceptional response to the Lindbergh kidnapping galvanized the world.” —Nikki Koehler Guza, Arthur Koehler’s granddaughter