His books fall into two categories: serious narrative non-fiction, including history and biography, and reference and whimsical books. Some of the books in the first category include Think Tanks, The Electronic Battlefield, Sputnik--The Shock of the Century, and
The second category of books has helped provide the sustained income to support the first category. For example, his collection of toasts and graces has sold over 400,000 books in hardback since it was first published in 1981 and is still selling well. The Dickson Baseball Dictionary was picked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the "5 Best" books on the sport in 2012.
Recently, Dickson has spent the majority of his baseball writing efforts working on two biographies. The first of these: Bill Veeck--Baseball's Greatest Maverick, published in 2012, received five awards including: the Jerome Holtzman Award from the Chicago Baseball Museum, the Reader's Choice Award for the best baseball book of 2012 from the Special Libraries Association and the Casey Award from Spitball magazine, also for the best baseball book of 2012.
Leo Durocher--Baseball's Prodigal Son his second biography, was published in March 2017 and has been well-received. A few examples:
"Strenuously researched and studded with footnotes, Paul Dickson's Leo Durocher: Baseball's Prodigal Son is an unflinching portrait of a brilliant bastard. Mr. Dickson gives the devil his due and leaves no doubt why so many people could respect Durocher's baseball genius and still hate his guts." - The Wall Street Journal
"Paul Dickson, whose resume includes a biography of baseball maverick Bill Veeck, pens an absorbing account of Durocher, a pugnacious provocateur who went through four wives (including actress Laraine Day), shot pool, hobnobbed with gangsters, gamblers and entertainers and was a master of wearing out welcomes while continuing to receive invitations from clubs that needed a firebrand." - The Boston Globe
"Paul Dickson, baseball historian and biographer (Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick) packs Durocher's story with enough great stories and colorful anecdotes to fill 10 normal books." - Dallas Morning News
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"Dickson has done it again, entrancing those who want to eavesdrop on the slanguage of everyone from barista to bitheads." --Erin McKean, American lexicogrrapher and editor of Verbatim: The Language Quarterly
"With focus, a passion for language, and a world-class ear, Dickson has produced brilliant chapter after brilliant chapter, any one of whch would be a lifetime achievement for most lexicographers."--Tom Dalzell, senior editor of The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English and author of Flappers to Rappers--American youth Slang
"Filled with tantalizing trivia and fascinating facts, this book will be savored by word lovers everywhere." --Mandy Groth, author of Viva la Repartee and Oxymoronic.
"Whether you need to find out what to call people from your neighboring state or from halfway around the earth, Paul Dickson is ready with the answer."--Anu Garg, founder of Wordsmith.org and author of Another Word A Day
An American Epic
Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen
In the summer of 1932, at the height of the Depression, some 45,000 veterans of the Great War descended on Washington, D.C. from all over the country to demand the bonus that had been promised them eight years earlier for their wartime service. They lived in shantytowns, white and black together, and for two months they protested and rallied for their cause.
President Herbert Hoover, Secretary of War Patrick Hurley, and Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur among others, became increasingly alarmed that the protesters would turn violent after the Senate defeated the "bonus bill" that had been passed by the House. On July 28, 1932, for the first time tanks rolled through the streets of the capitol as MacArthur's troops forcibly evicted the bonus marchers: American soldiers driving out their former comrades in arms. Newspapers and newsreels showed graphic images of fleeing veterans and their families, blazing shacks, soldiers wielding fixed bayonets. Democratic presidential candidate, Franklin Roosevelt, in a close contest with the increasingly unpopular Hoover, upon reading the newspaper accounts of the eviction said to an adviser, "this will elect me."
Through seminal, primary research, including interviews with the last surviving witnesses, historians Paul Dickson and Thomas Allen tell the full and dramatic story of the Bonus Army for the first time—including the unprecedented camaraderie of white and black marchers that prefigured desegregation. They recover the voices of ordinary men who dared tilt at powerful injustice, and who ultimately transformed the nation: The march inspired Congress to pass the G. I. Bill of Rights in 1944, one of the most important pieces of social legislation in our history, which in large part created America’s middle class and recast the (contract) with its citizens. The Bonus Army is an epic story in the saga of this country.
Praise for the first edition:
"An excellent compilation, from the Civil War to the present, to help you decode such words as 'chow','pogey bait' and others that can't be repeated here."-Portland Oregonian."
"Incapturing the earthy color of the language of the trenches, Paul Dickson has written an A-1 blockbuster of a book."-Richard Lederer, author of Crazy English
"The author's brief but carefully thought-out informal introductions to each section help define the flavor of the period."-Booklist
The Hidden Language of Baseball
-- How Signs and Sign-Stealing Have Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime --
"If you absorb even a fraction of the information in his [Dickson's] tales of baseball's silent strategy and how teams have used it to win games through the decades, your next trip to the ballpark will be considerably richer."—Mike McNamee, Business Week, Online
"A pleasure...Dickson writes extremely well and appreciates the nuances of baseball controversy...This fine and original book should be in any literate fan's library."—Luke Salisbury, Sunday 8/24, Boston Globe
"Dickson's impressively researched, well-written page-turner isn't just for baseball fans. The anecdotes he recounts are fascinating, and the trivia is obscure enough that even a baseball fanatic will be enlightened."—Jessica Flint, Washingtonian Online
"So the baseball season ended in such a fabulous fashion that you’ve been left hungry for more. Well, spring training won’t begin for months. Yet here’s a suggestion: Paul Dickson’s The Hidden Language of Baseball. Subtitled How Signs and Sign-Stealing Have Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime, Dickson’s book contains enough inside information to dazzle even Tim McCarver and Al Leiter. Did you know that during the course of a nine-inning game, an average of 1,000 silent instructions are given—from catcher to pitcher, coach to batter and base runner, fielder to fielder, umpire to umpire? It’s true. You can look it up. In this book."-Legal Times, November 3, 2003
"The history of scorekeeping, practical scoring techniques, notable scorekeeping blunders and idiosyncrasies, facsimiles of famous scorecards, and more-it’s all here in this “celebration of one of baseball’s most divine and unique pleasures" (USA Today Baseball Weekly).
"If you are scoring at home...Mark this book down as an extra-base hit. Dickson...has done it again." (the Sporting News).
"Dickson has written a testimonial to the joys of scoring that true baseball fans will embrace." (Publishers Weekly)
"Baseball fans young and old are certain to enjoy this book." (Wes Lukowsky--Booklist)
"Probably the most complete guide ever compiled of the language and terminology of the 'national pastime'...an unfailing delight for the true fan."
"Anyone who loves baseball will want this book. Abundantly illustrated...Great browsing."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"A gold mine of information...sheer entertaining reading on every page."
Washington journalist Paul Dickson chronicles the dramatic events and developments leading up to and emanating from Sputnik's launch. Supported by groundbreaking, original research and many recently declassified documents, Sputnik offers a fascinating profile of the early American and Soviet space programs and a strikingly revised picture of the politics and personalities behind the facade of America's fledgling efforts to get into space.
By shedding new light on a pivotal era, Paul Dickson expands our knowledge of the world we now inhabit, and reminds us that the story of Sputnik goes far beyond technology and the beginning of the space age, and that its implications are still being felt today. --Publisher
"Paul Dickson's indefatigable research and reportorial lucidity have given us a fascinating history of the event that forever changed our world." --Walter Cronkite
"Sputnik is a fascinating slice of useful social history...A serious book that is breezily written, Sputnik reviews the scientific history, the Cold War mentality and a media-driven crisis over what headline writers called 'the Red Moon'." --USA TODAY
"In these first months of responding to the terrorism of Sept. 11,
books like this one are particularly valuable, helping us place the present event in the context of history and to make decisions that future historians will regard as necessary, courageous, and resulting in an enduring positive impact on civilization."
— The Dallas Morning News, Fred Bortz
Includes an introduction to toasting, a brief history of the custom and over 1500 of the best to use directly or for inspiration.
Go to Toastsbook.com, my new website, for all kinds of information about toasting-- the history, how and when to make a toast and lots of good examples listed by occasion.