Peter S. Zablocki

Historian, Author, Host of History Shorts Podcast

New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance Non-Fiction Popular Book of the Year Winner

Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award for Journals and Magazines Winner

Peter is the author of numerous books - the latest The Death of General Sikorski, from Frontline Books - and articles pertaining to local and national history. His work has been published in Military History Quarterly, Military History Magazine, WWII Quarterly Journal, Honest History Magazine, and Weird NJ Magazine, among others.

When not writing, Peter is a world history professor at Caldwell University. You can also hear him as the host of Evergreen Network's History Shorts Podcast.

Peter is the President of the Denville Historical Society, Museum, and Research Center in New Jersey and one of the town's historians. 

He lives in New Jersey with his family and two cats, who often interrupt his writing.


General History


Gibraltar Airport. The Iberian Peninsula. July 4, 1943, 11:10 p.m.

Eduard Prchal, the Czech-born pilot, hand-selected by the Prime Minister of the Polish Government-in-exile and Commander-in-chief of the Polish Army, Wladyslaw Sikorski, looks at the controls of his American-made Liberator AL523 bomber. The green light signal goes off, and Prchal and his co-pilot W.S. Herring begin their takeoff run toward the Mediterranean Sea. The bomber, with seventeen people aboard, including the head of the Polish state and his twenty-nine-year-old daughter Zofia Lesniowska, lifts off the ground as it reaches 130 miles an hour and levels off to gain speed. At 165 miles per hour, Prchal judges it is time to resume his climb and pulls back on his control column; it refuses to move. Wladyslaw Sikorski and his entire entourage have sixteen seconds to live.

The often-forgotten, complex, and enthralling story of a plane crash ranks among the biggest unsolved mysteries of the Second World War. A death that shifted European alliances and loyalties, brought Stalin completely into the Anglo-American camp, and sealed Poland's fate for the remainder of the twentieth century – the 1943 mysterious plane crash that killed the Polish Commander-in-chief and Prime Minister, Wladyslaw Sikorski.

Bullets That Changed America: Thirteen Historic Assassinations, Duels, Misfires, and Murders (McFarland Publishing)

One gunshot fired by a single person could be powerful enough to move a whole nation. Most of us are familiar with the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, William McKinley, and Martin Luther King Jr., and their long-lasting consequences. However, history is littered with lesser-known gunshots that have had equally echoing outcomes. Some were small mistakes or misjudgments, while others were acts of intent that sparked events that are now documented in our history textbooks. A single bullet serves as the catalyst for each of the stories in this book. We may or may not know who fired each bullet. Nonetheless, we know each bullet's endpoint and, more crucially, the effects they had on America's trajectory: the wars, social movements, and political and economic paradigm shifts. Because they are probably not discussed in history classrooms, the names of those involved may not be recognizable enough to elicit any feelings of outrage. However, the events that their acts precipitated have become etched in American history. 

New Jersey History

New Jersey and the Medal of Honor (The History Press)

"The author has crafted some remarkable stories that will, no doubt, touch the heart and even bring a tear to the eye. Sit back and let these inspiring stories of heroism on the sea, in the air, and on far-off beaches, steaming jungles, and blazing battlefields wrap around you like a flag."

Flint Whitlock

Former Editor, WWII Quarterly

Awarded by the President of the United States in the name of Congress, the Medal of Honor commemorates those who have shaped our nation's history and continue to inspire its future with their acts of valor, humanity, patriotism, and sacrifice.

New Jersey has been credited with ninety-three honors in the state's military history. Robert Augustus Sweeney was the recipient of two non-combatant medals when he jumped into stormy waters to save a fellow sailor twice becoming one of only nineteen double Medal of Honor recipients of all time and the only African American to do so. On the infamous day of December 7, 1941, Peter Tomich, serving on the USS Utah, sprung to action when it became evident his ship would capsize from the two Japanese torpedoes, staying behind to man the fireroom to ensure the boilers were secured to prevent an internal fire and saving countless additional deaths.

Author Peter Zablocki reveals the harrowing stories of New Jersey's most valorous moments in the defense of our nation and freedom around the world.

Presidential Visits to New Jersey: A History (The History Press) 

Some, like Abraham Lincoln in 1861, came to garner support. Others, like N.J. Governor Woodrow Wilson in 1912, remained and rode that support to the White House. And still, others, like James Garfield in 1881, came to die. New Jersey's past is full of memorable Presidential visits - and home to some lesser-known ones. Thousands of people came out to support Teddy Roosevelt, his cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Others like Franklin Pierce, Benjamin Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, and even more recently, Donald J. Trump saw the Jersey Shore as the perfect rest stop from the hustle and bustle of the capital. The story of these visits and others like them transcend politics to show the historical significance of not just the great men, but also that of the Garden State.

Author Peter Zablocki presents the heated elections, political events, and critical moments of Presidents in New Jersey.

The 1788 Morristown Ghost Hoax: The Search for Lost Revolutionary War Treasure (The History Press)

The saga of the Morristown ghost has been told around campfires and dinner tables in Morris County for generations. Local legend claimed British Loyalists secretly buried stolen Patriot treasure on Schooley Mountain as they fled the oncoming forces of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Years later in 1788, a former school teacher from Connecticut, Ransford Rodgers, convinced local prominent Morristown families that a ghost was protecting the true location of the treasure and he alone could exercise it. Little did the victims know, Rodgers was perpetuating an elaborate hoax and eventually extorted large sums of money from the embarrassed local elite. The tale has been recounted in various sensational pamphlets and publications ever since, leaving behind a mystery of what is true or myth. 

Terror Over Elizabeth New Jersey: Three Airplane Crashes in 58 Days and the Fight for Newark Airport (The History Press)

With safety protocols in their infancy and the jet engine still in development, early commercial flight above American cities was too often deadly. Between December 1951 and January 1952, three separate plane crashes barreled down onto Elizabeth, New Jersey. Many dozens perished as the crashes destroyed entire city blocks and wreaked havoc throughout various neighborhoods. Frightened residents turned to the nearby Newark Airport for blame as a groundswell of political pushback occurred in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to stop the airport's expansion. President Truman formed an airport safety commission in response that recommended better zoning around airports and runways. Author Peter Zablocki tells the harrowing story of one of the most unique and tragic series of plane crashes in the nation's history. 

Denville History

Denville 13: Murder, Redemption, & Forgiveness in Small-Town New Jersey (The History Press)

Denville in the 1950s was an idyllic place to live, yet a dark chapter in the era's history has remained uncovered. During the summer of 1953, a wealthy traveler with a secret rap sheet as a convicted sex offender arrived in town to continue his misdeeds. A group of thirteen local boys ranging in age from fourteen to twenty-two took it upon themselves to teach the man a lesson and drive him out of town. What resulted was his brutal death and the largest number of people ever indicted for murder in the nation at the time. The harrowing trial and its aftermath revealed a town forced to grapple with how to protect its youth and come to terms with the gruesome incident. Local historian Peter Zablocki covers the crime and a small town's path to redemption. 

Denville in World War II (The History Press)

The bucolic small-town life of Denville in the 1940s would change forever with the outbreak of World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the town mobilized, creating the Denville Local Defense Council, designating air wardens to watch the skies, and establishing air raid sirens. Schoolchildren gathered around home radios to learn if there were enough supplies to heat the school, and families learned to live within the confines of a ration book. The Denville Salvage Committee proclaimed "Bomb 'em with Junk!" as it collected waste goods for the war effort. Hundreds of Denville men served valiantly in all theaters of the war, some earning prestigious military accolades and many tragically never returning. Author Peter Zablocki covers the history of World War II Denville, including interviews with members of the town's "Greatest Generation."                                                                                                                                                       

Denville Goes to War: Denville's Story of World War I (DHS)

April 4, 1917. With half of the population of the town being summer residents only - at Estling Lake, Cedar Lake, and the various inns - Denville was very quiet in the spring of 1917,  when President Wilson brought the United States into World War I. Kids were at either of the two schools in town. The town population did not extend past 700 residents and you saw anyone in town with a new vehicle - not already owned by the few wealthier families - you knew somebody was lost. But all of that was about to change. Take a short journey to Denville, New Jersey between 1917 and 1919 to witness the perfect microcosm of small-town America; suddenly thrust into the greatest conflict the world had ever seen. 



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