Robert Skimin's own story reads like an adventure novel... Brushing aside a promising future as a talented artist, he left a small Ohio town to enlist in the Army on his 18th birthday. Soon he was its fourth youngest officer. He saw combat as a paratrooper and artillery officer, and also became an army aviator, flying light aircraft and helicopters. He was the first army pilot to wear the famed Green Beret, and was decorated several times. His next battle was with the bottle, which he won many years ago (although he still throws great parties.) In 1992 cancer of the larynx was his next enemy, and he defeated it--in fact the spiritual insight of that fight added unique depth to his Ulysses. (President Grant died of cancer of the mouth and throat.) Skimin is the father of the immensely successful Texas Book Festival.
Skimin's 17 published books include a hard look at alcoholism: The Booze Game (1976)...a four-volume male adventure series, Soldier For Hire, From Zebra Books, which were his first bestsellers... Chikara!, the compelling saga of a family from Hiroshima that comes to America, which won a number of awards, was a Literary Guild selection and a successful foreign work It won the Ohioana Book Award in 1985 as the best novel by an Ohioan (St. Martin's Press, 1984)... Gray Victory, the alternative history in which the South has won the Civil War, which was critically acclaimed and was his sixth bestseller (St. Martin's Press, 1988)... Renegade Lightning, a WWII air war novel set in the Mediterranean in '43, with Ferdie Pachecho, TV's "Fight Doctor" (Presidio Press, 1992)...and Apache Autumn, the sweeping historical novel of the Apaches that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize (St. Martin's, 1993)...and...following that,
Ulysses, the deeply researched biographical novel of U.S. Grant published by St. Martin's Press, that came out in the fall of '94 to excellent reviews. The trade paperback edition (retitled, Ulysses S. Grant, A Novel) was released by Herodias of New York in the fall of '99. The River and the Horsemen, the powerful novel of the Little Bighorn, (Herodias, Sept '99) is a highly regarded look at that puzzle. Custer's Luck, the fascinating "what if" in which Custer wins and goes on to a flamboyant Kennedyesque presidency, was published in 2000. Footprints of Heroes, From the American Revolution to the War in Iraq, a non-fiction collection of American military heroes, was published by Prometheus Books in May 2005. His big, sweeping novel of 20th Century Russia, Derzhava, is partially finished and is simmering on a back burner...and Danny Drumm's Heroes, a history rich children's series, launched in the fall of 2006.
The one-man play adaptation of Ulysses, which he has written, is seeking financing to be produced on college campuses for decades to come. Skimin feels the old values that Grant embodied should be brought to America's young. The play is packaged and ready for production.
He has lectured extensively and has given several seminars on the business of publishing--and is still available for speaking engagements, particularly if a good golf course is involved. "He's a most interesting and entertaining speaker!" states Susan Malone, author and free-lance editor.
Skimin has several historical novels on the horizon.