Author Bracelen Flood, known nationally for best-selling historical narratives as well as fiction, died Thursday evening at his Richmond home.
Flood recently completed his last book, “The Lafayette Escadrille,” about Americans who volunteered as pilots for France before the United States entered World War I.
His death coming so soon after finishing his final book is reminiscent of his previous work, “Grant’s Final Victory,” about the Civil War general’s race to complete his memoirs as he was dying of cancer.
A native of New York City and Harvard University graduate, Flood moved to Madison County in 1975 after marrying Richmond native Kathy Flood. They met in 1970 while she was working in Manhattan.
His first novel, “Love is a Bridge,” written as his senior project at Harvard, spent 26 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. Its success led Flood to quit law school and pursue a career as an author.
In addition to writing novels, Flood’s early career included work as a teacher and foreign correspondent in Asia, where he covered the Olympics in Australia and Japan and the Vietnam War. His fiction includes a novel about the Korean War and another about Vietnam.
Returning to the United States, his work shifted to historical narrative, much of it about the American Civil War. His books about generals Lee, Grant and Sherman, another about Grant, and President Lincoln were critically acclaimed best sellers.
Flood’s 2009 book, “1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History” was released in Richmond on the eve of Lincoln’s 200th birthday. He autographed copies that evening at a reception hosted by the Gallery on Main.
The opportunity to write about about Lincoln in his bicentennial year while living in the president’s native state was gratifying, Flood said. And the author wanted the book first released in his adopted hometown.
After moving to Richmond, Flood did most of his research at Eastern Kentucky University’s Crabbe Library, which reserved a research carrell for him. Working and writing in Richmond was no handicap, said Flood, who was familiar with many great libraries in North America, Europe and Asia. Eastern’s library compared favorably with the best of them, he often said.
Flood’s services will be conducted 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Mark Catholic Church. The family will receive friends at the church from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the church.