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Marshall, Brandywine was the largest land
battle of the war, and the British came close to
destroying Washington's army that day. Several
British officers stated if they had another hour
of daylight the revolution would have ended at
"The most important element of Brandywine,
and to this day is not given the deserved
recognition, is the participation of General
Lafayette," Bruce said. "Brandywine was
Lafayette's first battle for our freedom and he
shed blood there. The fact the young Frenchman
was willing to put his life on the line for the
colonies won him great admiration and trust
among his fellow soldiers. Of course Lafayette
was one of the major reasons why France came to
our aid during the war."
Brandywine has not been given great recognition in the
televised programs and books about the American Revolution.
The reason, Bruce believes, is that the victor of the battle, the
British, lost the war. Also, Washington did not write about
Brandywine as he lost on the fields of Chester County the same
way the British defeated him in New York a year earlier. Bruce's
book started a renewed interest in Brandywine. Bruce authored
the chapter on Brandywine and Germantown for the book
Reporting The Revolution: Before It Was History It Was News. The
book was recently named one of the 100 best books ever written
about the American Revolution.
Bruce's work as a newspaper reporter led him to write another
book connected with Chester County history, the infamous
Johnston Gang. Bruce was the legal reporter for the Daily Local
News when the southern Chester County-based gang began
killing witnesses to their crimes, including
members of their gang and Johnston family
members. A movie, At Close Range, starring Sean
Penn and Christopher Walken, was loosely based
on the story. Bruce's book, Jailing The Johnston
Gang: Bringing Serial Murderers To Justice, was
released by Barricade Books after the movie and
tells the real story of the killers.
Reporter Bruce was locked up in a jail cell
for two hours interviewing Bruce A. Johnston Sr.
Johnston was convicted of six counts of murder
but Bruce believes he murdered at least 10
people. Bruce also covered both murder trials, a
majority of the court hearings and was out the
nights law enforcement officials were unearthing
the bodies of the murder victims.
The books Bruce has written include many
varied subjects, including history, true crime,
business and sports. Even though the subjects are different, the
books have a common thread. They all involve stories about

"Real people fascinate me. I want to know
about their motives to do great and heroic deeds
and also unspeakable dastardly ones," Bruce said.
"I usually don't set out to write a book. The
subjects tell me a book needs to be written.
That certainly was true on my Gettysburg book,
Pickett's Charge: The Untold Story. There have
been thousands of books written on the battle of
Gettysburg. I've visited Gettysburg many times
in my life. My direct descendant's brother was
wounded in the Wheatfield during the second
day of the battle as part of the 61st New York
volunteers. One day I was at the Angle, where
a Pennsylvania unit helped stop the charge by
the Confederates, and I looked across the field.
I knew about why General Lee had to attempt
the charge, I knew about General Longstreet's
opposition, I knew about the 12,000 Confederates who made the
charge and I knew about the 150 Confederate artillery pieces used
in the great bombardment. I just turned to my left and realized I
knew little of the Union defenders who beat back the charge and
saved the country.
"I contacted my publisher and told them a book needed to
be written about the Union troops that won the day. All of the
other books on Pickett's Charge were written from the southern
perspective. My book is on the North."
Bruce's other books have included Chester County
businessman Jim Herr and Philadelphia Phillies Hall of Famer
Richie Ashburn. He has written a number of local histories on
Chester County towns, including West Chester, Coatesville,
Downingtown and Parkesburg. He co-authored a book with
daughter Melissa on Caln Township and wrote a walking tour
book of West Chester for Schiffer publishing.
Bruce likes to travel but also stays close to
his Chester County roots. He jokes that he
is like a glacier and moves east about a mile a
decade. He now lives in Downingtown.
Bruce is an award-winning author and
newspaper reporter. He has appeared on
the Discovery ID channel, C-SPAN, the
Pennsylvania Cable Network, Hollywood
and Beyond, and Philadelphia and local
television shows. He is a contributing editor
with Business 2 Business magazine. He has
hosted his own radio shows and was chairman
of the Chester County Historical Society and
president of the Brandywine Battlefield Park
Associates. He is a board member of the Valley
Forge Park Alliance and the Chester County
Conference and Visitors Bureau. He is a
frequent speaker at various civic and historical groups. For more
information on Bruce, his books and his schedule of events, see

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CCMS Medicine Fall 2017

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