Book Launch Kentucky Barracuda: Parker H. French


Lieutenant General
- ★★★ -
Managing Member & Webmaster
Apr 1, 1999
Martinsburg, WV

  • @ejgood47 is the author Joe Goodbody and is proud to launch his book:
    • Kentucky Barracuda: Parker H. French
    • Published October 16, 2018
    • Belatedly Launched on CWT on 9/3/2019
    • Buy it on Amazon
Historical biography of an infamous rascal of antebellum and Civil War America. Quirky history and profile of a pathologically interesting character.

BARRACUDA: Con man, crook, hustler, swindler.

Though a notorious scoundrel in his time, French has been relegated to a minor footnote in American antebellum and Civil War history. This cunning rascal, this delightful rogue, is brought out of the shadows and into the spotlight. The crafty Machiavellian contributed more to mid-nineteenth century history than has been previously documented.

In the era of steam, sail and horse, the rapidity of French's movement and breadth of his adventures is almost mind-numbing. Born and raised in Kentucky, he was a runaway kid who fought as a "powder monkey" for the British Navy in the first Opium War.

When he was just 22 years old, he was a commission merchant and, a year later, built the first ocean going ship on the upper Mississippi, swindling partners in the process. Before he was 30, he was the leader of an infamous and fraudulent gold rush expedition; implicated in an irregular invasion of Cuba; jailed bandit and then paramilitary hero in Mexico; lawyer, district attorney, legislator, journalist, and political enforcer in California; part of an American cabal which governed Nicaragua; and, appointed but rejected Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States.

He didn't slow down in his 30s: he was a real estate developer; lawyer; journalist; part of a conspiracy to invade Mexico; suspected seditionist agitator and Confederate agent; jailed as a political prisoner; and, lawyer and purveyor for Union troops. His final days were spent in obscurity but the period was still peppered with the occasional swindle that garnered both regional and national attention.

First and foremost, he was a barracuda.

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Forum Host
Nov 27, 2018
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Sounds like could be interesting. Didn't know about him.
I think it is a wonder in today's age with so many avid genealogical searches and discoveries, how well people may gravitate to picking up the book on the off chance their ancestor knew of, or had dealings with the rogue. It not only sounds interesting, but also sounds like a major undertaking for the author to show French as the 'kingpin' in these schemes. I am just as interested in knowing how Joe Goodbody handles his subject matters so the tarnishing reputation of French does not bring disgrace upon his self. And how many other conspirators may be brought to light; does French take the full credit, or no?


Aug 15, 2019
Joe Goodbody here. Re: the genealogical point. For every contact to whom I traced Parker French, I opened a family tree on Ancestry. I found multiple cousins, relatives by marriage, neighbors, childhood friends and fellow students, former colleagues, fellow Kentuckians and probable business linkages to those who lived in the same city at the same time. As you surmised it was a major undertaking taking over 5 years of research developing hundreds of sources from archives, libraries, private collections and public records....347 end-notes. I hope everyone enjoys. If anyone has any other questions please don't hesitate to ask. I can also be reached on the FB page for the book: