Mark Thiessen/NGS Mark Thiessen/NGS

Paul Martin spent three decades as a book and magazine editor with the National Geographic Society, the last ten years as executive editor of National Geographic Traveler. Paul has worked with some of the top writers of the day, including Ray Bradbury, Calvin Trillin, Bill Bryson, and Carl Hiaasen. His own writing assignments have taken him around the world.

In 2009, Paul began work on the collection of biographies that would become Secret Heroes. A lifelong history buff, he’d been gathering information on inspiring unsung Americans for years, and he selected thirty of the most interesting for his book, from the forgotten tailor who saved George Washington’s life to the famous actress who was secretly a brainy inventor. “I only wrote about people whose heroism had enduring and widespread significance—real life superheroes.” Meet the heroes.

After completing his first collection of biographies, Paul decided to profile a group of people who were the complete opposite of heroes—memorable American rogues. “I wanted to find the most colorful examples of every sort of villainy and rascality.” The resulting book—Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues—presents thirty amazing figures from throughout our country’s history, from the rabid, homicidal judge who presided over the Salem witch trials to the most outrageous television and Internet huckster ever. Meet the villains.