american history

  All the tapes and documentation of the high crimes that led to his resignation of President Richard Nixon are all on the record. Now, Journalist Tim Weiner draws on the millions of words from the tapes and top-secret documents from the Nixon administration that have been released in the past three years, some in just the past few months.

Weiner says it’s clear that many of these tapes and documents- purportedly kept secret to protect America’s national security - have been hidden to protect the ex-president from additional disgrace. His new book is One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon.

  Two-time Pulitzer winner, New York Times-bestselling author, and master historian David McCullough brings to life two of the most iconic figures in American history in his new book, The Wright Brothers.

Regarded by many in their times as mere “bicycle mechanics,” Wilbur and Orville Wright were in reality self-taught geniuses of truly exceptional capacity of mind, pioneering scientific explorers, and the men who taught the world how to fly.

  William F. Buckley, Jr., and Norman Mailer were the two towering intellectual figures of the 1960s, and they lived remarkably parallel lives. Both became best-selling authors in their twenties; both started hugely influential papers (National Review and the Village Voice); both ran for mayor of New York City; both were noted for their exceptional wit and venom; and both became the figurehead of their respective social movements (Buckley on the right, Mailer on the left).

  Former 2nd Lady of the United States, Lynne Cheney, has spent decades studying the nation's fourth president, James Madison. The result of that labor is the new 564-page book, James Madison: A Life Reconsidered.

Father of the Constitution, principle author of the Bill of Rights, founder of the first opposition party, Secretary of State and fourth President was a masterful politician who Cheney believes, despite all his accomplishments, has been overshadowed by other founders.

Lynne Cheney is the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is the author of 12 books, several on American history.

  We’re often told that the United States is, was, and always has been a Christian nation. But in One Nation Under God, historian Kevin M. Kruse reveals that the idea of “Christian America” is an invention—and a relatively recent one at that.

As Kruse argues, the belief that America is fundamentally and formally a Christian nation originated in the 1930s when businessmen enlisted religious activists in their fight against FDR’s New Deal. Corporations from General Motors to Hilton Hotels bankrolled conservative clergymen, encouraging them to attack the New Deal as a program of “pagan statism” that perverted the central principle of Christianity: the sanctity and salvation of the individual. Their campaign for “freedom under God” culminated in the election of their close ally Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.

First Ladies

Apr 29, 2015

  C-SPAN’s yearlong history series, First Ladies: Influence and Image, featured interviews with more than fifty preeminent historians and biographers. In the resulting book, First Ladies: Presidential Historians on the Lives of 45 Iconic American Women, these experts paint intimate portraits of all forty-five first ladies—their lives, ambitions, and unique partnerships with their presidential spouses.

Susan Swain and the C-SPAN team elicit the details that made these women who they were: how Martha Washington intentionally set the standards followed by first ladies for the next century; how Edith Wilson was complicit in the cover-up when President Wilson became incapacitated after a stroke; and how Mamie Eisenhower used the new medium of television to reinforce her, and her husband’s, positive public images.

While Eleanor revolutionized the role of First Lady with her outspoken passion for human rights, Alice made the most of her insider connections to influence politics—including doing as much to defeat the League of Nations as anyone in elective office. Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth is a double biography of the first cousins whose political perspectives could not be more dissimilar.

Authors Mike Peyser and Timothy Dwyer will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, April 11th at 7:00 PM for a presentation, Q&A and book signing.

Across four decades of public life, from 1776 until he left the presidency in 1817, James Madison made extraordinary contributions to the American republic. Yet, according to historian David O. Stewart, too often he is consigned to the shadows of history and concealed by his more heroic contemporaries.

In Stewart's new book Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, he looks to restore Madison to a proper place and explores the relations he forged which contributed to his success.

  In August 1906, black soldiers stationed in Brownsville, Texas, were accused of going on a lawless rampage in which shots were fired, one man was killed, and another wounded. Because the perpetrators could never be positively identified, President Theodore Roosevelt took the highly unusual step of discharging without honor all one hundred sixty-seven members of the black battalion on duty the night of the shooting.

Taking on Theodore Roosevelt: How One Senator Defied the President on Brownsville and Shook American Politics by Harry Lembeck investigates the controversial action of an otherwise much-lauded president, the challenge to his decision from a senator of his own party, and the way in which Roosevelt’s uncompromising stance affected African American support of the party of Lincoln.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

One hundred fifty years ago this coming week was a ceremony that most Americans believe ended the Civil War - the surrender agreement at Appomattox Court House. What is wrong with the way we understand that event and the end of the war?

Greg Downs, Gregory Downs is an Associate Professor at the City College & Graduate Center, CUNY, and is the author of the just-published After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, is here to tell us.

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