american history

Kevin R. C. Gutzman is the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including his latest, Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America.

Although remembered as the third president of the United States and chief author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was also something more: the most successful constructive statesman in American history.

Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical's Struggle to Remake Americashows him formulating his radical plans to republicanize America and then working, with remarkable success, to implement them. Born into a monarchical society, Jefferson turned his great intellect and energy to making it highly egalitarian. Much of what we take for granted about America now was originally Jefferson's idea. It is a fascinating story.

Julie Otsuka’s novel, When the Emperor Was Divine , is about the internment of a Japanese-American family during World War II, as a result of FDR’s Executive Order 9066. 

The book is based on Otsuka’s own family history: her grandfather was arrested by the FBI as a suspected spy for Japan the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, and her mother, uncle, and grandmother spent three years in an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. 

Otsuka will be speaking about the book at a Poughkeepsie Public Library event held at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park on Sunday, February 26th @ 2PM .

As part of a team of journalists from Newsday, Michael D'Antonio won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting before going on to write many acclaimed books, including The Truth About Trump. He has also written for EsquireThe New York Times Magazine, and Sports Illustrated.

In A Consequential President, Michael D'Antonio tallies President Obama’s long record of achievement, recalling both his major successes and less-noticed ones that nevertheless contribute to his legacy. The record includes Obama's role as a inspirational leader who was required to navigate race relations as the first black president and had to function in an atmosphere that included both racial acrimony from his critics and unfair expectations among supporters. In light of these conditions, Obama's greatest achievement came as he restored dignity and ethics to the office of the president, and serve as proof that he has delivered the hope and the change he promised eight years before.

Over the course of eight years, Barack Obama has amassed an array of achievements as President of the United States.

In Audacity, New York magazine political columnist Jonathan Chait makes the provocative argument that most of Obama’s achievements will not only survive a Trump administration, but also the judgment of history, which will proclaim that Obama was among the greatest and most effective presidents in American history. 

Chait digs deep into Obama’s record on major policy fronts and explains why so many observers, from cynical journalists to disheartened Democrats, missed the enormous evidence of progress amidst the smoke screen of extremist propaganda and the confinement of short-term perspective. Jonathan Chait is a political columnist for New York magazine. He was previously a senior editor at the New Republic

War Against War by Michael Kazin is about the Americans who tried to stop their nation from fighting in one of history’s most destructive wars and then were hounded by the government when they refused to back down.

The book brings us into the ranks of the largest, most diverse, and most sophisticated peace coalition up to that point in US history.

Michael Kazin is professor of history at Georgetown University and has been co-editor of Dissent since 2009.

We hear now, the story of two men.

Jim Thorpe: Super athlete, Olympic gold medalist, Native American

Pop Warner: Indomitable coach, football mastermind, Ivy League grad.

Before these men became legends, they met in 1907 at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, where they forged one of the winningest teams in American football history. Called "the team that invented football," they took on the best opponents of their day, defeating much more privileged schools such as Harvard and the Army in a series of breathtakingly close calls, genius plays, and bone-crushing hard work.

Author Steve Sheinkin’s new book is: Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team - the story of a group of young men who came together at that school, the overwhelming obstacles they faced both on and off the field, and their absolute refusal to accept defeat.

There will be a launch party for the book on Sunday at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs at 5PM. 

In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the First Lady with dread. By that time, she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life—now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next thirty years, until Eleanor’s death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: They were, at different points, lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and caring friends.

Susan Quinn has written a book about their unique relationship entitled Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady

Susan Quinn is the author of Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art Out of Desperate Times and Marie Curie: A Life, among other books. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, and other publications. She is the former president of PEN New England.

In the spring of 1942, the United States rounded up 120,000 residents of Japanese ancestry living along the West Coast and sent them to interment camps for the duration of World War II. Many abandoned their land. Many gave up their personal property. Each one of them lost a part of their lives.

Amazingly, the government hired famed photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others to document the expulsion--from assembling Japanese Americans at racetracks to confining them in ten camps spread across the country. Their photographs, exactly seventy-five years after the evacuation began, give an emotional, unflinching portrait of a nation concerned more about security than human rights. These photographs are more important than ever.

In The Wars of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of America's Greatest Political Family, William J. Mann presents a modern revisionist biographical history of one of America’s greatest and most influential families—the Roosevelts—exposing heretofore unknown family secrets and detailing complex family rivalries with his signature cinematic flair.

In the autumn of 1777, near Saratoga, New York, an inexperienced and improvised American army led by General Horatio Gates faced off against the highly trained British and German forces led by General John Burgoyne.

The British strategy in confronting the Americans in upstate New York was to separate rebellious New England from the other colonies. Despite inferior organization and training, the Americans exploited access to fresh reinforcements of men and materiel, and ultimately handed the British a stunning defeat. The American victory, for the first time in the war, confirmed that independence from Great Britain was all but inevitable. 

Dean Snow is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Penn State University and past president of the Society for American Archaeology. His previous books include Archaeology of Native North America and The Iroquois. His new book is 1777: Tipping Point at Saratoga.

The art of hula is thriving in cities all over the country and the world, but it is not always understood.

In The Natives Are Restless, journalist Constance Hale presents the largely untold story of the dance tradition, using the twin keyholes of Kumu Patrick Makuakane (a Hawai‘i-born, San Francisco–based hula master), and his 350-person arts organization (Na Lei Hulu i ka Wekiu).

In the background, she weaves the poignant story of an ancient people and the resilience of their culture. In the foreground, she tells the story of an electrifying new form of hula that has emerged from a restless generation of artists like Makuakane.


  The exhibition The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design, organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville is currently on view at The Albany Institute of History and Art through December 31st.

 

In the show, the chair is experienced not only as a functional item, but as art -- with more than 40 unique chairs on view.

 

Public Relations Associate, Aine Leader-Nagy and Chief Curator Doug McCombs take us on a tour.

The Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, meant to herald the twentieth century, went tragically, spectacularly awry.

The Exposition opened with fanfare; its wonders, both strange and magnificent, dazzled the public. Then tragedy struck. In the early autumn of 1901, an assassin stalked the fairgrounds, waiting for President William McKinley. That was shocking enough, but there were more surprises in store.

In The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City: Spectacle and Assassination at the 1901 World's Fair, Margaret S. Creighton lifts the curtain on the assassination of McKinley as well as on the fair’s lesser-known battles, involving both notorious and forgotten figures.

The new book: Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years And After, 1939-1962 Is the final volume in Blanche Wiesen Cook’s definitive biography of one of America’s greatest first ladies. Historians, politicians and critics have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as the essential portrait of a woman who towers over the twentieth century.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3 follows the arc of war and the evolution of a marriage, as the first lady realized the cost of maintaining her principles even as the country and her husband were not prepared to adopt them. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to struggle for her core issues—economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality, and rescue—when they were sidelined by FDR while he marshaled the country through war.

The chasm between Eleanor and Franklin grew, and the strains on their relationship were as political as they were personal. These years—the war years—made Eleanor Roosevelt the woman she became: leader, visionary, guiding light. Blanche Wiesen Cook is a distinguished professor of history at John Jay College and Graduate Center at the City University of New York. 

  Boston in the 1740s: a bustling port at the edge of the British empire. A boy comes of age in a small wooden house along the Long Wharf, which juts into the harbor, as though reaching for London thousands of miles across the ocean. Sometime in his childhood, he learns to draw.

That boy was John Singleton Copley, who became, by the 1760s, colonial America’s premier painter. His brush captured the faces of his neighbors -- ordinary men like Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams -- who would become the revolutionary heroes of a new United States. Today, in museums across America, Copley’s brilliant portraits evoke patriotic fervor and rebellious optimism.

The artist, however, did not share his subjects’ politics. Copley’s nation was Britain; his capital, London. When rebellion sundered Britain’s empire, both kin and calling determined the painter’s allegiances. He sought the largest canvas for his talents and the safest home for his family. So, by the time the United States declared its independence, Copley and his kin were in London. He painted America’s revolution from a far shore, as Britain’s American War.

His story is told in Jane Kamensky's new book, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley.

In The Constitution Today, Akhil Reed Amar, America’s preeminent constitutional scholar, considers the biggest and most bitterly contested debates of the last two decades and provides a passionate handbook for thinking constitutionally about today’s headlines.

Amar shows how the Constitution’s text, history, and structure are a crucial repository of collective wisdom, providing specific rules and grand themes relevant to every organ of the American body politic.

The Constitution states that it is Congress that declares war, but it is the presidents who have more often taken us to war and decided how to wage it.

In Waging War, David J. Barron opens with an account of George Washington and the Continental Congress over Washington’s plan to burn New York City before the British invasion. Congress ordered him not to, and he obeyed. Barron takes us through all the wars that followed: 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American war, World Wars One and Two, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now, most spectacularly, the War on Terror.

National Geographic Channel - Hopper Stone

Tim Matheson (Animal House, The West Wing) is playing President Ronald Reagan in National Geographic's Killing Reagan (based on the Bill O’Reilly book series). Cynthia Nixon portrays Nancy Reagan.

The TV movie will premiere this Sunday, October 16th.

Did you know that many of America’s Founding Fathers― who fought for liberty and justice for all ― were slave owners?

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, Kenneth Davis’ new book, In the Shadow of Liberty, helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America.

From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy―that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.

Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of America’s Hidden History and Don’t Know Much About History, which gave rise to the "Don’t Know Much About" series of books for adults and children. 

Lost Radio Rounders, Albany’s acclaimed acoustic American roots duo, recently released Politics & Patriots, a 15-song album that shines a light on campaign songs from George Washington to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The disc features Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck playing over 24 different instruments.

The combo is also takes the show on the road, playing 10 dates in seven counties and two states during the run up to Election Day. Lindsay and Eck recount the history behind the songs, noting, with a chuckle, that in terms of political rancor, backstabbing and name-calling there truly is nothing new under the sun.

Lost Radio Rounders will begin its official Politics & Patriots tour with a special record release concert 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 at Mabee Farm Historic Site in Rotterdam. We welcome Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck.

  Jeffrey Toobin is a New Yorker Staff writer and is the senior legal analyst for CNN.

His new book is American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst which revisits the famous kidnapping and the ongoing question of Hearst's motivations and loyalty in the 19 months that followed her abduction.

  Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Grant and Madame JuleMrs. Lincoln's DressmakerThe SpymistressMrs. Lincoln's Rival, and the Elm Creek Quilts series.

Her new novel, Fates and Traitors, is about John Wilkes Booth, the mercurial son of an acclaimed British stage actor and Covent Garden flower girl, committed one of the most notorious acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

FDR's Right-Hand Woman

Sep 8, 2016

  The FDR Presidential Library will host an author talk and book signing at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, 2016 with Kathryn Smith author of The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency.

Widely considered the first female presidential chief of staff, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand was the right-hand woman to Franklin Delano Roosevelt—both personally and professionally—for more than twenty years. Although her official title as personal secretary was relatively humble, her power and influence were unparalleled. Everyone in the White House knew one truth: If you wanted access to Franklin, you had to get through Missy. She was one of his most trusted advisors, affording her a unique perspective on the president that no one else could claim, and she was deeply admired and respected by Eleanor and the Roosevelt children.

  Called “thoroughly informative and approachable” by The New York Times, Vernon Benjamin’s The History of the Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness to the Civil War presented nearly 250 years of the Hudson River Valley’s dynamic past with unmatched richness and detail.

Now with The History of the Hudson River Valley: from the Civil War to Modern Times, Benjamin completes his historical account of the region by taking readers from the post-Civil War period into the present day.  

  Scott Woolley's new book, The Network: The Battle for the Airwaves and the Birth of the Communications Age is the origin story of the airwaves - the foundational technology of the communications age - as told through the forty-year friendship of an entrepreneurial industrialist and a brilliant inventor.

  John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind—a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise, yet dedicated himself to politics and government. The son of John Adams, he was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office—at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate.

In John Quincy Adams, scholar and journalist James Traub draws on Adams’ diary, letters, and writings to evoke a diplomat and president whose ideas remain with us today.

  A feminist, an outspoken activist, a woman without a college education, Midge Costanza was one of the unlikeliest of White House insiders. Yet in 1977 she became the first female Assistant to the President for Public Liaison under Jimmy Carter, emerging as a prominent focal point of the American culture wars. Tasked with bringing the views of special interest groups to the president, Costanza championed progressive causes even as Americans grew increasingly divided on the very issues for which she fought. 

In A Feminist in the White House, Doreen Mattingly draws on Costanza's personal papers to shed light on the life of this fascinating and controversial woman.

  In The Highest Glass Ceiling, best-selling historian Ellen Fitzpatrick tells the story of three remarkable women who set their sights on the American presidency. Victoria Woodhull (1872), Margaret Chase Smith (1964), and Shirley Chisholm (1972) each challenged persistent barriers confronted by women presidential candidates.

Their quest illuminates today’s political landscape, showing that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign belongs to a much longer, arduous, and dramatic journey.

  In his new book, The End of White Christian America, Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, challenges us to grasp the profound political and cultural consequences of a new reality—that America is no longer a majority white Christian nation.

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA)—the cultural and political edifice built primarily by white Protestant Christians—set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white Christian nation.

  Set against the backdrop of an expanding nation, Eric Jay Dolin's book, Brilliant Beaconstraces the evolution of America's lighthouse system from its earliest days, highlighting the political, military, and technological battles fought to illuminate the nation's hardscrabble coastlines.

Beginning with "Boston Light," America's first lighthouse, Dolin shows how the story of America, from colony to regional backwater, to fledging nation, and eventually to global industrial power, can be illustrated through its lighthouses.

Pages