american history

The Roundtable
11:12 am
Thu February 19, 2015

The Return Of George Washington

  In The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson recovers a crucially important—yet almost always overlooked—chapter of George Washington’s life, revealing how Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president.

The Roundtable
10:40 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Thomas Jefferson: President And Philosopher

  Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States. He was one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence. But he was also a lawyer and an ambassador, an inventor and a scientist. He had a wide range of interests and hobbies, but his consuming interest was the survival and success of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher is an illustrated edition of the #1 New York Times bestselling Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham. The book intends to teach young readers about the life and political philosophy of one of our Founding Fathers.

The Roundtable
10:10 am
Thu February 19, 2015

The Making Of America's First Leader

  George Washington was famously unknowable, a man of deep passions hidden behind a facade of rigid self-control. Yet before he was a great general and president, Washington was a young man prone to peevishness and a volcanic temper. His greatness as a leader evolved over time, the product of experience and maturity but also a willed effort to restrain his wilder impulses.

Robert Middlekauff focuses on Washington’s early years in his new book, Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader.

The Roundtable
11:35 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Ulysses S. Grant And Robert E. Lee: The War They Fought, The Peace They Forged

  They met in person only four times, yet these two men—Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee—determined the outcome of America's most divisive war and cast larger-than-life shadows over their reunited nation. They came from vastly different backgrounds: Lee from a distinguished family of waning fortunes; Grant, a young man on the make in a new America. Differing circumstances colored their outlooks on life: Lee, the melancholy realist; Grant, the incurable optimist.

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The Roundtable
11:12 am
Wed February 11, 2015

'The Cause Of All Nations: An International History Of The American Civil War'

  When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance—that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed “perish from the earth.”

In The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions.

The Roundtable
10:35 am
Wed February 11, 2015

'The Man Who Would Not Be Washington' By Jonathan Horn

  On the eve of the Civil War, one soldier embodied the legacy of George Washington and the hopes of leaders across a divided land. Both North and South knew Robert E. Lee as the son of Washington’s most famous eulogist and the son-in-law of Washington’s adopted child. Each side sought his service for high command. Lee could choose only one.

In The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn reveals how the officer most associated with Washington went to war against the union that Washington had forged. This extensively researched and gracefully written biography follows Lee through married life, military glory, and misfortune.

The Roundtable
11:35 am
Wed December 17, 2014

'Two Days In June: John F. Kennedy And The 48 Hours That Made History'

  On two consecutive days in June 1963, in two lyrical speeches, John F. Kennedy pivots dramatically and boldly on the two greatest issues of his time: nuclear arms and civil rights. In language unheard in lily white, Cold War America, he appeals to Americans to see both the Russians and the "Negroes" as human beings.

His speech on June 10 leads to the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963; his speech on June 11 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Based on new material -- hours of recently uncovered documentary film shot in the White House and the Justice Department, fresh interviews, and a rediscovered draft speech -- Two Days in June by Andrew Cohen captures Kennedy at the high noon of his presidency in startling, granular detail.

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The Roundtable
10:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

“The Hidden White House” By Robert Klara

In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House’s second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country’s top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately.

What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. Robert Klara writes about this period in his book, The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence.

Robert Klara is a longtime magazine editor and writer. He’s served on the mastheads of numerous titles including Town & Country and Architecture, and he’s currently a staff writer for Adweek and a contributing editor for American Road magazine.

The Roundtable
11:35 am
Tue December 2, 2014

'When Lions Roar: The Churchills And The Kennedys' By Thomas Maier

    When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill's country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the soon-to-be American ambassador to Great Britain and the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates – soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK's sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr. By the 1960s and JFK's presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the “greatness” in each other.

Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons – and the remarkable women in their lives – providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage and ambition that shaped them.

The Roundtable
11:35 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Richard Norton Smith On Nelson Rockefeller At NYS Writers Institute

   Historian and biographer Richard Norton Smith is in our region talking about his new book, On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller. Fourteen years in the writing, the book is being hailed as the definitive biography of the New York governor and U.S. vice president.

Historian Douglas Brinkley described the book as, “one of the greatest cradle-to-grave biographies written in the past fifty years.”

The New York State Writers Institute presents a conversation with Richard Norton Smith at 4:15 this afternoon in the Standish Room in the Science Library at SUNY Albany, and Smith will be speaking tonight at 7:30 about his biography at Page Hall on SUNY Albany’s Downtown Campus at 8PM.

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