american history

In his new book The Age of Clinton: America In The 1990s, historian Gil Troy, asks us to look past our prejudices about William Jefferson Clinton's Presidency and instead focus on the way in which his time in office shaped the culture of the 1990's. The book also of course sheds light on Hillary Clinton's Political career as we approach the 2016 Presidential Election.

A child of wealth and privilege possessing unlimited will and ambition, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, seemed destined for the presidency. The nation he lead was large in population, rich in resources, committed to a universal ideology of liberal democracy, and destined for grand geopolitical power. A man and a nation were each poised on the brink of greatness. FDR's twelve years in The White House culminated in what can justly be called an 'American century'. This convergence of individual and national destinies created a large and complex story that remains essential to our understanding the world in which we live in today. 

  In the summer of 1804, two of America's most eminent statesmen squared off, pistols raised, on a bluff along the Hudson River. That two such men would risk not only their lives but the stability of the young country they helped forge is almost beyond comprehension. Yet we know that it happened. The question is why.

    When the United States government passed the Bill of Rights in 1791, its uncompromising protection of speech and of the press were unlike anything the world had ever seen before. But by 1798, the once-dazzling young republic of the United States was on the verge of collapse: partisanship gripped the weak federal government, British seizures threatened American goods and men on the high seas, and war with France seemed imminent as its own democratic revolution deteriorated into terror. Suddenly, the First Amendment, which protected harsh commentary of the weak government, no longer seemed as practical.

So that July, President John Adams and the Federalists in control of Congress passed an extreme piece of legislation that made criticism of the government and its leaders a crime punishable by heavy fines and jail time. In Liberty’s First Crisis, writer Charles Slack tells the story of the 1798 Sedition Act, the crucial moment when high ideals met real-world politics and the country’s future hung in the balance.

  In his new book, A Nation Of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, veteran NPR correspondent  Tom Gjelten assesses the impact and importance of the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act by interweaving the story a handful of immigrant families with the history and analysis of the immigration changes in America as a whole. The fiftieth anniversary of the 1965 act is this month and immigration continues to be a hot button issue in American politics.

Tom Gjelten is a long time NPR news correspondent, he's covered wars in Central America, the Middle East, and the former Yugoslavia, as well as major national stories in the United States. His NPR reporting has won him two Overseas Press Club Awards, a George Polk Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. 

  In The Last of the President’s Men, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Bob Woodward reveals the untold story of Alexander Butterfield, the Nixon aide who disclosed the secret White House taping system that led to Nixon’s resignation. This is the story of a mysterious relationship that changed history, told from the vantage point of someone who sat in the office adjacent to the most powerful man in the world.

Woodward’s fifth book on President Nixon completes the missing piece of the puzzle and seeks to answer the questions: Why would one of Nixon’s closest aides divulge a devastating secret, and what allowed Nixon to let this aide get so close?

Bob Woodward is an associate editor at The Washington Post, where he has worked for 44 years. He has shared in two Pulitzer Prizes, first for the Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein, and later for coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

  The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

First released in 2013, the best-selling book has been released in a Young Readers Adaptation by Viking Books.

  The history of the Catskills is pivotal in the history of our country that is described in great detail in Stephen Silverman’s, The Catskills: Its History and How It Changed America.

Silverman’s book brings to life the beauty, vastness and turning points of the Catskills history, sharing stimulating stories of the region’s influential entrepreneurs, artists, gangsters, politicians, musicians and outcasts.

Vital to the development of America, the Catskills region was the birthplace of New York’s own Declaration of Independence, a central location for America’s industrial revolution, a rising resort town with hundreds of hotels and an artistic muse for the 19th century Hudson River School of Art and 20th century entertainers like Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Joan Rivers.

1933 was a banner year for lawlessness in America. Gangsters who honed their skills fighting the law during prohibition year threw their efforts into new schemes, bank robbing, extortion, and kidnapping on a nationwide scale; evading the police was often just a matter of cross a state line, but then one kidnapping changed everything. Joe Urschel tells the story in his new The Year Of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly And The Manhunt That Changed The Nation.

  This Saturday, the Washington County Historical Society will present the program: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again: 150 Years since the End of the Civil War and the Return of Our Own 123rd Regiment” in Salem, NY.

Joining us: Pat Niles, retired high school history teacher from Salem who is a Washington Co. Historical Society board member and is scheduled to be the next WCHS president. Also joining us is Mike Russert who is a retired teacher from Hoosick Falls Central. He is an expert on local history with a particular interest in the 123rd Regiment from Washington Co. He will be a speaker at the 9/26 event.

Debi Craig is a board member and former president of the WCHS, she is the Event Coordinator for “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” and chairperson of the Programming Committee.

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