france

Tom Schachtman will be at The White Hart Inn in Salisbury, CT tonight to read from and discuss his new book, How the French Saved AmericaThe White Hart Speaker Series is presented in collaboration with Oblong Books & Music & Scoville Memorial Library

Americans today have a love/hate relationship with France, but in this illuminating new history, Tom Shachtman shows that without France, there might not be a United States of America.

To the rebelling colonies, French assistance made the difference between looming defeat and eventual triumph. Even before the Declaration of Independence was issued, King Louis XVI and French foreign minister Vergennes were aiding the rebels. After the Declaration, that assistance broadened to include wages for our troops; guns, cannon, and ammunition; engineering expertise that enabled victories and prevented defeats; diplomatic recognition; safe havens for privateers; battlefield leadership by veteran officers; and the army and fleet that made possible the Franco-American victory at Yorktown. 

Now in its 8th season, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice will celebrate all things French at this year’s celebration August 4-6.

Remaining true to its mission of bringing together some of the world’s greatest vocal talent to audiences in the Catskills region, this year’s Festival will host internationally acclaimed performers and composers in a series of unforgettable open-air summer concerts that all share the alluring theme of French culture – including the star event, the beloved opera La Boheme. 

The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is a one-of-a-kind music event that allows audiences to experience world-class talent, often only seen in metropolitan venues, in a more intimate setting while relishing the stunning beauty of the surrounding Catskills Mountains.

We are joined now by General Director Maria Todaro and Artistic Director, Louis Otey.

7/13/17 Panel

Jul 13, 2017

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today’s panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus Ira Fusfeld, and Communications Consultant Theresa Bourgeois.

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It was the lowest voter turnout for a French presidential election run-off in 48 years, but the winner scored an overwhelming victory. Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year old political novice with a background in investment banking, won 66 percent of the vote over Marine Le Pen of The National Front. 

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The voters of France will go to the polls on May 7 to elect a new president. After a preliminary ballot over the weekend, the choice has been narrowed down to two candidates - right wing nationalist Marine Le Pen and Independent Emmanuel Macron, who now holds a big lead in the polls and is expected to win next month.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their conversation about female composers - focusing on Nadia and Lili Boulanger.

Music - a portion of Lili Boulanger’s Psalm 130 - Du fond de l’amibe recorded by  American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Bostein.

  Claude Monet is perhaps the world's most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Seeing them in museums around the world, viewers are transported by the power of Monet's brush into a peaceful world of harmonious nature. Monet himself intended them to provide “an asylum of peaceful meditation.”

Yet, as Ross King reveals in Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies his chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, water, and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life.

  Even with last week's terror attack, Paris is still the City of Light. Luc Sante wants us to remember that Paris has a history of the city of the poor, the eccentric, the outcast, the willfully nonconforming. In his book The Other Paris, gives us a panoramic view of that second metropolis, which has nearly vanished but whose remains in the bricks and stones of the contemporary city, in the culture of the city itself, and by extension, around the world. 

  Sarah Vowell is the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. Her latest look at history is an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette.

Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.

  Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living.

While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure.

Sciolino reveals the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its longtime residents—the Tunisian greengrocer, the husband-and-wife cheesemongers, the showman who’s been running a transvestite cabaret for more than half a century, the owner of a 100-year-old bookstore, the woman who repairs eighteenth-century mercury barometers—bringing Paris alive in all of its unique majesty.

Elaine Sciolino’s new book is The Only Street In Paris: Life On The Rue Des Martyrs.

  In this week’s Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock asks Yehuda about music he discovered in France this past summer.

In the segment we hear an excerpt from Joseph-Ermend Bonnal's "Quatuor à cordes No 1: Assez vif, âpres et sarcastique" and "Les Docks" from Vincent Beer Demander's Massalia Concerto.

  Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Festival of Books, the annual extravaganza of all things literary, takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 4 through 7, 2015. The Festival features a giant used book sale, two days of readings and book signings by nationally known and local authors, and a children’s program.

One of this year's participating authors is Alex Kershaw. His new book (also featured on WAMC's The Book Show this week) Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris - recounts the story of one family’s heroic efforts to defeat the evil in their midst.

He will participate in the discussion "Heroes and Spies, Real and Imagined" at the Festival of Books on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

    

  Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte was renowned as the most beautiful woman of nineteenth-century Baltimore. Her marriage in 1803 to Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, became inextricably bound to the diplomatic and political histories of the United States, France, and England.

In Wondrous Beauty, Carol Berkin tells the story of this audacious, outsized life.

    On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation-even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes-Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners-rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle.

Ronald C. Rosbottom writes about this time in his new book, When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944.

  

  Courtney Maum splits her time between the Berkshires, New York City, and Paris, working as a creative brand strategist, corporate namer, and humor columnist. Her debut novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You is out in paperback this week.

She will be at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA on 4/8 and will participate in Literary Death Match at The Mount in Lenox, MA on 4/24.

On her book tour, Courtney will conduct interviews what people have learned about long-term love. People can participate using the hashtag #lovenotes - Courtney will share content on her Tumblr and her Facebook author page.

  Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all times.

Andrew Roberts’ Napoleon: A Life is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation.

  Mademoiselle Chanel is an insightful and well-researched book of the extraordinary fashion designer Coco Chanel - the ambitious, gifted laundry woman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the 20th century.

Author C.W. Gortner’s recreates the inner life of this woman of staggering ambition who transformed the fashion world with the strength, passion, and artistic vision that became her trademark.

1/8/15 Panel

Jan 8, 2015

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Political Consultant Libby Post and Daily Freeman Publisher Emeritus Ira Fusfeld.

Scheduled discussion topics include: Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, Texas abortion rules, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's message on the middle class; Antibiotic news.

1/7/15 Panel

Jan 7, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, political consultant Libby Post, and WAMC newsman, Ray Graf.

Topics include: Shootings in France at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and in El Paso at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System's clinic, Gay Marriage in Florida, Robert F. McDonnell sentenced to two years in prison, Boehner beats dissent.

  To mark the anniversary of everyone's favorite schoolgirl, Madeline, the exhibition,Madeline At 75: The Art Of Ludwig Bemelmans, celebrates Ludwig Bemelmans's legacy. The show will open at The Carle on November 15.

Drawings from each of the six Madeline books will be on view, plus a generous cross-section of his other artwork for children and adults. A Bemelmans bar brought back from Paris, delightful fabric designs, and memorabilia like the Bad Hat's original hat are just a few of the treasures that will be on view.

Listener Essay - And Also Our Thanks

Nov 11, 2014

  And Also Our Thanks

One Sunday in Paris with my friends Garry and Martine, we searched for the remains of the old Bastille. What’s left of this fortress today is a few foundation stones, forming an outline of the building in Paris’s cobbled streets. Despite connotations of revolution and war, the Bastille really isn’t all that big.

In no time we had rounded the block to find ourselves in front of a pharmacy. I quickly went in to buy something. I walked out to find my friends talking with an older gentleman on his way to the market. As I was introduced, he asked if I was an American.

“Je suis Américain” I replied in my cobbled-together French.

Then he thanked me for saving France.

  The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio is major biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who, at age nineteen, volunteered to fight under George Washington.

    

  The Statue of Liberty has become one of the most recognizable monuments in the world: a symbol of freedom and the American Dream. In her new book, Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty, journalist Elizabeth Mitchell tells the story of the envisioning, funding and building of the Statue of Liberty - dispelling long-standing myths around its creation.

We all know the legend that the statue was a gift from France, but that implies that the government of France gave it to the government of America. In reality, it was the inspiration of the French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, hungry for fame and adoration.

    In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Toussaint-Augustin Gouffé entered 3, rue Tronson du Coudray, he expected nothing but a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard. Instead, he was murdered—hanged!—by her and her companion Michel Eyraud. The body was then stuffed in a trunk and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon.

As the inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the woman the French tabloids dubbed the "Little Demon" escalated, the most respected minds in France debated whether Gabrielle Bompard was the pawn of her mesmerizing lover or simply a coldly calculating murderess.

Steven Levingston, the nonfiction editor of The Washington Post, writes about Gabrielle Bompard and hypnosis in his book, Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris.

    The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary’s fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.

In I Always Loved You, Robin Oliveira brilliantly re-creates the irresistible world of Belle Époque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.

    The Berkshire Botanical Garden will present guest lecturer Louis Benech for their 2014 Winter Lecture, “Freedom And Responsibility In My Approach To Garden Design,” taking place on February 8th at Monument Mountain High School in Great Barrington, MA.

Louis Benech came to gardening through his love of plants. In 1985, he began his career as a garden designer and landscape architect. Since then, he has designed and carried out some 300 projects, from Korea to Panama, from New Zealand to the United States. While most of his work has been for private individuals, he has also received commissions from large multinational companies such as Hermès, Axa and Novartis. He has also worked on many established historic gardens, such as those at the Elysée Palace, the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, the gardens of the Archives Nationales in Paris, and the Achilleion in Corfu. He is currently working on the creation of a new garden in the Water Theatre Grove of the Palace of Versailles.