history

  In 1944, hundreds of Allied soldiers were trapped in prisoner-of-war camps in occupied France, fighting brutal conditions and unsympathetic captors. The odds of their survival were long. The odds of escaping, even longer.

But one man had the courage to fight the odds. In Behind Nazi Lines: My Father’s Heroic Quest To Save 149 World War II Pow’s, Andrew Hodges tells the true story of his father’s brave mission behind enemy lines to negotiate the safety of prisoners.

Dr. Andrew Hodges Jr. is the firstborn son of World War II hero Andrew Gerow Hodges. He is a psychiatrist in private practice and has served as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Dr. Hodges has helped pioneer a breakthrough to the brilliant unconscious mind, which he explained in his groundbreaking book, The Deeper Intelligence.

  In his new book, Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment in World War II, bestselling author Richard Reeves provides an authoritative account of the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese aliens during World War II.

  Erik Larson has made a career of bringing half-remembered history to vivid, vibrant life. He has done so in his best-sellers: The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck, In the Garden of Beasts, and Isaac’s Storm.

Widely acclaimed as the master of page-turning non-fiction sagas, he now brings another past event alive – this time, the last crossing of the Lusitania.

Marisa Scheinfeld

  Photographer Marisa Scheinfeld grew up in New York’s Catskills region, not far from its legendary resorts of the Borscht Belt, a name derived from the area’s popularity with Jews from the New York region who for years were not welcome at many other vacation spots.

For much of the 20th century the Borscht Belt was a thriving vacation destination, home to hundreds of hotels and motels, from famed high-end resorts such as Grossinger’s and the Concord to modest bungalow colonies. In its heyday, the area was known especially for its nightlife, with top comedians and other performers appearing regularly there.

By the time Scheinfeld was growing up there in the 1980s and ‘90s, however, economic and other factors had sent the region into rapid decline, leading many of the hotels and clubs to close. For the past five years, Scheinfeld has documented that decline through a series of evocative, sometimes ghostly large-scale images of dozens of empty hotels.

An exhibit of that work, Echoes from the Borscht Belt: Contemporary Photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld, is at the Yiddish Book Center’s Brechner Gallery.

  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.

  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.

David McCullough won Pulitzers for his biographies, Truman and John Adams. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

This is an “Off the Shelf” edition of the Book Show in partnership with Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY and recorded before a live audience.

    In six weeks during April and May 1915, as World War I escalated, Germany forever altered the way war would be fought. On April 22, at Ypres, German canisters spewed poison gas at French and Canadian soldiers in their trenches; on May 7, the German submarine U-20, without warning, torpedoed the passenger liner Lusitania, killing 1,198 civilians; and on May 31, a German Zeppelin began the first aerial bombardment of London and its inhabitants. Each of these actions violated rules of war carefully agreed at the Hague Conventions of 1898 and 1907. Though Germany's attempts to quickly win the war failed, the psychological damage caused by these attacks far outweighed the casualties. The era of weapons of mass destruction had dawned.

  In his new book, The Wright Brothers, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?

  Historian Jonathan Schneer joins us to talk about his new book on Winston Churchill and the politics of the Second World War, Ministers at War.

Schneer says while Churchill’s most notable contribution was to rally his embattled country behind the war effort, he highlights yet another major achievement: the putting together and managing of the domestic coalition that allowed Britain to mobilize all of its resources for war.

The team he put together was extremely talented, but they were also ambitious, self-confident, and opinionated.

State lawmakers are expecting passage of a bill that would help establish a regional visitor center for the upper Hudson and Hoosic river valleys.

  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.

Bad Days In History

Apr 21, 2015

  In their new Bad Days in History project, National Geographic and author Michael Farquhar uncover an instance of bad luck, epic misfortune, and unadulterated mayhem tied to every day of the year.

From Caligula's blood-soaked end to hotelier Steve Wynn's unfortunate run-in with a priceless Picasso, they have collected 365 tales of misery include lost fortunes (like the would-be Apple investor who pulled out in 1977 and missed out on a $30 billion-dollar windfall) and truly bizarre moments (like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919).

Michael Farquhar joins us this morning to discuss his new book: Bad Days in History.

    

  Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we are talking with filmmaker Ian Cheney and Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for Mass Humanities, about this year's Massachusetts History Conference, which is called, “Chew on This: Presenting Food in Massachusetts Public History” and will take place on June 1 in Worcester, where Cheney s giving the keynote address.

With them, we will discuss Cheney's new documentary, The Search for General Tso, which was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The film is about the importance and excitement of learning to understand where our food comes from and how it got to the shelf.

  The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region's 14th Annual Public History Conference is taking place this weekend - April 17-19.

This year's conference is entitled "Breaking Free: Civil War, Emancipation, and Beyond" and will feature among its events, a Saturday Morning Keynote - "Underground Railroad to the Fight Against Neoliberal Racism: The Long Struggle for Black Liberation" presented by Henry Louis Taylor, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at University at Buffalo and the Founding Director of the Center for Urban Studies.

Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr.'s research focuses on a historical and contemporary analysis of distressed urban neighborhoods, social isolation and race and class issues among people of color, especially African Americans and Latinos.

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.

  It’s time now for our weekly feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we’ll discuss active use and re-use of historical sites – specifically Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondack Mountains. Joining us is Garet Livermore, executive director of Great Camp Sagamore, which simultaneously celebrates its historical heritage while remaining in active use. Balancing these two presents a unique challenge in the maintenance and conceptualizing of a historical site.

    

  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.

  Cesar Chavez founded a labor union, launched a movement, and inspired a generation. He rose from migrant worker to national icon, becoming one of the great charismatic leaders of the 20th century. Two decades after his death, Chavez remains the most significant Latino leader in US history. Yet his life story has been told only in hagiography--until now.

In the first comprehensive biography of Chavez, Miriam Pawel offers a searching yet empathetic portrayal.

  There is a major new exhibit - Alcohol in Vermont: Creation to Consumption, Tolerance to Temperance – which is on view at the Bennington Museum, in Bennington, VT from now through June 21st. The exhibition and related events examine the significant role of alcohol in Vermont’s history.

  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.

  The play, Life in a Jar tells the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker, who assisted in hiding over 2,000 Jewish children who had been living in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

While the play dramatizes Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto during the war; it relays, as importantly, the heroic story of the 'righteous gentiles' who put their lives and that of their families at grave risk to save others by forging documents and hiding and placing Jewish children in convents and Polish homes

The impact of the Irena Sendler Project are many, including the book - Life in a Jar by Jack Mayer who will be attending two performances at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs and will take part in the Q and A following the play.

  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.

Lenox Library Association

Nearly 2,300 items from the Lenox Library just completed a journey from the bookshelves to the internet. It’s part of an effort to preserve history while meeting researchers the curious where they populate in the 21st century.

The French Revolution challenged the foundation of the social order in essentially every political structure in Europe. In his new book, Phantom Terror: Political Paranoia and the Creation of the Modern State, 1789-1848, historian Adam Zamoyski examines the years after the French Revolution when conservative governments from Britain to Russia responded to France’s Revolution. With the hope of protecting their own power against the threat of rebellion, they implemented various forces which policed both the speech and actions of civilians.

Although Zamoyski focuses on a fixed period in human history, his novel provides a fascinating insight into how human beings operate when motivated by power.

  Peter Carey is a two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize - and he's one of only three authors to have won Prize twice. Carey’s newest novel is Amnesia, a cyber-terrorism political thriller that explores Australia’s history and politics, and its quasi-colonial relationship with the United States, during three different periods of recent history: the 1940s, the 1970s, and the present-day era of cybersecurity, hackers, and WikiLeaks.

  Every American president, when faced with a crisis, longs to take bold and decisive action. When American lives or vital interests are at stake, the public—and especially the news media and political opponents—expect aggressive leadership. But, contrary to the dramatizations of Hollywood, rarely does a president have that option.

  In Pictures at a Revolution, Mark Harris turned the story of the five movies nominated for Best Picture in 1967 into a landmark work of cultural history, a book about the transformation of an art form and the larger social shift it signified.

In his new book, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and The Second World War, he achieves something larger and even more remarkable, giving us the untold story of how Hollywood changed World War II, and how World War II changed Hollywood, through the prism of five film directors caught up in the war: John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens.

  In Mea Culpa: Lessons on Law and Regret from U.S. History, Steven W. Bender examines how the United States’ collective shame about its past has shaped the evolution of law and behavior.

We regret slavery and segregationist Jim Crow laws. We eventually apologize, while ignoring other oppressions, and our legal response to regret often fails to be transformative for the affected groups.

  

  There will be a Black History Month event at The Egg in Albany on Saturday, Feb. 28, that will combine music, speeches and a panel discussion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches and to discuss ongoing civil rights efforts.

They keynote speakers will be Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed and Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark.

Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed joins us. His most recent book is The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism.

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