history

  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.

  Confucius is perhaps the most important philosopher in history. Today, his teachings shape the daily lives of more than 1.6 billion people.

Throughout East Asia, Confucius’s influence can be seen in everything from business practices and family relationships to educational standards and government policies. Even as western ideas from Christianity to Communism have bombarded the region, Confucius’s doctrine has endured as the foundation of East Asian culture.

Michael Schuman's new book is Confucius: And the World He Created.

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.

    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.

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.

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