history

  Richard Rhodes is the Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

His new book, Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made, tells the remarkable story of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of the reporters, writers, artists, doctors, and nurses who witnessed it.

  The modern-day European Union was crafted in large part to minimize built-in geopolitical tensions that historically have torn it apart.

As George Friedman demonstrates in Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis In Europe, with a mix of rich history and cultural analysis, that design is failing.

  How did the Vietnam War change the way we think of ourselves as a people and a nation? Christian Appy, author of the oral history of the Vietnam War Patriots, now examines the relationship between the war’s realities and myths and its impact on our national identity, conscience, pride, shame, popular culture, and postwar foreign policy.

Drawing on a vast variety of sources from movies, songs, and novels to official documents, media coverage, and contemporary commentary, Appy offers an interpretation of the war and its far-reaching consequences. The new book is American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity.

He will be speaking about and signing his new book at Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA on Tuesday, February 24th.

  The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together?

In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link - corruption - in her book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.

    In January, 1649 -- after seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain's history, Parliament had overpowered King Charles I and now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to do the unthinkable, to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and hold Charles I to account for the appalling suffering and slaughter endured by his people. A tribunal of 135 men was hastily gathered in London, and although Charles refused to acknowledge the power of his subjects to try him, the death sentence was unanimously passed. On an icy winter's day on a scaffold outside Whitehall, in an event unique in English history, the King of England was executed. When the dead king's son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, he set about enacting a deadly wave of retribution against all those - the lawyers, the judges, the officers on the scaffold - responsible for his father's death. Some of the 'regicides' - the killers of the king - pleaded for mercy, while others stoically awaited their sentence.

Bestselling historian Charles Spencer explores this violent clash of ideals through the individuals whose fates were determined by that one, momentous decision in his book Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I.

  

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we check in with Mass Humanities to find out about the Disability History Museum, an online resource and archive that focuses on the history of disability and disability policy in the United States.

We are joined by Laurie Block, founder of the DHM, and Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for Mass Humanities. With them, we will explore the value and creation of online digital humanities resources, as well as this amazing collection of materials on the history of disability.

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Two historic hotels in the region are moving a step closer to finding new life in their communities. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports on the latest developments in Saratoga Springs and Cambridge.

  Sailing down the river that would later bear his captain’s name, explorer Robert Juet described the Hudson River Valley in 1609 as a “drowned land” submerged by a “great lake of water.” Over the next two centuries, this drowned landscape would be the site of a truly historic flowering of art, literature, architecture, innovation, and revolutionary fervor—drawing comparisons to another fertile cultural haven built around a might mighty river in Western Europe.

As historian Vernon Benjamin chronicles in The History Of The Hudson River Valley: From Wilderness To The Civil War, the Hudson River Valley has been a place of contradictions since its first settlement by Europeans. Discovered by an Englishman who claimed it for the Dutch, the region soon became home to the most vibrant trading outpost for the New World colonies—the Island of Manhattan—even as the rest of the valley retained the native beauty that would inspire artists from James Fenimore Cooper to Thomas Cole.

  In the bestselling tradition of The Where, the Why, and the How, The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History is an offbeat illustrated history reveals people you've probably never heard of, but who helped shape the word as we know it. Muses and neighbors, friends and relatives, accomplices and benefactors—such as Michael and Joy Brown, who gifted Harper Lee a year's worth of wages to help her write To Kill a Mockingbird. Or John Ordway, the colleague who walked with Lewis and Clark every step of the way.

Jenny Volvovski, one of the co-authors, joins us.

    A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Every year more than 9 million visitors trek to view her portrait in the Louvre.Yet while everyone recognizes her smile, hardly anyone knows her story.

Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered is a blend of biography, history, and memoir about the world’s most recognized face, most revered artist, and most praised and parodied painting.

    In August 1939, curators at the Louvre nestled the world's most famous painting into a special red-velvet-lined case and spirited her away to the Loire Valley. Thus began the biggest evacuation of art and antiquities in history. As the Germans neared Paris in 1940, the French raced to move the masterpieces still further south, then again and again during the war, crisscrossing the southwest of France. At times Mona Lisa slept at the bedside of curators who were painfully aware of their heavy responsibility.

  For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view?

In her book, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.

    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.

    

  Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the king to stay out of action on D-Day; he pioneered aerial bombing and few could match his experience in organizing violence on a colossal scale, yet he hated war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was the most famous journalist of his time and perhaps the greatest orator of all time, despite a lisp and chronic depression he kept at bay by painting.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death, Boris Johnson celebrates the brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century in the book, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History.

  In the summer of 1959, most of the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania---along with half a million steel workers around the country---went on strike in the longest labor stoppage in American history. With no paychecks coming in, the families of Braddock looked to its football team for inspiration.

Author and journalist Greg Nichols writes about it in his book, Striking Gridiron: A Town's Pride and a Team's Shot at Glory During the Biggest Strike in American History.

"Bring the War Home," which had been a rallying cry of the anti-Vietnam-War movement, was transformed on May 4, 1970 into a macabre irony when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student anti-war protesters at Kent State, killing four and wounding nine. Many, certainly not all, of the anti-war student activists were chauvinist, privileged, white men.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with Bob Weible, New York State Historian and Chief Curator for the New York State Museum, and learn about New York History Month.

  The Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Massachusetts was an ahead of its time boarding school that honored diversity and became the first co-ed integrated boarding school in the Berkshires.

After being a target of the Nazi regime, Max and Gertrud Bondy came to America and opened their school in Windsor, Vermont and later moved to Lenox in 1944.

Families like the Belafontes, Poitiers and Campanellas were attracted to the school for its multi-cultural and international curriculum. Then the school closed in 1975.

  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.

    In her followup to the best-selling Loving Frank, Nancy Horan recounts the improbably love affair between Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson and his American wife, Fanny Osbourne.

In The Wide and Starry Sky, Horan invites us to explore The Stevensons unusual relationship and the ways they changed the literary and artistic landscape around them.

  Evangelical Christianity and conservative politics are today seen as inseparable. But when Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and a born-again Christian, won the presidency in 1976, he owed his victory in part to American evangelicals, who responded to his open religiosity and his rejection of the moral bankruptcy of the Nixon Administration. Carter, running as a representative of the New South, articulated a progressive strand of American Christianity that championed liberal ideals, racial equality, and social justice—one that has almost been forgotten since.

In Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, acclaimed religious historian Randall Balmer reveals how the rise and fall of Jimmy Carter’s political fortunes mirrored the transformation of American religious politics.

  Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David is a day-by-day account of the 1978 Camp David conference, when President Jimmy Carter persuaded Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to sign the first peace treaty in the modern Middle East, one which endures to this day.

  Our next guest’s background is so fascinating – it is hard to know where to begin. Prize-winning novelist, playwright, theater director and actor Carey Harrison was born in London in February 1944, during the World War Two 'Blitz' that rained down bombs on the city. His parents, stage and screen actors Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer, brought him to Los Angeles when he was a year old, and then to New York when he was 5.

  Historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told that slavery and its expansion were central to the evolution and modernization of our nation in the 18th and 19th centuries, catapulting the US into a modern, industrial and capitalist economy. 

      Simon Winchester, The New York Times bestselling author of Atlanticand The Professor and the Madman delivers his first book about America.

The Men Who United the States is a fascinating history that illuminates the men who toiled to discover, connect, and bond the citizenry and geography of The United States of America.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

One of four remaining copies of the original Magna Carta is on display at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, surrounded by influential documents in American history.

  Renewed and vigorous debate over the death penalty has erupted as DNA testing has proven that many on death row are in fact innocent. In this debate, however, the guilty have been forgotten. In his new book, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America's Death Penalty, legal scholar Austin Sarat describes just how unquiet death by execution can be. If we assume a death row prisoner is guilty, how can we be sure that we are fulfilling the Supreme Court's mandate to ensure that his execution is "the mere extinguishment of life" and not a cruel and unusual punishment?

    Among the immortals—Leonardo, Rembrandt, Picasso—Michelangelo stands alone as a master of painting, sculpture, and architecture.

He was not only one of the greatest artists in an age of giants, but a man who reinvented the practice of art itself. Throughout his long career he clashed with patrons by insisting that he had no master but his own demanding muse and promoting the novel idea that it was the artist, rather than the lord who paid for it, who was creative force behind the work.

  We are very happy to continue our weekly feature on the RT, entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter. This morning we welcome the folks from NY Humanities to discuss the importance of remembering World War One through literature.

Wendy Galgan, Assistant Professor of English at St. Francis College joins us to discuss the New York Council for the Humanities' Our World Remade: WWI New Reading & Discussion Series.

  

  We are very happy to continue our weekly feature on The Roundtable, entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with the New York Council for the Humanities and learn about about the history of Freedom Summer - 50 years ago - and its importance today. We are joined by Dr. Emilye Crosby is a history professor at SUNY Geneseo and the coordinator of the Africana/Black Studies program. She has written A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi and edited Civil Rights History from the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement.

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