history

A strong willed and device of figure in British and International politics- Margaret Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, and the first woman to hold the office. She oversaw Britain’s biggest social and political revolution in its post war history.

Jonathan Aitken, Cabinet administer under Thatcher, and a close family friend of 40 years- had a unique vantage point, and brings new light to many crucial episodes of the Thatcher era. He writes about it in his new book, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality.

He speaks about the source of the boundless ambition, and what gave root to her astonishing force of personality.

  Based on years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.

Scott Anderson is an American novelist, journalist, and a veteran war correspondent.

    California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It’s the work of history.

Jared Farmer's book, Trees in Paradise offers an insightful, new perspective on the history of the Golden State and the American West.

Jared Farmer, a Utah native and former Californian, is the author of On Zion’s Mount, a landscape history awarded the prestigious Parkman Prize for literary excellence. He teaches history at Stony Brook University and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

 

 Launched on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme has come to epitomize the madness of the First World War. Almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 40,000 were wounded that first day, and there were more than one million casualties by the time the offensive halted.

In The Great War, acclaimed cartoon journalist Joe Sacco depicts the events of that day in an extraordinary, 24-foot long panorama: from General Douglas Haig and the massive artillery positions behind the trench lines to the legions of soldiers going “over the top” and getting cut down in no-man’s-land, to the tens of thousands of wounded soldiers retreating and the dead being buried en masse.

Printed on fine accordion-fold paper and packaged in a slipcase with a 16-page booklet, The Great War is a landmark in Sacco’s illustrious career and allows us to see the War to End All Wars as we’ve never seen it before.

    Much of the history of New York's scenic Mohawk Valley has been recounted time and again. But so many other stories have remained buried, almost lost from memory. Enter Bob Cudmore and his new book - Hidden History of the Mohawk Valley: The Baseball Oracle, the Mohawk Encampment and More.

The man called the baseball oracle correctly predicted the outcome of twenty-one major-league games. Mrs. Bennett, a friend of Governor Thomas Dewey, owned the Tower restaurant and lived in the unique Cranesville building. An Amsterdam sailor cheated death onboard a stricken submarine.

Not only people but once-loved places are also all but forgotten, like the twentieth-century Mohawk Indian encampment and the Camp in the Adirondacks, where Kirk Douglas was a counselor. Local historian Bob Cudmore delves deep into the region's history to find its most fascinating pieces of hidden history.

    

  Historian Lincoln Paine has just written a monumental retelling of world history through the lens of maritime enterprise, revealing in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, lake and stream, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world’s waterways, bringing together civilizations and defining what makes us most human.

In his book, Sea and Civilization: A Maitime History of the World, Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors’ first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas.

    

  From the author of the acclaimed Island at the Center of the Earth comes Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City; an endlessly entertaining portrait of the city of Amsterdam and the ideas that make it unique.

Weaving in his own experiences in his adopted home, Russell Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually engaging story of Amsterdam from the building of its first canals in the 1300s, through its brutal struggle for independence, its golden age as a vast empire, to its complex present in which its cherished ideals of liberalism are under siege.

Russell Shorto is the bestselling author of Descartes' Bones and The Island at the Center of the World and will be at Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga on Saturday at 7PM.

    This morning we spotlight New York Council for the Humanities and get seasonal and talk about their spooky humanities projects across New York.

We are joined by: Dr. Tim Madigan, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of Irish Studies at St. John Fisher College. Tim, in addition to giving talks about Frankenstein through the Council's Speakers in the Humanities program, is the organizer of a one-day public conference, "The Irish Vampire," exploring the life and influence of the Irish novelist, Bram Stoker, and his immortal 1897 work, Dracula.

Erika Sanger, Director of Education, The Albany Institute of History & Art. Erika joins us to talk about the exciting slate of programs she's organized around The Albany's Institute new exhibit, The Mystery of the Albany Mummies, specifically an upcoming project on Amenhotep's Mask and the Book of the Dead.

Anne Field of the Friends of the Town of Pelham Library is here to talk about Pelham Reads Frankenstein, a community-wide reading festival around Mary Shelley's 19th century classic novel.

Understanding Filibusters

Sep 29, 2013
Jim Levulis / WAMC

While Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s recent 21-hour talk on the Senate floor wasn’t a filibuster, the parliamentary procedure is certainly a unique part of our nation’s political workings.

Albany Ale Project

Sep 4, 2013

    In 2010, beer bloggers Alan McLeod and Craig Gravina stumbled across an early 19th century advertisement for Albany Ale—but what exactly was Albany Ale? That question took them on a journey through history spanning nearly 400 years—from the arrival of the first Dutch brewers to the 21st century.

Along the way, the duo has re-discovered the city’s mid-19th century phenomenon—a double-strength XX ale, brewed across the city and exported around the world—known as Albany Ale. Growing since 2010, this international research endeavor has been dubbed the Albany Ale Project, and is focused on bringing the history and stories of an industry that helped to build the capital city of New York to light.

Roger Savoy of Hennessy Home Brew Emporium and Ryan Demler of the Pump Station in Albany join us to tell us more.

    

  Simón Bolivar freed six countries from Spanish rule, traveled more than 75,000 miles on horseback to do so, and became the greatest figure in Latin American history. His life is epic, heroic, straight out of Hollywood: he fought battle after battle in punishing terrain, forged uncertain coalitions of competing forces and races, lost his beautiful wife soon after they married and never remarried (although he did have a succession of mistresses, including one who held up the revolution and another who saved his life), and he died relatively young, uncertain whether his achievements would endure.

Drawing on a wealth of primary documents, novelist and journalist Marie Arana brilliantly captures early nineteenth-century South America and the explosive tensions that helped revolutionize Bolívar.

    Americans cherish their national myths, some of which predate the country’s founding. But the time for illusions, nostalgia, and grand ambition abroad has gone by, according to journalist Patrick Smith in his new book, Time No Longer.

He says Americans are now faced with a choice between a mythical idea of themselves, their nation, and their global “mission,” on the one hand, and on the other an idea of America that is rooted in historical consciousness.

    When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. 

Robert Edsel joins us to talk about the efforts to save Italy’s great artistic treasures from the Nazis. 

His book is Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis.

  We are very happy to continue our new regular 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.

This morning we spotlight MASS Humanities and specifically we’ll talk about Reading Frederick Douglass. Our guests this morning are Pleun Bouricius, Assistant Director, Mass Humanities and Don Quinn Kelley, Founding Co-Chair Lift Ev'ry Voice Festival.

    Chesterwood, the country home, studio, and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor – Daniel Chester French is holding their Vintage Motorcar Festival this Sunday, May 26th – rain or shine – from 10am to 4pm.

    What would today’s technology look like with Victorian-era design and materials? That’s the world steampunk envisions: a mad-inventor collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions powered by steam and driven by gears.

In this book, futurist Brian David Johnson and cultural historian James Carrott explore steampunk, a cultural movement that’s captivated thousands of artists, designers, makers, hackers, and writers throughout the world.

  This week's Book Picks list comes from Bill Lewis of Northshire Bookstore.

List after the break.

    Operation Storm: Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II tells the riveting true story of Japan's top secret plan to change the course of World War II using a squadron of mammoth submarines a generation ahead of their time.

John Geoghegan has written extensively about aviation history, underwater exploration and marine engineering for The New York Times Science Section, Smithsonian Air & Space, WIRED, Popular Science, Aviation History, Military Heritage, Flight Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine.

    In Tara Conklin's debut novel, The House Girl: A Novel, two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, live lives that unexpectedly intertwine.

2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves.

1852: Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.

Margaret Thatcher, the first and only woman prime minister of Great Britain, left a personal style and political legacy that will be debated for years to come. Like her American ally and friend, Ronald Reagan, she took power at a time when her nation was seen by many to be in economic and international decline.

Professor Roy Ginsberg, chair of the department of government at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields on the Thatcher-Reagan alliance.

    In more than a century of vampires in pop culture, only one lord of the night truly stands out: Dracula. Though the name may conjure up images of Bela Lugosi lurking about in a cape and white pancake makeup in the iconic 1931 film, the character of Dracula—a powerful, evil Transylvanian aristocrat who slaughters repressed Victorians on a trip to London—was created in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same name, a work so popular it has spawned limitless reinventions in books and film.

But where did literature’s undead icon come from?

    In modern memory, Winston Churchill remains the man with the cigar and the equanimity among the ruins. Few can remember that at the age of 40, he was considered washed up, his best days behind him.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

    On Friday, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York kicked off their "100 Days" Countdown to the public opening of the Roosevelt Library's new permanent museum exhibits on June 30th. Today marks 97 days.

These exhibits will tell the story of the Roosevelt presidency beginning in the depths of the Great Depression and continuing through the New Deal years and World War II with an emphasis on both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt’s relationship with the American people. Special interactives, immersive audio‐visual theaters, and rarely seen artifacts will convey the dramatic story of the Roosevelt era as the Roosevelt Library brings a New Deal to a New Generation.

To help us countdown, we welcome Lynn Bassanese, Director of the FDR Presidential Library and Museum and Felica Wong, President and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute.

New Haven Colony Historical Society and Adams National Historic Site

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Historical Society has purchased a collection of letters written in the 1830s and 1840s by a woman describing the lives of the African captives from the slave ship Amistad.

The society paid $66,000 Tuesday for the letters written by Charlotte Cowles, whose abolitionist family took in one of the former Amistad captives.

Cowles described a captive showing her where she was burned on her shoulder with a red-hot pipe in Africa and her interactions with the leader of the captives.

      The Accursed is a major historical novel from Joyce Carol Oates - an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power, and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned.

      Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Nick Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable.

His book is Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.

How did a prisoner of war survive six years and eight months of soul-crushing imprisonment in the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War? By writing poetry. And how did he do it without pencil or paper?

Then-Captain John Borling "wrote" and memorized poems to keep his mind sharp and spirits up. He shared his creations with fellow captives by their only means of communication—the forbidden POW tap code. Rapping on the cell walls with his knuckles, he tapped poems, certainly of pain and despair, but also of humor, encouragement, and hope, to keep everyone’s strength and spirits alive.

John Borling joins us to talk about Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton.

Courtesy UMass Amherst

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “…truth cannot be found by violent means.” That idea is currently the topic of the course Ideas that Changed the World at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Tonight, UMass Amherst history professor and associate dean of the school’s Commonwealth Honors College, Daniel Gordon, will present a lecture titled The Fatal Truth: the Cult of Violence in Western Political Thought. He spoke with WAMC’s Patrick Donges.

unisonarts.org

  Actor, singer, athlete, scholar, and social activist, Paul Robeson, was born in 1898 and died at 77 years old in 1976 having been blacklisted during the Second Red Scare in the 1950s but – until the end of his life sticking to his political stances and his beliefs.

To celebrate Black History Month, Unison Arts in New Paltz, NY has partnered with the Black Studies and Fine and Performing Arts Departments at SUNY New Paltz to present Phillip Hayes Dean’s play Paul Robeson.

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