war

Starting on Tuesday, November 7th, the National Geographic Channel will premiere The Long Road Home Based on the New York Times bestseller by ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz, the eight-part mini-series tells the story of the ambush and the three heroic rescue missions launched to save the platoon.

It also focuses on the home front, as wives and mothers waited anxiously for word and drew support from one another.

Martha Raddatz joins us this morning to discuss the mini-series, which was filmed at Fort Hood. She also discusses the profound impact these American heroes have had on her life and why she wants everyone to know their story. 

Ron Chernow is the prizewinning author and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton (the inspiration for the Broadway musical) won the American History Book Prize.

His new book, Grant, provides a complete understanding of Ulysses S. Grant -- the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

The story begins in 2007 when Deborah Campbell travels undercover to Damascus to report on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. There she meets and hires Ahlam, a refugee working as a “fixer”—providing Western media with trustworthy information and contacts to help get the news out. Ahlam, who fled her home in Iraq after being kidnapped while running a humanitarian centre, not only supports her husband and two children through her work with foreign journalists but is setting up a makeshift school for displaced girls. She has become a charismatic, unofficial leader of the refugee community in Damascus, and Campbell is inspired by her determination to create something good amid so much suffering. Ahlam soon becomes her friend as well as her guide. But one morning Ahlam is seized from her home in front of Campbell’s eyes. Haunted by the prospect that their work together has led to her friend’s arrest, Campbell spends the months that follow desperately trying to find her—all the while fearing she could be next.

Deborah Campbell is an award-winning writer known for combining culturally immersive fieldwork with literary journalism in places such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, Israel, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico and Russia. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, the EconomistForeign Policy, the GuardianNew ScientistMs., and other publications.

Her new book is A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War.

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. 

In 1989, Ken Follett published the historical epic The Pillars of the Earth, a departure for the bestselling writer which was praised for its ambitious scope and unforgettable cast of characters. It reached #1 on bestseller lists around the world, and has since become Follett’s most popular novel.

Ten years ago, Oprah selected The Pillars of the Earth for her Book Club, and Follett published the second book in the Kingsbridge series, World Without End.  The two books in the series have sold 38 million copies.

The saga now continues with Follett’s new epic, A Column Of Fire, coming tomorrow, which will introduce readers to a world of spies and secret agents in the sixteenth century, the time of Queen Elizabeth I. 

A Column Of Fire begins in 1558 where the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love. We can read the book tomorrow – we talk with best-selling author Ken Follett this morning. 

Good Men Wanted at Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theatre
Buck Lewis

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre’s second mainstage show this summer is Good Men Wanted. The new play is about women who - for varied reasons and to varied ends - disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War.

The drama punctuated by explosive dance sequences - choreographed by Ani Taj and set to contemporary pop music. They play is written by Kevin Armento and directed by Jaki Bradley who joins us.

Corey Cott in Bandstand
Jeremy Daniel


  The Broadway musical Bandstand -- currently running at the Jacobs Theatre in New York City, brings the swing-fueled, against-all-odds story of singer/songwriter Donny Novitski and his band of mismatched fellow vets brilliantly to the stage.

 

Starring Laura Osnes and Corey Cott and directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbeuler -- who won a Tony Award this month for his incredible choreography, Bandstand features music and lyrics by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by the Capital Region’s own Robert Taylor.

 

The original Broadcast cast recording is available today from Broadway Records.

 

We spoke with intensely talented leading man, Corey Cott, in New York a couple of months ago -- right after the show opened and while they were recording the album.  Cott’s previous Broadway roles include Jack in Disney’s Newsies and Gaston in the 2015 revival of Gigi.

 

Admiral James Stavridis is one of the most admired admirals of his generation and the only admiral to serve as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. His new book Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans takes readers on a voyage through the world’s most important bodies of water, providing the story of naval power as a driver of human history and a crucial element in our current geopolitical path. 

A retired 4-star admiral with 35 years of active service in the Navy, Stavridis served as the Supreme Allied Commander for Global Operations at NATO from 2009 to 2013. Again, his new book is Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

David A. Nichols, a leading expert on the Eisenhower presidency, holds a PhD in history from the College of William and Mary. A former professor and academic dean at Southwestern College, he is the author of A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution; Eisenhower 1956: The President’s Year of Crisis; and Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy; as well as other books.

His new book is Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower's Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy.

In Ike and McCarthy, David A Nichols shows how the tension between the two men escalated. In a direct challenge to Eisenhower, McCarthy alleged that the US Army was harboring communists and launched an investigation. But the senator had unwittingly signed his own political death warrant. The White House employed surrogates to conduct a clandestine campaign against McCarthy and was not above using information about the private lives of McCarthy’s aides as ammunition.

America's Needless Wars: Cautionary Tales of US Involvement in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Iraq approaches the history of U.S. foreign policy by examining three unrelated conflicts, all of which ended tragically and resulted in the deaths of millions on both sides. By analyzing what went wrong in each case, the author uncovers a pattern of errors that should serve as a precaution for future decision makers contemplating a conflict abroad. 

David R. Contosta is professor of history at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA, and the author of twenty-three previous books, including Rebel Giants: The Revolutionary Lives of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Contosta has been a Fulbright Scholar to France, a visiting scholar at Cambridge University in England, and most recently a visiting professor at Pyeongtaek University in South Korea.

  

Eric Fair, an Army veteran, worked in Iraq as a contract interrogator in 2004. His 2012 Pushcart Prize-winning essay “Consequence,” which was published first in Ploughshares and then in Harper’s Magazine, detailed some of his experiences. Fair expanded the essay into his 2016 book, also titled Consequence. Award-winning journalist and bestselling author Sebastian Junger referred to the memoir as “both an agonized confession and a chilling expose of one of the darkest interludes of the War on Terror.”

Eric Fair will read from his memoir Consequence at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 20 in the Clark Auditorium, New York State Museum, Cultural Education Center in downtown Albany. Earlier that same day, at 4:15 p.m. in Room 375 of the Campus Center on UAlbany’s Uptown Campus the author will hold an informal seminar with audience discussion.  Free and open to the public, the events are cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the Friends of the New York State Library. 

Bedlam’s latest production is Cry Havoc! As the company’s website states: Bedlam creates works of theatre that reinvigorate traditional forms in a flexible, raw space, collapsing aesthetic distance and bringing its viewers into direct contact with the dangers and delicacies of life.

In Cry Havoc! Stephan Wolfert recounts his own experiences of military service, weaving his personal narrative with lines from some of William Shakespeare’s most famous speeches. Pulling from The Bard’s war narratives to work through the trauma of the military experience. The one-actor production is directed by Bedlam co-founder Eric Tucker. Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA presented the show last summer - it is currently running at the New Ohio Theatre Off-Broadway in New York City through April 23rd.

Wolfert and Tucker are both military veterans, and Bedlam’s outreach program invites other veterans to meet - every Monday - to explore the writing and performance Shakespeare - and to be mindful in a shared space with other veterans. To relate their experiences to the literature and drama -- and to each other.

Stephan Wolfert joins us to tell us more about the outreach program and Cry Havoc!

Elliot Ackerman is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Green on Blue, is based out of Istanbul, where he has covered the Syrian Civil War since 2013. His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart.

In his new novel, Dark at the Crossing, Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad's regime.

But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir's wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris's choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? 

  Fighting was a practiced routine for Lieutenant Ivan Castro. But when a mortar round struck the rooftop of his sniper’s post in Iraq, he found himself in a battle more difficult than even he could have imagined. The direct hit killed two other soldiers and nearly claimed Castro’s life as well. Mangled by shrapnel and badly burned, Castro was medevac’d to Germany more dead than alive. His lungs were collapsed. He couldn’t hear. One eye had been blown out, the nerve to the other severed.

In the weeks and months that followed, Castro would find that physical darkness was nothing compared to the emotional darkness of loss and despair. Desperate for a reason to live, he eventually fought his way back to health through exercise and a single-minded goal: running a marathon. 

Today, Castro helps prepare soldiers for combat, working exactly as if he were “sighted.” His book (co-authored by Jim DeFelice) is Fighting Blind: A Green Beret's Story of Extraordinary Courage.

 

This morning we will talk about Women Against War's Annual Gathering – coming up on February 8th in Loudonville, NY. Their featured speaker is author & activist Phyllis Bennis to discuss ISIS, Syria & the US in the Middle East. 

Bennis is the author of Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.  She is Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., a key resource for peace activists. 

She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on the Middle East and UN democratization issues. In 2001 she helped found and remains active with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. She has recently joined the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace. 

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.

In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen—a scholar and practitioner of international relations—disagrees. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy.

When feminist writer Susan Faludi learned that her 76-year-old father ― long estranged and living in Hungary ― had undergone sex reassignment surgery, she was set on an investigation that would turn personal and urgent.

How was this new parent who identified as “a complete woman now” connected to the silent, explosive, and ultimately violent father she had known, the photographer who’d built his career on the alteration of images?

The America we live in today was born, not on July 4, 1776, but on December 7, 1941, when an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers, and midget submarines suddenly and savagely attacked the United States, killing 2,403 men—and forced America’s entry into World War II. Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness follows, moment by moment, the sailors, soldiers, pilots, diplomats, admirals, generals, emperor, and president as they engineer, fight, and react to this stunningly dramatic moment in world history.

Beginning in 1914, bestselling author Craig Nelson maps the road to war, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, then the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (and not yet afflicted with polio), attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Writing with vivid intimacy, Nelson traces Japan’s leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, which culminates in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged. Within seconds, the country would never be the same.

In his new novel, Into the Sun, Deni Ellis Béchard draws an unsentimental portrait of those who flock to warzones, indelibly capturing these journalists, mercenaries, idealists, and aid workers.

When a car explodes in a crowded part of Kabul ten years after 9/11, a Japanese-American journalist is shocked to discover that the passengers were acquaintances—three fellow ex-pats who had formed an unlikely love triangle.

Deni Eliss Bechard is the author of the novel Vandal Love, and Cures for Hunger, a memoir. His work has appeared in the LA TimesSalon, and Foreign Policy, and he has reported from Afghanistan, India, Rwanda, and Iraq.

The Constitution states that it is Congress that declares war, but it is the presidents who have more often taken us to war and decided how to wage it.

In Waging War, David J. Barron opens with an account of George Washington and the Continental Congress over Washington’s plan to burn New York City before the British invasion. Congress ordered him not to, and he obeyed. Barron takes us through all the wars that followed: 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American war, World Wars One and Two, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now, most spectacularly, the War on Terror.

  The regional premiere of the Donald Margulies play Time Stands Still opens tonight and runs through October 15th at the Curtain Call Theater in Latham, NY.  

After barely surviving a bomb blast in Iraq, photojournalist Sarah Goodwin finds herself caught in a tug of war between her career and the quiet of domestic life.

Returning home into the care of her long-time lover, James, Sarah is caught off-guard by James’ desire for family and by the simple domestic life pursued by Richard, her editor, and his much younger girlfriend, Mandy. Two of the cast-members join us this morning – Amy Lane and Tom Templeton. 

  Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales shares his account of grappling with the critical decisions that helped navigate the Bush Administration through national crisis, politics, and war in his new book: True Faith and Allegiance, A Story of Service and Sacrifice in War and Peace.

Gonzales is the former Attorney General of the United States and former Counsel to the President and is the only lawyer and only Hispanic to hold both these positions.

  Once, war was a temporary state of affairs—a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military.

Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective—that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and a human rights activist married to an Army Green Beret.

By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology and law, and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everythingtransforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect, but don’t really understand.

The Silence Of War

Aug 23, 2016

  Terry McGowan had been a beat cop, a Marine captain, and a Special Agent for the FBI before retiring at the age of fifty. But when tragedy struck the United States on September 11th, 2001, Terry felt a sense of duty to protect and serve his country.

McGowan became a Special Advisor to the Marines and was immediately put to use on the frontline of battle in Afghanistan. He later celebrated his 59th birthday dodging bullets at a Marine base nicknamed “the Alamo.”

In his new memoir, The Silence of War: An Old Marine in a Young Marine’s War, Terry McGowan details his return to combat three decades after leaving the corps. 

Daniel Silva is widely acclaimed as one of America's greatest spy novelists. He's know for his creation of the hero art-restorer assassin and spy, Gabriel Allon. His latest, The Black Widow, is the 16th novel in which Allon has appeared. 

  From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in the Greater Middle East. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed in action anywhere else. What caused this shift? Andrew J. Bacevich, one of the country’s most respected voices on foreign affairs, offers an incisive critical history of this ongoing military enterprise—now more than thirty years old and with no end in sight.

His book is America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

  It’s 1942 and the Nazis are racing to be the first to build a weapon unlike any known before. They have the physicists, they have the uranium, and now all their plans depend on amassing a single ingredient: heavy water, which is produced in Norway’s Vemork, the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance. Under threat of death, Vemork’s engineers push production into overdrive.
 
For the Allies, the plant must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on Earth?
 
Based on a trove of top secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skies, perilous survival in the wild, sacrifice for one’s country, Gestapo manhunts, soul-crushing setbacks, and a last-minute operation that would end any chance Hitler could obtain the atomic bomb—and alter the course of the war.

Ron Kovic
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

  Ron Kovic was really born on the 4th of July. Forty years ago the Vietnam vet — wounded in combat and in a wheelchair ever since — published his classic war memoir, later made into a film with Tom Cruise – Born on the Fourth of July. The new anniversary edition features a foreword by Bruce Springsteen.

In addition, Kovic - who continues his activism -  has written a new memoir entitled Hurricane Street, which chronicles the 1970s activism of the American Veterans Movement.

  Daniel Shapiro, Ph.D., is founder and director of the Harvard International Negotiation Program and a world-renowned expert on conflict resolution. From advising leaders of war-torn countries to working with senior executives and families in crisis, Dan has helped thousands of organizations and individuals solve the problems that divide us. Drawing on these experiences and his practice-based research, he has developed a wealth of practical approaches to amplify influence and leadership—in business, in government, and in life.

His new book is Negotiating the Nonnegotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we're speaking with Edward Paulino, one of the New York Council for the Humanities’ Public Scholars and an assistant professor of history at John Jay College about the history of bearing witness to what is often unspeakable violence. In his recent book, Dividing Hispanola, he details the 20th century history of one of the world's bloodiest borders, that between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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