war

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

Today we check in with the Vermont Humanities Council and a speaker in their First Wednesdays lecture series. Dr. Edward Tick, director of the Soldier’s Heart Clinic, will be talking about "The Human face of War: Combat, Healing, and the Humanities" on Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport, Vermont. Dr. Tick explores the inner world of combat, the universal dimensions of veterans’ wounding, and a philosophy of healing combat’s consequences—recognizing that while war most directly affects veterans, it wounds us all.

Dr. Edward Tick joins us now along with Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications for Vermont Humanities.

Paul Elisha: Defense?

Mar 17, 2015

The Congressional ‘War Hawks’ and their Profit-Monger patrons are at it again.  That most American of Poets, Carl Sandburgh called them the “Hoodlums!”  “This is the hate my father gave me, this was in my mother’s milk, this is you and me and all of us in a world of hoodlums—maybe so.”… he wrote, “…it has always been so, it will always be so, there is nothing more to it.”   “Let us do this now…for our mothers…for our sisters and wives…let us kill, kill, kill---for the torsos of the women are tireless and the loins of the men are strong;” he wrote in 1919, after the first World War.  But in 1936, on a note of hope, he wrote: “Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”

  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 First American-Afghan War, a CIA war, was approved by President George W. Bush and directed by the author, Robert Grenier, the CIA station chief in Islamabad. Forging separate alliances with warlords, Taliban dissidents, and Pakistani intelligence, Grenier launched the “southern campaign,” orchestrating the final defeat of the Taliban and Hamid Karzai’s rise to power in eighty-eight chaotic days.

Grenier writes about the war - what happened and what is meant - in his book, 88 Days to Kandahar: A CIA Diary.

  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.

  In its earliest days, the American-led war in Afghanistan appeared to be a triumph — a "good war" in comparison to the debacle in Iraq. It has since turned into one of the longest and most costly wars in U.S. history. The story of how this good war went so bad may well turn out to be a defining tragedy of the 21st century — yet as acclaimed war correspondent Jack Fairweather explains, it should also give us reason to hope.

In The Good War, Fairweather provides the first full narrative history of the war in Afghanistan, from the 2001 invasion to the 2014 withdrawal.

  Forty years ago, a majority of Americans were highly engaged in issues of war and peace. Whether to go to war or keep out of conflicts was a vital question at the heart of the country’s vibrant, if fractious, democracy. But American political consciousness has drifted. In the last decade, America has gone to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, while pursuing a new kind of warfare in Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Pakistan. National security issues have increasingly faded from the political agenda, due in part to the growth of government secrecy.

Journalist and lawyer Scott Horton shows how secrecy has changed the way America functions in his book, Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare.

  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 MASS Humanities and learn about “Literature, Medicine and the Experience of War” - a six-month, scholar-led, humanities reading and discussion program for health professionals and staff in medical facilities administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and/or veterans and military service organizations.

  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.

Listener Essay - And Also Our Thanks

Nov 11, 2014

  And Also Our Thanks

One Sunday in Paris with my friends Garry and Martine, we searched for the remains of the old Bastille. What’s left of this fortress today is a few foundation stones, forming an outline of the building in Paris’s cobbled streets. Despite connotations of revolution and war, the Bastille really isn’t all that big.

In no time we had rounded the block to find ourselves in front of a pharmacy. I quickly went in to buy something. I walked out to find my friends talking with an older gentleman on his way to the market. As I was introduced, he asked if I was an American.

“Je suis Américain” I replied in my cobbled-together French.

Then he thanked me for saving France.

"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.

Everyone agrees that our troops deserve a return to productive and creative lives after service. Yet, in spite of billions spent on psychological care and reintegration programs, we face an epidemic of combat-related conditions like PTSD. What's the solution? In Warrior's Return, Dr. Edward Tick reveals what's missing in our approach to helping our veterans acclimate from the battlefield to civilian live.

    Joe Gannon is a writer and spoken word artist. He was also a freelance journalist during the Sandinista Revolution, writing for the Christian Science Monitor and the San Francisco Examiner.

In his new novel, Night of the Jaguar, he takes readers to the land of Nicaragua in the mid-eighties, a place recovering from one conflict and descending into another.

    Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser joins us to discuss the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction?

Drawing on recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews with the individuals who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Schlosser reveals that America’s nuclear weapons have been plagued by accidents, mistakes, and near-misses since their inception and that even the best control systems are no match for human error.

    

  In the spring of 2001, three women enlisted in the Indiana National Guard. Each had her own idea of what a stint in the Guard might mean — free education, a sense of purpose, extra money. But just months after they signed up, the 9/11 attacks occurred and what they thought would be a couple days of drills each month turned into long overseas deployments.

In her new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War, Helen Thorpe follows the lives of Desma Brooks, Michelle Fischer and Debbie Helton for 12 years.

    The Mental Health Foundation will honor award-winning TV journalist Bob Woodruff at its annual August Evening in Saratoga, Monday August 18 at the Saratoga National Golf Course.

Woodruff, whose miraculous recovery from traumatic brain injury suffered while on assignment for ABC TV in Iraq in 2006, will be recognized for his outstanding work with the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The Bob Woodruff Foundation helps returning veterans address their life challenges, including mental health issues.

    

  Located in New Windsor, New York, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor commemorates the extraordinary sacrifices of America's servicemen and service women who were killed or wounded in combat. The mission of the Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve the stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of service and across generations to ensure that all recipients are represented.

To tell us more we are joined by the Executive Director of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., Andrew Komonchak.

    In his comprehensive history, The Rise of the Tudors, Chris Skidmore chronicles the early story of the Tudors, beginning with the birth of the future Henry VII and following his life through the tumultuous Wars of the Roses, which ended with Henry’s coronation.

    Carlotta Gall covers Afghanistan for the New York Times. Her new book is called The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014.

Highly critical of Pakistan, it offers new information about how Islamabad has helped the Taliban in Afghanistan, and how Pakistan's intelligence agency may have helped Osama bin Laden hide out in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

    Near the start of the nineteenth century, as the newly established United States looked outward toward the wider world, a group of eminent Protestant ministers formed a grand scheme for gathering the rest of mankind into the redemptive fold of Christianity and “civilization.” Its core element was a special school for “heathen youth” drawn from all parts of the earth, including the Pacific Islands, China, India, and, increasingly, the native nations of North America.

The Heathen School follows the progress, and the demise, of this first true melting pot through the lives of individual students: among them, Henry Obookiah, a young Hawaiian who ran away from home and worked as a seaman in the China Trade before ending up in New England; John Ridge, son of a powerful Cherokee chief and subsequently a leader in the process of Indian “removal”; and Elias Boudinot, editor of the first newspaper published by and for Native Americans.

  Author and journalist, Stephen Kinzer, will be speaking at 2:30 pm on the Siena College Campus this afternoon. The event is sponsored by Women Against War.

Kinzer will discuss his new book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and their Secret World War. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror.

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent, formerly with the New York Times, and a bestselling author of books on American foreign policy in Central America, Rwanda, Turkey, and Iran.

   Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned.

Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in the stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos.

When Marie Colvin was killed in an attack in Syria in February 2012, the world mourned the loss of the greatest war correspondent of her generation.

Marie was known for her signature style, her black eye patch and the pearls gifted from Arafat, and her fearlessness in covering some of the world’s most dangerous conflicts. She died while reporting on the suffering of Syrian civilians,sacrificing her life with a cause she believed in- the need to witness the bear anonymous victims of war.

Telling her story for the first time is Paul Conroy, a British war photographer who had forged a close bond with Marie, and was with her when she died. His book is Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment. It is a gripping and moving account of their friendship, and of their final assignment to one of the most hellish places on Earth.

    Fearing a backlash, according to our next guest, the military has routinely distorted its casualty reports in order to hide the true cost of war.

When Soldiers Fall takes a new look at the way Americans have dealt with the toll of armed conflict. Drawing on a vast array of sources, from George Patton's command papers to previously untapped New York Times archives, historian Steven Casey ranges from World War I (when the U.S. government first began to report casualties) to the War on Terror, examining official policy, the press, and the public reaction.

Martin Fletcher has been called the gold standard of TV war correspondents and is rapidly building a new reputation as an author. He has won almost every award in television journalism, including 5 Emmys.

His latest novel is Jacob's Oath. As World War II comes to a close, Europe’s roads are clogged with 20 million exhausted refugees walking home. Among them are Jacob and Sarah, lonely holocaust survivors who meet in Huddle berg. Jacob is consumed with hatred and cannot rest until he kills his brother’s murderer, a concentration camp guard.

He must now choose between revenge and love, and avenging the past and building a new future. 

  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.

  If All The Sky Were Paper is a new play by Andrew Carroll based on his New York Times bestselling books War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars and Behind the Lines: Powerful and Revealing American and Foreign War Letters - And One Man's Search to Find Them.

In 1998, Carroll launched The Legacy Project, a national, all-volunteer initiative that works to find and preserve wartime correspondence. Carroll has traveled to 40 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, to seek out what he calls "the world's great, undiscovered literature,"and he has collected more than 90,000 previously unpublished letters and e-mails from every conflict in U.S. history.

The play has recently awarded a prestigious $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a $10,000 grant from the California Humanities to help reach audiences around the country through a series of readings and performances. The newly created Center for American War Letters, which Carroll founded, will house the Legacy Project's collection at Chapman University.

If All The Sky Were Paper will be performed at The Linda on Saturday, November 16 at 8:00 pm.

We are joined by Andrew Carroll and John Benitz, director of the production and Associate Professor in the College of Performing Arts - Department of Theatre at Chapman University in Orange, CA.

There’s something strangely illusory in the approach (in less than a month) of the 69th  Anniversary of the end of WWII.  For those of us in the inexorably dwindling number of veterans in this category, there are the unsettling news stories of the “Right-Wing surge in Europe,” and the seemingly continuing inability of former allies (This nation included) to achieve peaceful resolutions to still volatile and incendiary ignitions.  These are dramatically fuelled by the wars and continuing intolerance of nations, still at odds over the seeming inequities that defy our abilities to analyze and end them.

"Theater of War" is a public health project, having produced hundreds of dramatic readings of Greek tragedies for mixed civilian and military audiences to start a conversation about the return of soldiers to civilian life.

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY is hosting "Theater of War" for a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles' "Ajax" on Sunday, Nov. 3rd from 4:00-6:00p in the Vassar Chapel in association with the Vassar College Department of Greek and Roman Studies.

Bryan Doerries is the Founder and Artistic Director of “Theater of War” and he joins us to tell us more.

    John Lawton is a producer/director in television who has spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He is the author of 1963, a social and political history of the Kennedy-Macmillan years, six thrillers in the Troy series and a stand-alone novel, Sweet Sunday.

His latest, Then We Take Berlin is a gripping, meticulously researched and richly detailed historical thriller – a moving story of espionage and war, and people caught up in the most tumultuous events of the twenty-first century.

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