World War II

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.

 

This year's Berkshire International Film Festival will feature a tribute to Academy Award winning actor, Christopher Plummer on June 3 at 6:30 p.m. The acclaimed stage and screen performer will be in conversation with David Edelstein, film critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and CBS Sunday Morning at The Mahaiwe Theater.

A screening of Plummer's new film, The Exception immediately follows the talk. The film is distributed by A24 Films. 

The Exception marks the screen debut of theater director David Leveaux and features Plummer as exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II who lives in a secluded mansion in The Netherlands as Germany is taking over Holland.

Jack Mayer is a pediatrician and a writer. He was last here to talk about his book - Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project. His new novel is: Before the Court of Heaven - based on a true story of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Third Reich.

Three themes impel the book: understanding the rise of Nazism, unfathomable forgiveness, and the complexity of redemption. It is a portrait of Germany between world wars, from revolution and unrest following World War I to the rise of the Nazis, World War II and the Holocaust.

  Louis Begley, best known for his masterful observations of life in New York City’s upper crust, made his thriller debut with Killer Come Hither.

That book told the story of former Marine Corps officer turned novelist and Yale Alum, Jack Dana. Now Begley continues Jack’s story in the sequel, Kill and Be Killed.

Julie Otsuka’s novel, When the Emperor Was Divine , is about the internment of a Japanese-American family during World War II, as a result of FDR’s Executive Order 9066. 

The book is based on Otsuka’s own family history: her grandfather was arrested by the FBI as a suspected spy for Japan the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, and her mother, uncle, and grandmother spent three years in an internment camp in Topaz, Utah. 

Otsuka will be speaking about the book at a Poughkeepsie Public Library event held at the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park on Sunday, February 26th @ 2PM .

  Despite the outpouring of books, movies, museums, memorials, and courses devoted to the Holocaust, a coherent explanation of why such ghastly carnage erupted from the heart of civilized Europe in the twentieth century still seems elusive even seventy years later. 

Peter Hayes' Why? dispels many misconceptions and answers some of the most basic, yet vexing, questions that remain: why the Jews and not another ethnic group? Why the Germans? Why such a swift and sweeping extermination? Why didn’t more Jews fight back more often? Why didn’t they receive more help?

Peter Hayes is professor of history and German and Theodore Zev Weiss Holocaust Educational Foundation Professor of Holocaust Studies Emeritus at Northwestern University and chair of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Kenneth Clark's thirteen-part 1969 television series, Civilisation, established him as a globally admired figure. Clark was prescient in making this series: the upheavals of the century, the Cold War among others, convinced him of the power of barbarism and the fragility of culture. He would burnish his image with two memoirs that artfully omitted the more complicated details of his life.

Now, drawing on a vast, previously unseen archive, James Stourton reveals the formidable intellect and the private man behind the figure who effortlessly dominated the art world for more than half a century: his privileged upbringing, his interest in art history beginning at Oxford, his remarkable early successes.

At 27 he was keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean in Oxford and at 29, the youngest director of The National Gallery. During the war he arranged for its entire collection to be hidden in slate mines in Wales and organized packed concerts of classical music at the Gallery to keep up the spirits of Londoners during the bombing. WWII helped shape his belief that art should be brought to the widest audience, a social and moral position that would inform the rest of his career.

In the spring of 1942, the United States rounded up 120,000 residents of Japanese ancestry living along the West Coast and sent them to interment camps for the duration of World War II. Many abandoned their land. Many gave up their personal property. Each one of them lost a part of their lives.

Amazingly, the government hired famed photographers Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others to document the expulsion--from assembling Japanese Americans at racetracks to confining them in ten camps spread across the country. Their photographs, exactly seventy-five years after the evacuation began, give an emotional, unflinching portrait of a nation concerned more about security than human rights. These photographs are more important than ever.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

In November of 1943, during fighting in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, more than 6,000 died during the Battle of Tarawa. The four-day battle on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands claimed the lives of American and Japanese soldiers and Korean slaves.

Veterans Series: WWII Veterans And The Arts

Dec 16, 2016
WAMC, Allison Dunne

We’re about to meet two World War II veterans whose work has been published and, in one case, whose art has been exhibited. For the latter, art therapy plays a role. In the next installment in our weeklong series on veterans, WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne explores the two veterans’ crafts, both of which were on display at a recent Veteran Arts Showcase.

  On the seventy-fifth anniversary, the authors of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Eleventh Day unravel the mysteries of Pearl Harbor to expose the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command the day 2,000 Americans died, report on the continuing struggle to restore his lost honor—and clear President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the charge that he knew the attack was coming.

The Japanese onslaught on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 devastated Americans and precipitated entry into World War II. In the aftermath, Admiral Husband Kimmel, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was relieved of command, accused of negligence and dereliction of duty—publicly disgraced.

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.

Award-winning author and journalist Marc Wortman will discuss his new book 1941: Fighting the Shadow War tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 pm at the Boardman Road Branch Library of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the US entered World War II on December 8, 1941 in retaliation for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. However, historian Marc Wortman reveals the ways in which America played an increasingly significant and clandestine role in the war in the months and years prior to officially joining the battle.

The new book: Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3: The War Years And After, 1939-1962 Is the final volume in Blanche Wiesen Cook’s definitive biography of one of America’s greatest first ladies. Historians, politicians and critics have praised Blanche Wiesen Cook’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as the essential portrait of a woman who towers over the twentieth century.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 3 follows the arc of war and the evolution of a marriage, as the first lady realized the cost of maintaining her principles even as the country and her husband were not prepared to adopt them. Eleanor Roosevelt continued to struggle for her core issues—economic security, New Deal reforms, racial equality, and rescue—when they were sidelined by FDR while he marshaled the country through war.

The chasm between Eleanor and Franklin grew, and the strains on their relationship were as political as they were personal. These years—the war years—made Eleanor Roosevelt the woman she became: leader, visionary, guiding light. Blanche Wiesen Cook is a distinguished professor of history at John Jay College and Graduate Center at the City University of New York. 

  B. A. Shapiro brilliantly captured the world of art-theft and forgery in her critically acclaimed best-selling novel, The Art Forger.

Shapiro’s latest is The Muralist, a story about the birth of abstract-impressionism set against the backdrop of The Great Depression and the eve of World War II.

Sarah S. Kilborne
Jane O’Connor

  The Lavender Blues is a showcase of queer music before World War II. It is music history. It is queer history. It is women's history. It is great entertainment.

With The Lavender Blues, modern cabaret performer Sarah Kilborne brings to light for the first time the quiet, yet powerful emergence between the world wars of songs that spoke about what it was like to be gay or "in the life."

From such legends as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Gladys Bentley and Josephine Baker, Kilborne performs songs - written almost a century ago - that describe what it is like to be non-binary. The themes in the music are as emblematic of yesterday as they are relevant today, addressing issues of masculinity, femininity, same-sex love, cross-dressing, the desire for freedom from prejudice and more.

Sarah Kilborne is bringing the show to The Linda in Albany, NY on Friday night.

Ruta Sepetys - Salt to the Sea

Mar 21, 2016

At the end of World War II, the worst maritime accident in history took place off the coast of Germany. In the deliberate torpedoing of the ship Wilhelm Gustloff, nine-thousand people perished, leaving only one-thousand survivors - the ship was only built to carry less than 15-hundred passengers.

In her historical novel, Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys takes us to the end of the second world war, and brings us the stories of four refugees from Prussia, Poland, Lithuania and Germany as they flee their homes and families, and begin their long treks to freedom that only becomes more dangerous as they walk on.


  In this week's Classical Music According to Yehuda, Alan Chartock and Yehuda Hanani continue their discussion about Igor Stravinsky, hearing his Symphony of Wind Instruments.

  During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.

Jan Jarboe Russell writes about Crystal City in her book, The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II, now out in paperback.

  The devastation of Pearl Harbor and the American victory at Midway were prelude to a greater challenge: rolling back the vast Japanese Pacific Empire, island by island.

Historian Ian Toll’s new book, The Conquering Tide, encompasses the heart of the Pacific War—the period between mid-1942 and mid-1944.

  Julian Rose is only fifteen when he leaves his family and Germany for a new life in 1920s America. Lonely at first, he eventually finds his way—first by joining up with Longy Zwillman and becoming one of the preeminent bootleggers on the East Coast, and later by amassing a fortune in real estate.

Kendall Wakefield is a free-spirited college senior who longs to become a painter. Her mother, the daughter of a slave and founder of an African-American college in South Florida, is determined to find a suitable match for her only daughter.

One evening in 1938, Mrs. Wakefield hosts a dinner that reunites Julian with his parents—who have been rescued from Hitler’s Germany by the college—and brings him together with Kendall for the first time.

  Reeling from the Great Depression, the United States and Germany elected two new leaders of diametrically opposing ideologies. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency and Adolf Hitler became chancellor.

Author and historian David Pietrusza will discuss his new book - 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR–Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny.

Listener Essay - Legacy

Dec 8, 2015

  Carole Owens is an author and historian. 

Legacy

Sunday morning, “December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.”

My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. Sometime between 7:53 and 9:55 a.m., he was hit by shrapnel – nasty chunks of metal packed into bombs.

  

  At the Water’s Edge is a love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

In the new novel from the author of the bestselling Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen demonstrates her talent for creating period pieces.

  London in April, 1940, was a place of great fear and conflict. Everyone was on edge; civilization itself seemed imperiled. The Germans are marching. They have taken Poland, France, Holland, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia. They now menace Britain. Should Britain negotiate with Germany?

The members of the War Cabinet bicker, yell, lose their control, and are divided. Churchill, leading the faction to fight, and Lord Halifax, cautioning that prudence is the way to survive, attempt to usurp one another by any means possible. Their country is on the line. And, in historian John Kelly’s new book: Never Surrender: Winston Churchill and Britain's Decision to Fight Nazi Germany in the Fateful Summer of 1940, he brings us alongside these complex and imperfect men, determining the fate of the British Empire.

John Kelly specializes in narrative history. He is the author of several books including: The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People.

  Michael “Misha” Gruenbaum enjoyed a carefree childhood playing games and taking walks through Prague with his beloved father. All of that changed forever when the Nazis invaded Prague. The Gruenbaum family was forced to move into the Jewish Ghetto in Prague. Then, after a devastating loss, Michael, his mother and sister were deported to the Terezín concentration camp.

At Terezin, Misha roomed with forty other boys who became like brothers to him. Life in Terezín was a bizarre, surreal balance—some days were filled with friendship and soccer matches, while others brought mortal terror as the boys waited to hear the names on each new list of who was being sent “to the East.”

Those trains were going to Auschwitz. When the day came that his family’s name appeared on a transport list, their survival called for a miracle—one that tied Michael’s fate to a carefully sewn teddy bear, and to his mother’s unshakeable determination to keep her children safe.

  Kermit Roosevelt, University of Pennsylvania Law Professor and Theodore Roosevelt’s Great Great Grandson, combines the momentum of a top-notch legal thriller with a thoughtful examination of one of the worst civil rights violations in US history in Allegiance: A Novel.

The Roosevelt Library and Museum will present an author talk and book signing with Kermit Roosevelt at 7 o'clock tonight in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home.

  Alex Kershaw is an acclaimed WWII and best-selling historian.

His latest book - Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris - recounts the story of one family’s heroic efforts to defeat the evil in their midst.

  Spencertown Academy Arts Center’s Festival of Books, the annual extravaganza of all things literary, takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 4 through 7, 2015. The Festival features a giant used book sale, two days of readings and book signings by nationally known and local authors, and a children’s program.

One of this year's participating authors is Alex Kershaw. His new book (also featured on WAMC's The Book Show this week) Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris - recounts the story of one family’s heroic efforts to defeat the evil in their midst.

He will participate in the discussion "Heroes and Spies, Real and Imagined" at the Festival of Books on Saturday afternoon at 1:30.

  In 1944, hundreds of Allied soldiers were trapped in prisoner-of-war camps in occupied France, fighting brutal conditions and unsympathetic captors. The odds of their survival were long. The odds of escaping, even longer.

But one man had the courage to fight the odds. In Behind Nazi Lines: My Father’s Heroic Quest To Save 149 World War II Pow’s, Andrew Hodges tells the true story of his father’s brave mission behind enemy lines to negotiate the safety of prisoners.

Dr. Andrew Hodges Jr. is the firstborn son of World War II hero Andrew Gerow Hodges. He is a psychiatrist in private practice and has served as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. Dr. Hodges has helped pioneer a breakthrough to the brilliant unconscious mind, which he explained in his groundbreaking book, The Deeper Intelligence.

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