american history

Historian David Pietrusza’s new book, "TR's Last War: Theodore Roosevelt, the Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy," is an account of Theodore Roosevelt’s impassioned crusade for military preparedness as America fitfully stumbles into World War I, punctuated by his unique tongue-lashings of the vacillating Woodrow Wilson, his rousing advocacy of a masculine, pro-Allied “Americanism,” a death-defying compulsion for personal front-line combat and, yes, perhaps, even another presidential campaign.

Pietrusza’s books include: "1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR: Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny," "1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America” and "1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies."

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Miriam Pawel’s new book: “The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty that Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation,” is a panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation told through the lens of the family dynasty that led the state for nearly a quarter century.

Author, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin has a new book out today and will be in our region later this month for a pair of events to discuss her latest work, "Leadership: In Turbulent Times."

The book chronicles the journeys of four of our nation’s presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson. Through those histories, Goodwin explores questions of natural leadership ability versus developed ability; the relationship between ambition and adversity on leader ship growth; and how leaders both perceive themselves and are perceived by others.

Goodwin will be at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park this Saturday at 3 p.m. On September 29 she will be speaking at the Albany Book Festival at the University of Albany and later in the day she will be at the Maple Street School for a Northshire Bookstore event in Manchester Center Vermont at 6 p.m.

In the new book, "Robert F. Kennedy: Ripples Of Hope," Kerry Kennedy pays homage to her father’s life and legacy through incisive interviews with heads of state, business leaders, influences, and activists inspired by his enduring message of healing divisions through social justice and compassion.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of RFK’s assassination. The volume is a testament to his accomplishments as well as an urgent clarion call in a time of great political and social upheaval.

Kerry Kennedy is the President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Patricia O’Toole is the author of "When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House," and "The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends," which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Her latest book, "The Moralist: Woodrow Wilson and the World He Made," is a biography of one of the most high-minded, consequential, and controversial US presidents, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924). "The Moralist" is a cautionary tale about the perils of moral vanity and American overreach in foreign affairs.

James F. Simon is dean emeritus at New York Law School. He is the author of nine books on American history, law, and politics, and has won the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award.

His new book, "Eisenhower vs. Warren: The Battle for Civil Rights and Liberties," brings to life the bitter feud between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Chief Justice Earl Warren framed the tumultuous future of the modern civil rights movement.

Kevin R. C. Gutzman is the New York Times best-selling author of five books, including his latest, Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America.

Although remembered as the third president of the United States and chief author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was also something more: the most successful constructive statesman in American history.

Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical's Struggle to Remake Americashows him formulating his radical plans to republicanize America and then working, with remarkable success, to implement them. Born into a monarchical society, Jefferson turned his great intellect and energy to making it highly egalitarian. Much of what we take for granted about America now was originally Jefferson's idea. It is a fascinating story.

W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the most important African-American activists during the first half of the 20th century. He co-founded the NAACP, supported Pan-Africanism, and was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Du Bois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts 150 years ago this month and Great Barrington's Du Bois anniversary celebration began on January 15 and will continue throughout 2018.

Here to tell us more are Dennis Powell, President of the Berkshire County Branch NAACP;and member of the Steering Committee Du Bois Lecture Series; Professor Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Du Bois Center at UMass Amherst; Ted Thomas, poet and teacher who directs the student Du Bois spoken word programs; and Barbara Dean, musician, performer, and radio DJ who has worked on Du Bois issues and promotion in Great Barrington for about three decades.

Strands of Washington's hair were found in an envelope tucked inside a leather book. Also inside: an 1804 letter to Philip Schuyler,  son of Union College co-founder Gen. Philip Schuyler
Union College

In olden times before cameras and voice recorders, friends and acquaintances often gave one another strands of hair as keepsakes.  Long ago, someone placed an envelope containing strands of our first president's hair in a leather book that has now surfaced at Union College in Schenectady.

"Goddess of Anarchy" recounts the formidable life of the militant writer, orator, and agitator Lucy Parsons. Born to an enslaved woman in Virginia in 1851 and raised in Texas-where she met her husband, the Haymarket "martyr" Albert Parsons-Lucy was a fearless advocate of First Amendment rights, a champion of the working classes, and one of the most prominent figures of African descent of her era. And yet, her life was riddled with contradictions-she advocated violence without apology, concocted a Hispanic-Indian identity for herself, and ignored the plight of African Americans.

Jacqueline Jones holds the Ellen C. Temple Chair in Women's History and the Mastin Gentry White Professorship in Southern History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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.

Chris Matthews is the host of MSNBC’s Hardball. He is the author of "Jack Kennedy - Elusive Hero" and now Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit.

With his bestselling biography Jack Kennedy, Chris Matthews shared a new look of one of America’s most beloved Presidents and the patriotic spirit that defined him. Now, with Bobby Kennedy, Matthews returns with a gripping, in-depth, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the great figures of the American twentieth century.

Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was the perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like Jack, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young or old, black or white, rich or poor.

Lawrence O’Donnell has been a student of American politics for most of his life. A former senior advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, chief of staff of two Senate committees, an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and writer for "The West Wing," and now host of his own MSNBC show "The Last Word," O’Donnell has a front row seat to American democracy in action.

While the 2016 election, still fresh in all our memories, produced many crazy headlines and tumultuous debates, "Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics" recreates an even darker, more chaotic time in our nation’s history, in which one election was literally a “matter of life and death—nothing less”: 1968.

"Playing With Fire" tells the gripping story of 1968 election with a remarkable cast of characters, from the candidates themselves - Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Nelsen Rockefeller - to the staffers whose fame has only grown in retrospect: Henry Kissinger, Alan Greenspan, Pat Buchanan, a young Bill Clinton, and even Roger Ailes.

Starting tomorrow, the New York State Museum is opening an exhibition celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage in NY titled Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial. Monday - November 6th - is the 100th anniversary date of women’s suffrage in NY.

Votes for Women celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State and raise public awareness of the struggle for women’s suffrage and equal rights in New York State from the 1848 Seneca Falls Conven­tion through 1917 when New York State granted women the right to vote.

The exhibition also addresses the nationally significant role of New York State leaders in regards to women’s rights and the feminist movement through the early 21st century. 

The curators of the exhibition are Jennifer Lemak and Ashley Hopkins-Benton and they join us in studio.

In his new book, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, NYT bestselling author and co-creator of the Peabody-Award winning public radio show Studio 360, Kurt Andersen, provides a new and comprehensive understanding of our post-truth world and the American instinct in make- believe.

This interview was recorded at UAlbany as part of the New York State Writers Institute symposium: Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World.

In the documentary film, The Rape of Recy Taylor, Nancy Buirski reconstructs events from 1944, when Recy Taylor, a twenty-four-year-old black woman in Abbeville, Alabama, was abducted on her way home from church by six white men who then raped her. Though Taylor identified her attackers, a local grand jury did not indict anyone for the crime. The NAACP mobilized a national campaign on Taylor’s behalf, sending Rosa Parks, its leading rape investigator to Abbeville. She and others recognized that, if justice could be served, it would be the result of reporting outside the immediate area. They nationalized the case yet the perpetrators remained uncharged, and the case slipped into oblivion.

The film will screen in Woodstock on Saturday at 10 a.m. as part of the Woodstock Film Festival and Nancy Buirski will be there for a Q&A following.

Capitalism has been a fundamental part of the American story from the very beginning, when the country became a place for people to dream, invent, and bet the farm in pursuit of a better life.

In the new book, Americana, author Bhu Srinivasan explores four hundred years of the American spirit of innovation and ambition through a series of Next Big Things—the inventions, techniques, and industries that drove American history forward—from the telegraph, the railroad, guns, and radio to banking, flight, suburbia, and cellphones.

Bhu Srinivasan is a media entrepreneur whose career has spanned digital media, pop culture, technology, publishing, and financial content. 

The Shaker Heritage Society in Albany, NY is a non-profit organization that offers award-winning educational programming about the Shakers, their innovative spirit and their influence on American culture. The Society is actively concerned with preserving the integrity of the Watervliet Shaker National Historic District, site of America’s first Shaker settlement.

The Shaker Heritage Society will host a 40th Anniversary Celebration -- “Shaker Your Plate” on September 21st.

Here to tell us about that and more we welcome Starlyn D'Angelo, Executive Director of Shaker Heritage Society and board member and Chair of our Development Committee, Pilar Arthur Snead. 

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. 

John A. Farrell is the author of Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, and Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century. A longtime journalist, he worked at The Denver Post and at The Boston Globe, where he served as White House correspondent and on the vaunted Spotlight team.

His book is Richard Nixon: The Life.

The ruins of Daniel Shays's fortified settlement reveal the hidden story of the famous rebellion. Shays and the Regulators founded the settlement deep in the Vermont wilderness after fleeing the uprising they led in 1787 in Massachusetts.

Rediscovered in 1997 and under study since 2013, these remnants divulge secrets of Shays's life that previously remained unknown, including his connection to Millard Filmore and the Anti-Federalist lawyer John Bay.

As the leader of the site's first formal study, Stephen Butz is here to tell us about the archaeological investigation, along with Shays's heroic life in the Continental army, his role in the infamous rebellion that bears his name and his influence on American law. His new book is: Shays' Settlement in Vermont: A Story of Revolt and Archaeology.

In The Revolution of Robert Kennedy, journalist John R. Bohrer focuses in intimate and revealing detail on Bobby Kennedy's life during the three years following JFK's assassination. Torn between mourning the past and plotting his future, Bobby was placed in a sudden competition with his political enemy, Lyndon Johnson, for control of the Democratic Party.

No longer the president's closest advisor, Bobby struggled to find his place within the Johnson administration, eventually deciding to leave his Cabinet post to run for the U.S. Senate, and establish an independent identity. Those overlooked years of change, from hardline Attorney General to champion of the common man, helped him develop the themes of his eventual presidential campaign.

  Nineteenth-century New York City was one of the most magnificent cities in the world, but also one of the most deadly. Without any real law enforcement for almost 200 years, the city was a lawless place where the crime rate was triple what it is today and the murder rate was five or six times as high. The staggering amount of crime threatened to topple a city that was experiencing meteoric growth and striving to become one of the most spectacular in America.

In Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD, award-winning historian Bruce Chadwick examines how rampant violence led to the founding of the first professional police force in New York City. 

  Best-selling historian Nathaniel Philbrick once again takes readers deep into the American Revolution, leading them into battles and illuminating the players on the field and behind the scenes.

His latest - Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution - is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. 

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.

What do Dick Cheney and Rahm Emanuel have in common? Aside from polarizing personalities, both served as chief of staff to the president of the United States -- as did Donald Rumsfeld, Leon Panetta, and a relative handful of others. The chiefs of staff, often referred to as "the gatekeepers," wield tremendous power in Washington and beyond; they decide who is allowed to see the president, negotiate with Congress to push POTUS's agenda, and -- most crucially -- enjoy unparalleled access to the leader of the free world. Each chief can make or break an administration, and each president reveals himself by the chief he picks. 

Through extensive, intimate interviews with all seventeen living chiefs and two former presidents, award-winning journalist and producer Chris Whipple pulls back the curtain on this unique fraternity in his book, The Gatekeepers.

In Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years, 1976-1980, New York Times bestselling biographer Craig Shirley charts Ronald Reagan’s astonishing rise from the ashes of his lost 1976 presidential bid to overwhelming victory in 1980. American conservatism—and the nation itself—would never be the same.

As Americans take to the streets in record numbers to resist the presidency of Donald Trump, L.A. Kauffman’s timely, trenchant history of protest offers unique insights into how past movements have won victories in times of crisis and backlash and how they can be most effective today.
 
Direct Action is a deeply researched account, twenty-five years in the making, traces the evolution of disruptive protest since the Sixties to tell a larger story about the reshaping of the American left. Kauffman, a longtime grassroots organizer, examines how movements from ACT UP to Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter have used disruptive tactics to catalyze change despite long odds.

In 1797, eight years after the mutiny on the HMS Bounty, came a mutiny aboard the British frigate HMS Hermione—the bloodiest mutiny ever suffered by the Royal Navy.  In American Sanctuary, historian and author Roger Ekirch shares the story of Jonathan Robbins, one of the mutineers who made his way to American shores, and for whom the British called for extradition. 

He let it be known that he was an American citizen from Connecticut and had been impressed into service by the British. In one of the most catastrophic blunders of his administration, the extradition was sanctioned by President John Adams, and Robbins was sentenced to death by the British and hanged. Adams’ miscalculation ignited a political firestorm, fanned by the news of Robbins’ execution without his constitutional rights of due process and trial by jury. 

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