history

Between the world wars no sport was more popular or more dangerous than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi‑day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed. Female pilots were more often ridiculed than praised for what the press portrayed as silly efforts to horn in on a manly, and deadly, pursuit. Keith O'Brien's book, "Fly Girls," recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.

Keith O'Brien is an award-winning journalist, a former reporter for the Boston Globe, a regular contributor to National Public Radio and Politico, and a critically acclaimed author of books about dreams, Americana, and where the two meet. He has written for the New York Times Magazine and reported stories for This American Life. He was a 2017 finalist for the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

An aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga
Facebook: Fort Ticonderoga

Built in the 1750s by the French as a defense against the British, what is known today as Fort Ticonderoga stood at the center of two wars and five battles. Today the fort on Lake Champlain welcomes more than 75,000 visitors a year to northern New York. 

In 1968, Fran and Jay Yardley, as a young couple, moved to a remote corner of the Adirondacks to revive the long-abandoned but historic Bartlett Carry Club, with its one thousand acres and thirty-seven buildings.

The Saranac Lake-area property had been in Jay's family for generations, and his dream was to restore this summer resort to support himself and, eventually, a growing family. Fran chronicles their journey and, along the way, unearths the history of those who came before, from the 1800s to the present.

Fran Yardley is an author, actor and storyteller and her book is "Finding True North: The History of One Small Corner of The Adirondacks." 

She has an event at the Northshire Bookstore tonight at 6PM in Saratoga Springs, New York. 

Fort Ticonderoga

A battle reenactment involving some 500 people this weekend will commemorate the epic 1777 siege of Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York. 

North Adams, Massachusetts is celebrating baseball across the nation with "One Country, One Game: A Celebration of Baseball."  “Shades of Greatness” from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City anchors the exhibit, which also includes features on Berkshire County players like Hall of Famer Frank Grant and Jack Chesbro and memorabilia from Berkshire County teams through the years.

Dan Bosley is a lifelong baseball fan and was the president of the North Adams SteepleCats, a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League for 7 years following 24 years in the Massachusetts State House. The North Adams SteepleCats have had over 120 former players drafted into professional baseball with nine making it to the Major Leagues.

The Society of the Cincinnati gold eagle medal
Fort Ticonderoga/Photographer Miranda Peters

A rare medal honoring soldiers who fought in the American Revolution is going on display at Fort Ticonderoga in northern New York tomorrow – the Fourth of July. The original Society of the Cincinnati gold eagle medal is one of two surviving examples produced in Paris in 1783 for purchase by officers of the Continental Army. 

Rachel Kadish’s new novel The Weight of Ink is set in London. It is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect – one an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; the other an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

John T. Shaw has covered Congress for Market News International for nearly twenty-five years, and has also been a contributing writer for the Washington Diplomat and has been a guest on PBS NewsHour and C-SPAN.

In "Rising Star, Setting Sun," John T. Shaw focuses on the intense ten-week transition between JFK’s electoral victory and his inauguration on January 20, 1961. After winning the presidency by a razor-thin victory on November 8, 1960 over Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s former vice president, John F. Kennedy became the thirty-fifth president of the United States. But beneath the stately veneers of both Ike and JFK, there was a complex and consequential rivalry.

Elizabeth Partridge is a National Book Award finalist, Printz Honor winner, and author of several nonfiction books for children, including "Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange;" "This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie;" "John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth;" and "Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary."

Her new book, "Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam," teaches readers about over a decade of bitter fighting that claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American soldiers and beleaguered four US presidents. More than forty years after America left Vietnam in defeat in 1975, the war remains controversial and divisive both in the United States and abroad.

David I. Kertzer is the Paul Dupee, Jr. University Professor of Social Science and professor of anthropology and Italian studies at Brown University, where he served as provost from 2006 to 2011.

He is the author of twelve books, including "The Pope and Mussolini," winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for biography and the American Historical Association Prize for best book on Italian history.

Kertzer is one of the world’s foremost experts on the history of Italy and the Vatican and has a rare ability to bring that history vividly to life. His new book, "The Pope Who Would Be King," sheds fascinating new light on the end of rule by divine right in the West and the emergence of modern Europe.

Thomas E. Ricks is an adviser on national security at the New America Foundation, where he participates in its "Future of War" project. He was previously a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and is a contributing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, for which he writes the prizewinning blog The Best Defense. A member of two Pulitzer Prize-winning teams, he covered U.S. military activities in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Kuwait, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

His newest book, "Churchill and Orwell: The Fight For Freedom," is now available in paperback.

Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930's and if they'd died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs and Orwell was a mildly successful novelist. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly against totalitarian threats.

Richard Sennett is the author of "The Craftsman," "The Fall of Public Man," and "The Corrosion of Character." He teaches urban studies at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University, and is a senior fellow in Columbia University’s Center for Capitalism and Society. For thirty years, he has directed projects under the auspices of the UN that aim to guide urban development in the twenty-first century.

"Building and Dwelling" is Sennett's definitive statement. In this sweeping work, he traces the anguished relation between how cities are built and how people live in them, from ancient Athens to twenty-first-century Shanghai. He shows how Paris, Barcelona, and New York City assumed their modern forms; rethinks the reputations of Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford, and others; and takes us on a tour of emblematic contemporary locations, from the backstreets of Medellín, Colombia, to the Google headquarters in Manhattan.

Yunte Huang is a Guggenheim Fellow and a professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of "Transpacific Imaginations" and "Charlie Chan," which won the 2011 Edgar Award and was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography.

His new book is a portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker, twins conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, who were “discovered” in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. "Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History" brings an Asian American perspective to this almost implausible story.

Steve Almond is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times Bestsellers "Candyfreak" and "Against Football." His short stories have been anthologized widely, in the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Erotica, and Best American Mysteries series.

Like a lot of Americans, Almond spent the weeks after the 2016 election lying awake, in a state of dread and bewilderment. The problem wasn’t just the election, but the fact that nobody could explain, in any sort of coherent way, why America had elected a cruel, corrupt, and incompetent man to the Presidency.

"Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country" is Almond’s effort to make sense of our historical moment.

Why Dinosaurs Matter

Mar 9, 2018

Dr. Kenneth Lacovara has unearthed some of the largest dinosaurs ever to walk our planet, including the super-massive Dreadnoughtus, which at 65 tons weighs more than seven T. rex. In his quest to understand these titanic creatures that strain the human imagination, Lacovara blends exploration in remote locations across the globe with the latest imaging and modeling techniques from engineering to medicine.

He joined us to talk about his TED book "Why Dinosaurs Matter."

Brad Meltzer is the New York Times bestselling author of "Heroes for My Son, Heroes for My Daughter," and a number of suspense novels. He's the creator of the childrens' book series "Ordinary People Change the World" which is illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. Meltzer is also the host of the History Channel television shows "Brad Meltzer's Decoded" and "Brad Meltzer's Lost History."

His joined us to discuss both "I am Harriet Tubman" from the Ordinary People series and his newest suspense novel, "The Escape Artist."

Niall Ferguson is one of the world's most renowned historians. He is Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing. His many awards include the Benjamin Franklin Prize for Public Service (2010), the Hayek Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2012) and the Ludwig Erhard Prize for Economic Journalism (2013).

In his new book, "The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook," Ferguson points out that though the 21st century has been hailed as the Age of Networks, networks have always been with us.

Throughout history, hierarchies housed in high towers have claimed to rule, but often real power has resided in the networks in the town square below. For it is networks that tend to innovate. And it is through networks that revolutionary ideas can contagiously spread. 

  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.

Marilyn Yalom is a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University, and the author of "A History of the Wife," among other books.

In "The Amorous Heart," Marilyn Yalom tracks the heart metaphor and heart iconography across two thousand years, through Christian theology, pagan love poetry, medieval painting, Shakespearean drama, Enlightenment science, and into the present. She argues that the symbol reveals a tension between love as romantic and sexual on the one hand, and as religious and spiritual on the other.

Colson Whitehead’s novel "The Underground Railroad," tells the story of a runaway slave and re-imagines the pre-Civil War South. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book award and it is now out in paperback.

Facebook: City of Schenectady

The city of Schenectady, New York was once known as the city that lights and hauls the world because of General Electric and American Locomotive. American Locomotive is long gone, now the site of the Rivers Casino and General Electric remains but with a much smaller payroll. But the history of Schenectady endures, known for Thomas Edison, and Charles Steinmetz, as a pioneer city in broadcasting, and there’s the historic stockade neighborhood and the once mighty Erie Canal. 

This year’s Ice Harvest Festival at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY is Saturday, February 3rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Using historic tools, children and adults can walk out on the frozen mill pond to cut and maneuver blocks of ice. The ice blocks are pushed up a ramp and then loaded onto sleds, which are hauled to a traditional ice house.

Ice harvesting will take place all day, and visitors also can take part in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Hanford Mills Museum’s Executive Director Liz Callahan joins us.

A Tale Of Three Cities

Jan 3, 2018

Istanbul has long been a place where stories and histories collide, where perception is as potent as fact.

From the Koran to Shakespeare, this city with three names--Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul--resonates as an idea and a place, real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between East and West, North and South, it has been the capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history it was the very center of the world, known simply as "The City," but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city, but a global story.

Professor Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster, who has devoted the last 25 years to the vibrant communication of the past. Her newest book is Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities. 

Stone barn at Hancock Shaker Village
Sarah LaDuke

Hancock Shaker Village is a living history museum - marrying past and present, proving with every addition to its programming that it is becoming a vibrant, new center for ideas, music, art, food, outdoor activities, and adventure.

The Village, which was settled in 1783, became a museum in 1960, just one year after the last Shakers left. Contained within its 20 historic buildings and 750 acres that sprawl across three towns is the only round Shaker barn in the world that was built in 1826. 

Jennifer Trainer Thompson, who spent the last 28 years helping to co-found and develop MASS MoCA in the Berkshires, took over as president of Hancock Shaker Village in January 2017. Jennifer joins us along with the village’s curator Lesley Herzberg and farmer Billy Mangiardi. 

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.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Saratoga Springs will be the focus of a new television series being produced by C-Span. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more details on the program featuring a city known for health, history and horses.

Olana
Sarah LaDuke

The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with The Ancram Opera House, will present Performing Olana, an original play throughout the Olana landscape, on Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24. 

Performing Olana has been written by nationally recognized playwright and TV writer, Darrah Cloud and co-directed by the Ancram Opera House creatives Jeffrey Mousseau and Paul Ricciardi along with The Olana Partnership’s Director of Education Amy Hufnagel. The three theater artists have been working for months to design an immersive, promenade style theater production to be delivered in the landscape at Olana while the audience follows the story through the historic site. 

It is a play that takes the interpretation of Olana to another level- both in terms of costumed “interpretation” but also in the untold and imagined stories between the lines of letters and journals in the Church archive.

We welcome Paul Ricciardi, Co-Director of The Ancram Opera House. Playwright Darrah Cloud, and Amy Hufnagel, Director of Education for The Olana Partnership. 

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. 

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