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Book cover for "Break it Up" by Richard Kreitner
Little Brown and Company / www.littlebrown.com

The United States has never lived up to its name—and never will. The disunionist impulse may have found its greatest expression in the Civil War, but as "Break It Up" by Richard Kreitner shows, the seduction of secession wasn’t limited to the South or the nineteenth century. It was there at our founding and has never gone away.

Kreitner is a contributing writer to The Nation. He is the author of "Booked: A Traveler’s Guide to Literary Locations Around the World."

Book cover for "The Last Million"
http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/ / http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/

Historian David Nasaw’s new book, "The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War," turns his attention to the gripping yet until now largely hidden story of the one million refugees left behind in Germany following the end of World War II.

Book cover artwork for "Cassandra Speaks"
harpercollins.com / harpercollins.com

Co-founder of the Omega Institute, Elizabeth Lesser, believes that if women’s voices had been equally heard and respected throughout history, humankind would have followed different hero myths and guiding stories—stories that value caretaking, champion compassion, and elevate communication over vengeance and violence. She joined us to talk about her new book, "Cassandra Speaks."

By the time of his assassination in 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at the helm of the greatest power the world had ever seen, a booming American nation that he had steered through some of the most perilous diplomatic standoffs of the Cold War.

Born in 1917 to a striving Irish American family that had become among Boston’s wealthiest, Kennedy knew political ambition from an early age, and his meteoric rise to become the youngest elected president cemented his status as one of the most mythologized figures in American history.

Fredrik Logevall is Laurence Belfer Professor of International Affairs and professor of history at Harvard University. He has spent much of the last decade searching for the “real” JFK. His new book is "JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956."

Last year, a best-selling author Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch wrote "The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington," a best-seller that was praised by critics, historians, and two U.S. presidents for its research and propulsive narrative.

Now Meltzer and Mensch return to uncover another fascinating episode previously lost to history in the new book, "The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America's 16th President and Why it Failed." In our current climate of uncertainty and fear, the book is a reminder of the capacity for American greatness in the form of one of its most lauded and inspirational heroes, Abraham Lincoln.

The final volume of Ian Toll’s definitive history of the Pacific War, "Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944-1945," comes on the 75th anniversary of the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay marking the formal close of World War II.

It is narrative history, full of drama and the texture of lived reality, of decisions and actions with consequences. The book encompasses all aspects of the war, bringing each into focus, arresting both the heroic and tragic, the powerful and powerless, diplomat and warrior, sailor and admiral, American and Japanese, winner and loser - one that by its conclusion had transformed the future of the 20th century and beyond.

Ian Toll’s past books include the New York Times bestseller "The Conquering Tide," "Pacific Crucible," and "Six Frigates."

According to Dissent Magazine, Joshua Bennett is “one of the most impressive voices in poetry today… quietly building a reputation as one the brightest intellectual and political thinkers of a new generation.” Bennett’s new collection, "OWED," perfectly melds his apt social and political commentary with the warmth and familiarity of the human experience.

This collection serves as an open letter to the people, places, and objects that have colored Bennett’s past and led to his present. Bennett’s primary concern is how we might mend the relationship between ourselves and the things that we have been taught to think of as insignificant.

In "OWED," Bennett speaks to the expansive range of registers within the world of black aesthetics and experience: the joy, rage, love, terror, and awe that gives a world within a world all its shape and tenor.

In his new book "Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History," Kurt Andersen asks the question: When did America give up on fairness? The bestselling author of "Fantasyland" tells the history of how America decided that big business gets whatever it wants, only the rich get richer, and nothing should ever change and charts a way back to the future.

Joe Donahue: Steve Shenkin's book "Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal- The World's Most Dangerous Weapon" was a National Book Award finalist, a Newbery Honor book and really required reading for anyone who is interested in what happened in 1945, with the dropping of the atomic bomb. 

Joe Donaue: Megha Majumdar's debut novel "A Burning" is about three characters whose lives become entwined after a terrorist attack in India. It is taut, electrifying, and dazzling. Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums determined to move up in life who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely is an irresistible outcast who has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything that she holds dear. Megha Majumdar grew up in Kolkata, India and studied social anthropology at Harvard and Johns Hopkins. She is currently an editor at Catapult. This is her first novel. 

Joe Donahue: Welcome to The Book Show, a celebration of reading and writers. I'm Joe Donohue. In Sue Monk Kidd's, new novel, "The Book of Longing", she imagines a young woman named Ana, who becomes the wife of Jesus. The novel explores many of the signature themes in Kidd's fiction: feminism, the search for self, the quest for one's voice and purpose, and the power of female community. In particular, this novel explores the longings and virtuosities in women, as well as their silencing and marginalization within Western religion. The story evokes a seminal question: how would the world be different if Jesus had had a wife? Sue Monk Kidd's debut, "The Secret Life of Bees" spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, it has sold more than 6 million copies. Her other novels include "The Mermaid Chair" and "The Invention of Wings". Again, the latest is "The Book of Longings". 

Schenectady County Historical Society

The COVID-19 outbreak has already proven to be a significant event in world history. And now one local organization wants to collect and preserve the stories of ordinary people living through it. 

The Hart Cluett Museum’s ‘The Way We Work(ed)’ exhibit, will open to the public tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.The exhibit was organized by The Hart Cluett Museum in collaboration with the Smithsonian as part of a pilot project to develop a unique humanities-based exhibition about local work history. The museum is one of just 10 museums in the United States chosen through a competitive selection process.

The exhibit is divided into four sections: “Where We Work,” “How We Work,” “Who Works?” and “Why We Work.” An advisory panel consisting of more than two dozen area professionals from widely different facets of the region’s workplaces was assembled to provide a contemporary perspective on the ever-changing nature of work. The panel included experts from backgrounds in technology, construction, agriculture, education and workforce development, among others.

Stacy Pomeroy Draper, the Curator of the Hart Cluett Museum joins us this morning.

Erik Larson is known for expertly transporting readers to past worlds; even stories we think we know come to life in a different way in his hands.

His latest, “The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” takes us into the heart of war-torn England for the period of May 10, 1940, through May 10, 1941, which was Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister.

From the dinosaurs and the glaciers to the first native peoples and the first European settlers, from Dutch and English Colonial rule to the American Revolution, from the slave society to the Civil War, from the robber barons and bootleggers to the war heroes and the happy rise of craft beer pubs, the Hudson Valley has a deep history.

“The Hudson Valley: The First 250 Million Years” chronicles the Valley’s rich and fascinating history and charms. Often funny, sometimes personal, always entertaining, this collection of essays offers a unique look at the Hudson Valley’s most important and interesting people, places, and events.

Mary Jo McConahay is an award-winning reporter who covered the wars in Central America and economics in the Middle East. She has traveled in seventy countries and has been fascinated by the history of World War II since childhood, when she listened to the stories of her father, a veteran U.S. Navy officer.

In her new book, "The Tango War" she fills an important gap in WWII history.

Beginning in the thirties, both sides were well aware of the need to control not just the hearts and minds but also the resources of Latin America. The fight was often dirty: residents were captured to exchange for U.S. prisoners of war and rival spy networks shadowed each other across the continent. At all times it was a Tango War, in which each side closely shadowed the other’s steps.

Ruta Sepetys is an internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction published in over sixty countries and forty languages. Sepetys is considered a "crossover" novelist, as her books are read by both teens and adults worldwide.

In her latest work, "The Fountains of Silence," Sepetys shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in a novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true postwar struggles of Spain.

New York Times columnist Gail Collins has written a new book on a subject that is timelier than ever: women and aging in America. Author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers “When Everything Changed” and “America’s Women,” Collins was the first woman to serve as the editorial page editor on the New York Times.

Her new book is “No Stopping Us Now: The Adventures of Older Women in American History.”

Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, New York is in the midst of The Susan B. Anthony Project - a yearlong community and artistic collaboration to create a new play with music about Susan B. Anthony, Mary Hubbard and their time together at Hubbard Hall.

Hubbard Hall’s also has a new partnership with The Bushwick Starr in Brooklyn and the participating residency artists will present showcases of their works-in-progress over the next few weeks.

David Snider is the Executive & Artistic Director of Hubbard Hall.

Alice Hoffman’s latest book is a bittersweet parable about the costs of survival and the behaviors that define humanity. “The World That We Knew” is set in Berlin in 1941. It follows the lives of three women who become intertwined in order to survive the dangers of the Nazi regime.

This is an Off The Shelf edition of The Book Show, recorded in Saratoga Springs in an event presented by Northshire Bookstore.

Berkshire Theatre Group presents "What The Jews Believe" at The Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts through October 20. The play is presented in association with The American National Theatre

Dave and his family still live in the old home built by his father in rural Central Texas, and they are still the only Jewish family in town. His son Nathan feels isolated attempting to understand the family’s beliefs, while his wife Rachel faces an even greater crisis of faith. Meanwhile, Dave struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy for his searching family.

Written and directed by Mark Harelik, "What the Jews Believe" is a poignant story about the loss of faith and the journey to find it.

The Greenwich Free Library and community co-sponsors will be having a special film screening of the PBS documentary "American Creed" in which former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Pulitzer-Prize winning historian David M. Kennedy come together from different points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American Creed.

The screening will take place on Wednesday, October 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Greenwich Central School High School Auditorium. Following the film, Joe Donahue will be leading a panel and community discussion. To talk more about the event and the documentary, we welcome library director, Annie Miller.

The Third Annual Shaker Your Plate Celebration at the Shaker Heritage Society is happening on Thursday September 26th.

The annual event is a celebration of the site of America’s first Shaker Settlement, and its purpose is threefold: to raise funds to protect the Shaker National Historic District from the threat of development, to celebrate the Church Family Site as a community center, and to honor our ever-growing corps of volunteers and supporters who see the potential of this site and lead the effort to preserve our local history.

The 1915 Shaker Heritage Barn will be the setting for a lovely evening with great food and a cooking demonstration from Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen, artisan demonstrations, music and a silent auction.

We welcome Shaker Heritage Society of Albany, New York Executive Director Johanna Batman.

Suzan-Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama and was the number-one choice in last year’s New York Times list of “The 25 Best American Plays Since ‘Angels in America.’” The play is now being performed at Shakespeare & Company through September 8th.

In the play: two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, are locked in a battle of wits and struggle to come to terms with their identity and what history has handed them, even their names.

Director Regge Life; actors Deaon Griffin-Pressley and Bryce Michael Wood joined us.

"The Picture Book Odysseys of Peter Sís" is on display at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. It showcases more than 90 original illustrations from 26 picture books, ranging from Sís’s exquisitely detailed paintings of historical narratives to the bold graphics of his early readers. A selection of painted objects and public art projects showcase other facets of his award-winning career.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Peter Sís transports readers to the ancient city of Prague in "The Three Golden Keys" and explores its political past in "The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain." He chronicles his father’s two-year odyssey in the Himalaya Mountains in "Tibet Through the Red Box," and creates a modern-day fairytale in "Madlenka."

Photo from The Ferryman
Joan Marcus

Fionnula Flanagan was nominated for her second Tony Award, 45 years after her first nomination, for playing “Aunt Maggie Far Away” in "The Ferryman." The play is written by Jez Butterworth and directed by Sam Mendes.

Flanagan was born and raised in Dublin and made her Broadway debut 51 years ago in a play called "Lovers." Her previous Tony nomination was for her 1974 performance in "Ulysses in Nighttown" (which was her last appearance on Broadway before "The Ferryman").

The play itself has continued to garner acclaim – it received 9 Tony nominations, tied for the most of any play this season, and overall it has received more awards nominations than any other play of the year.

What if you had the chance to listen to living Holocaust survivors?

SageArts local songwriters and creative arts facilitators met with local survivors and their caregivers to compose songs and craft meaningful pieces of art – including masks, collages, prints and paintings – based on the themes that emerged from their conversations. This spring, they'll share these powerful pieces in an event that highlights the healing power of the arts.

“Honoring Holocaust Survivors: A Concert of Resilience and Hope” will be held on May 5th at 1:00 p.m. at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. The entire Hudson Valley community is invited to join Jewish Family Service of Orange County in honoring survivors.

To tell us more we welcome: Elise Gold, Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Orange County; Julie Last, Musical Director of SageArts; and Jude Roberts, Songwriter of SageArts.

Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and it’s predicted that by 2030, 60% of the population in China, 87% of Americans, and 92% of residents in the United Kingdom will be city dwellers.

Yet urban inhabitation is a relatively new phenomenon in the timeline of human history—the first cities came into being about 6,000 years ago. The creation of cities was not an inevitability, so why did it happen?

In her new book, Cities: The First 6,000 Years, UCLA professor of anthropology Monica L. Smith explains the rise of the first urban developments and their connections to the cities of today.

Book cover for "Passage" and photo of Khary Lazarre-White
Author photo by Emmanuel Andre

Khary Lazarre-White, author, activist and attorney, is the executive director and cofounder of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), a nationally renowned, Harlem-based youth services organization.

His first novel, "Passage," is the story of Warrior, a young man navigating the snowy winter streets of Harlem and Brooklyn in 1993. Warrior is surrounded by deep family love and a sustaining connection to his history, bonds that arm him as he confronts the urban forces that surround him--both supernatural and human including some that seek his very destruction.

He will be in Albany, New York for a pair of New York State Writers Institute events with Reif Larsen on Thursday, April 11.

Hudson Hall in Hudson, New York is presenting a reading and panel discussion to celebrate the publication of Hudson and Brooklyn-based artist and author Daniel Rothbart’s "Seeing Naples: Reports from the Shadow of Vesuvius."

The book of travel writing is inspired by Rothbart’s experiences as a Fulbright scholar in Naples during the early 1990’s, and combines personal narrative with stories from the city’s history, ancient and modern, that speak to Neapolitan values and culture.

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