World War II | WAMC

World War II

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.

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."

Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthur sign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on September 2, 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies officially ended the Second World War.
United States Navy - This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the National Archives Identifier (NAID) 520694.

On September 2, 1945 the hostilities of World War II ended when Japan’s formal surrender was signed aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Aboard that ship 75 years ago was Bob Kennedy, a native of New York’s Steuben County who now lives in Saratoga Springs. WAMC's Jim Levulis spoke with Kennedy about that day.

MGM Studio Chief Louis B. Mayer called it the most important story he would ever film. ‘The Beginning or the End’ was a big budget dramatization of the Manhattan Project and the invention and use of the revolutionary new weapon.

Now published, as the world marks the 75th anniversary of the bombings, "The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood―and America―Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" is a book from award winning author Greg Mitchell, which chronicles the never before told story behind Hollywood's historic flop and the secret campaign to silence the scientists who tried to warn the world about a nuclear arms race. 

Joe Donahue: New York Times best-selling author AJ Baime's new book "Dewey Defeats Truman" gives us the story of what happened to Truman's presidency after the bomb was dropped. The chronicles the story of the 1948 presidential election, one of the greatest election stories of all time, as Truman mounted a history-making comeback and staked a claim for a new course for America. On the eve of the 1948 election, America was a fractured country, racism was rampant foreign relations were fraught and political parties were more divided than ever.

Americans were certain that President Harry S. Truman's political career was over. The only man in the world confident that Truman would win was Mr. Truman himself, and win he did. AJ Baime is the author of "The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World," and is a longtime regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal. 

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. 

Chris Wallace is a veteran journalist and anchor of Fox News Sunday. His new book, "Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the 116 Days That Changed the World," a behind-the-scenes account of the secret meetings and lead up to the world's first use of the atomic bomb in wartime-the American attack on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. 

Esther Safran Foer grew up in a home where the past was too terrible to speak of - born in Poland after World War II, her mother and father each the sole survivors of their respective families. For Esther, the Holocaust loomed in the backdrop of her daily life, but never felt discussed. The result was a childhood marked by painful silences and continued tragedy.

Even as she built a successful career married and raised three children, Esther always filter self searching. When Esther was in her early 40s, her mother casually mentioned in astonishing revelation that Esther's father had a previous wife and daughter both murdered in the Holocaust.

That would mark the beginning of the search that would define the next 20 years. She writes about it in her new book, "I Want You to Know We're Still Here" where she recounts her journey to piece together her past.

Esther Safran for was the CEO of Sixth & I, a center for arts, ideas and religion. She lives in Washington with her husband, Bert. They are the parents of Franklin, Jonathan and Joshua Safran Foer, all bestselling authors.

Harry Stewart Jr.
Lydia Thompson (21st Century Fox)/(Robert Clark/National Geographic)

On this Memorial Day, few World War II veterans remain. 75 years after the end of the conflict, the ranks of the so-called Greatest Generation are dwindling. Among those still able to tell their stories, is Lieutenant Colonel Harry Stewart Jr. 

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.

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.

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.

E. R. Ramzipoor's debut novel "The Ventriloquists" is a work of fiction inspired by a little known scheme carried out against the Nazis by a small band of resisters.

Set in occupied Belgium, the saga resurrects and reimagines the story of men and women who laid their lives on the line to create a faux newspaper to mock the Germans and subvert the Nazis' own propaganda machine.

In Peter Steiner's novel "The Good Cop" it's 1920 in Munich. Detective Willi Geismeier has a problem: how do you uphold the law when the law goes bad? The First World War has been lost and Germany is in turmoil. The new government in Berlin is weak. The police and courts are corrupt. Fascists and Communists are fighting in the streets. People want a savior, someone who can make Germany great again. To many, Adolf Hitler seems perfect for the job.

When the offices of a Munich newspaper are bombed, Willi Geismeier investigates, but as it gets political, he is taken off the case. Willi continues to ask questions, but when his pursuit of the truth itself becomes a crime, his career and his life are in grave danger.

Peter Steiner is the author of the critically acclaimed Louis Morgon series of crime novels. He is also a cartoonist for The New Yorker Magazine.

Acclaimed author Courtney Maum’s latest, "Costalegre," is the striking, heartbreaking and strange story of a privileged teenager who has everything a girl could wish for except for a mother who loves her back - heavily inspired by the real-life relationship between the heiress Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter.

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the New York Times bestseller "The Orphan's Tale." Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland.

Her new book, "The Lost Girls of Paris,"shines a light on the incredible heroics of a network of female secret agents in World War II and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.

While the mass internment of Japanese Americans during WWII is well documented, few know about the other immigrant groups who suffered similar fates. More than eleven thousand American citizens and legal residents of German descent were also held during World War II along with Japanese and Italian-Americans thought to be potentially sympathetic to the country’s enemies.

Susan Meissner’s new historical novel "The Last Year Of The War," shines light on the U.S. government’s little-known repatriation program during WWII and resonates with timely questions about what it means to be an American.

Pat Bradley/WAMC

A New York congressman is encouraging Americans around the world to send cards to a World War II veteran in the Hudson Valley who will be celebrating his 100th birthday. 

The Hubbard Hall production of "I Am My Own Wife" by Doug Wright runs March 8–17. The Pulitzer Prize winning drama focuses on the true story of a transgender woman's survival of both Nazi and Soviet regimes and her experience of history in the making.

To tell us more we welcome the director Trey Morehouse, actor Rylan Morsbach and Hubbard Hall Artistic and Executive Director David Snider.

During the New Deal and World War II, Washington elites turned to Hope Ridings Miller’s column in the Washington Post to see what was really going on in town. Cocktail parties, embassy receptions and formal dinners were her beat as society editor. “I went as a guest,” said Miller, “and hoped that they’d forget I was a reporter.”

In "Washington’s Golden Age," Times Union reporter, critic, and author Joseph Dalton chronicles the life of this pioneering woman journalist who covered the powerful vortex of politics, diplomacy, and society during a career that stretched from FDR to LBJ. After joining the Post staff, she was the only woman on the city desk. Later she had a nationally syndicated column. For ten years she edited Diplomat Magazine and then wrote three books about Washington life.

#1463: "The Tango War"

Oct 4, 2018

World War 2 earned its name. When studying the history of this conflict you will find yourself talking about Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States. And you should also be talking about a region that played a very important part of early Axis success…and the ultimate Allied victory: Latin America. Our neighbors to the south were a source of materials vital to the war efforts of both sides.

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, it’s back to history class to learn about the role of Latin America in World War 2.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is sacred ground at Arlington National Cemetery. Originally constructed in 1921 to hold one of the thousands of unidentified American soldiers lost in World War I, it now also contains unknowns from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and receives millions of visitors each year who pay silent tribute.

In "The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America’s Unknown Soldier and WWI’s Most Decorated Heroes Who Brought Him Home," celebrated military historian and bestselling author Patrick O’Donnell illuminates the saga behind the creation of the Tomb itself and recreates the moving ceremony during which it was consecrated and the eight Body Bearers, and the sergeant who had chosen the one body to be interred, solemnly united.

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them.

If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she's the Nazis' worst nightmare.

Matt Killeen's new novel is "Orphan Monster Spy."

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.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A planned Holocaust memorial has drawn controversy in the Schenectady County Town of Niskayuna. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard was at a crowded public hearing on the project Tuesday night.

  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.

“Manhattan Beach” is the latest from Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Jennifer Egan. It is a haunting and propulsive WWII-era novel that tells the intertwined stories of Anna Kerrigan, a Brooklyn Navy Yard diver, her father Eddie Kerrigan, a longshoreman turned small-time gangster, and Eddie’s connected boss, Dexter Styles.

In 1938, Mercedes-Benz began production of the largest, most luxurious limousine in the world. A machine of frightening power and sinister beauty, the Grosser 770K Model 150 Offener Tourenwagen was 20 feet long, seven feet wide, and tipped the scales at 5 tons. Its supercharged, 230-horsepower engine propelled the beast to speeds over 100 m.p.h. while its occupants reclined on glove-leather seats stuffed with goose down. Armor plated and equipped with hidden compartments for Luger pistols, the 770K was a sumptuous monster with a monstrous patron: Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party.

In The Devil’s Mercedes, author Robert Klara uncovers the forgotten story of how Americans responded to these rolling relics of fascism on their soil.

Robert Klara is the author of FDR’s Funeral Train and The Hidden White House. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, American Heritage, and The Guardian, among numerous other publications. Klara has also worked as a staff editor for magazines including Town & Country, Architecture, and Adweek.

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.

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