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Latest episodes from New Books in Biography

Joseph Sassoon, "The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and the Making of an Empire" (Pantheon Books, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2022 44:28


The Sassoons were one of the great merchant families of the nineteenth century, alongside such names as the Jardines, the Mathesons, and the Swires. They dominated the India-China opium trade through the David Sassoon and E.D. Sassoon companies. They became Indian tycoons, English aristocracy, Hong Kong board directors, and Shanghai real estate moguls. Yet unlike the Kadoories and Swires, the Sassoon companies no longer exist today. Professor Joseph Sassoon in his latest book The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and the Making of an Empire (Pantheon, 2022) helps to answer that question, from the Sassoons' start fleeing Baghdad for Bombay, through to Victor Sassoon's investments in the Shanghai before the Second World War. In this interview, Joseph and I talk about the Sassoon family: from David, the patriarch of the family, through to Victor Sassoon, Shanghai real estate mogul. And we also think about the Sassoons as a business: how did this great, global family trading house decline–and are there lessons for the businesses of today? Joseph Sassoon is Professor of History and Political Economy and Director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. He is also a Senior Associate Member at St Antony's College, Oxford and a Trustee of the Bodleian Library. His previous books include the prize-winning Saddam Hussein's Ba'th Party: Inside an Authoritarian Regime (Cambridge University Press: 2012), The Iraqi Refugees: The New Crisis in the Middle East (I. B. Taurus, 2010), and Anatomy of Authoritarianism in the Arab Republics (Cambridge University Press: 2016). You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of The Sassoons. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an associate editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

The Future of Xi and China: A Discussion with Sue Lin Wong

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2022 49:53


What will a Chinese-dominated world look like? And since Xi Jin Ping will probably rule China for life, what does he want to do; what does he believe in and what does he mean for China and the world? Sue Lin Wong has made an excellent podcast series on him called "The Prince: Searching for Xi Jinping" and discussed the Chinese leader with Owen Bennett-Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

William Marling, "Christian Anarchist: Ammon Hennacy, A Life on the Catholic Left" (NYU Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 73:30


Ammon Hennacy was arrested over thirty times for opposing US entry in World War 1. Later, when he refused to pay taxes that support war, he lost his wife and daughters, and then his job. For protesting the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he was hounded by the IRS and driven to migrant labor in the fields of the West. He had a romance with Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, who called him a “prophet and a peasant.” He helped the homeless on the Bowery, founded the Joe Hill House of Hospitality in Salt Lake City, and protested the US development of nuclear missiles, becoming in the process one of the most celebrated anarchists of the twentieth century. To our era, when so much “protest” happens on social media, his actual sacrifices seem unworldly. Ammon Hennacy was a forerunner of contemporary progressive thought, and he remains a beacon for challenges that confront the world and especially the US today. In this exceptional biography, William Marling tells the story of this fascinating figure, who remains particularly important for the Catholic Left. In addition to establishing Hennacy as an exemplar of vegetarianism, ecology, and pacificism, Marling illuminates a broader history of political ideas now largely lost: the late nineteenth-century utopian movements, the grassroots socialist movements before World War I, and the antinuclear protests of the 1960s. A nuanced study of when religion and anarchist theory overlap, Christian Anarchist: Ammon Hennacy, A Life on the Catholic Left (NYU Press, 2022) shows how Hennacy's life at the heart of radical libertarian and anarchist interventions in American politics not only galvanized the public then, but offers us new insight for today. William Marling is Professor of English and World Literature at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of a number of books, most recently Gatekeepers: The Emergence of World Literature and the 1960s (Oxford UP, 2016), which won the Nancy Dasher Prize and was the subject of an international conference in Hannover, Germany. Jackson Reinhardt is a graduate of University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University. He is currently an independent scholar, freelance writer, and research assistant. You can reach Jackson at jtreinhardt1997@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @JTRhardt Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Cornelia Spelman, "Missing" (Jackleg Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2022 40:26


In her new memoir, Missing (Jackleg Press, 2022), children's book author Cornelia Maude Spelman explores her family history and her mother's life. Spelman was encouraged by her friend, the late, legendary New Yorker editor William Maxwell to write her life. When Spelman hints at what she thinks of as the failure of her parents' lives, he counters that "in a good novel one doesn't look for a success story, but for a story that moves one with its human drama and richness of experience." Maxwell encourages her to tell her mother's story at their final meeting. Missing is Spelman's response to Maxwell's wisdom. With the pacing of the mystery novels her mother loved and using everything from letters and interviews to the family's quotidian paper trail-medical records, telegrams, and other oft-overlooked clues to a family's history-Spelman reconstructs her mother's life and untimely death. Along the way, she unravels mysteries of her family, including the fate of her long-lost older brother. Spelman skillfully draws the reader into the elation and sorrow that accompanies the discovery of a family's past. A profoundly loving yet honest elegy, Missing is complex and beautiful like the mother it memorializes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Stephen Galloway, "Truly, Madly: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and the Romance of the Century" (Grand Central, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2022 56:47


A sweeping and heartbreaking Hollywood biography about the passionate, turbulent marriage of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. In 1934, a friend brought fledgling actress Vivien Leigh to see Theatre Royal, where she would first lay eyes on Laurence Olivier in his brilliant performance as Anthony Cavendish. That night, she confided to a friend, he was the man she was going to marry. There was just one problem: She was already married—and so was he. Truly, Madly: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, and the Romance of the Century (Grand Central, 2022) is the biography of a marriage, a love affair that still captivates millions, even decades after both actors' deaths. Vivien and Larry were two of the first truly global celebrities - their fame fueled by the explosive growth of tabloids and television, which helped and hurt them in equal measure. They seemed to have it all, and yet, in their own minds, they were doomed, blighted by her long-undiagnosed mental illness, which transformed their relationship from the stuff of dreams into a living nightmare. Through new research, including exclusive access to previously unpublished correspondence and interviews with their friends and family, author Stephen Galloway takes listeners on a bewitching journey. He brilliantly studies their tempestuous liaison, one that took place against the backdrop of two world wars, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and the upheavals of the 1960s –as they struggled with love, loss, and the ultimate agony of their parting. Stephen Galloway is the dean of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Prior to joining in 2020, he was for many years the executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O'Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found at https://fifteenminutefilm.podb... and on Twitter @15MinFilm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Gregory Nobles, "The Education of Betsey Stockton: An Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2022 57:20


The life of Betsey Stockton (ca. 1798–1865) is a remarkable story of a Black woman's journey from slavery to emancipation, from antebellum New Jersey to the Hawai‘ian Islands, and from her own self-education to a lifetime of teaching others—all told against the backdrop of the early United States' pervasive racism. It's a compelling chronicle of a critical time in American history and a testament to the courage and commitment of a woman whose persistence grew into a potent form of resistance. When Betsey Stockton was a child, she was “given, as a slave” to the household of Rev. Ashbel Green, a prominent pastor and later the president of what is now Princeton University. Although she never went to school, she devoured the books in Green's library. After being emancipated, she used that education to benefit other people of color, first in Hawai‘i as a missionary, then Philadelphia, and, for the last three decades of her life, Princeton—a college town with a genteel veneer that never fully hid its racial hostility. Betsey Stockton became a revered figure in Princeton's sizeable Black population, a founder of religious and educational institutions, and a leader engaged in the day-to-day business of building communities. In The Education of Betsey Stockton: An Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (U Chicago Press, 2022), Gregory Nobles illuminates both a woman and her world, following her around the globe, and showing how a determined individual could challenge her society's racial obstacles from the ground up. It's at once a revealing lesson on the struggles of Stockton's times and a fresh inspiration for our own. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Tara T. Green, "Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2022 52:33


Born in New Orleans in 1875 to a mother who was formerly enslaved and a father of questionable identity, Alice Dunbar-Nelson was a pioneering activist, writer, suffragist, and educator. Until now, Dunbar-Nelson has largely been viewed only in relation to her abusive ex-husband, the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Love, Activism, and the Respectable Life of Alice Dunbar-Nelson (Bloomsbury, 2022) is the first book-length look at this major figure in Black women's history, covering her life from the post-reconstruction era through the Harlem Renaissance. Tara T. Green builds on Black feminist, sexuality, historical and cultural studies to create a literary biography that examines Dunbar-Nelson's life and legacy as a respectable activist – a woman who navigated complex challenges associated with resisting racism and sexism, and who defined her sexual identity and sexual agency within the confines of respectability politics. It's a book about the past, but it's also a book about the present that nods to the future. Adam McNeil is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Aidan Enright, "Charles Owen O'Conor, the O'Conor Don: Landlordism, Liberal Catholicism and Unionism in Nineteenth-Century Ireland" (Four Courts, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 30:25


Aidan Enright holds a PhD in History from Queen's University Belfast and is an Associate Researcher and Part-Time Lecturer in History at Leeds Beckett University, where he teaches Modern British History and he is also a Teacher of Social Sciences at University of Bradford International College. In this interview, he discusses his first book, Charles Owen O'Conor, the O'Conor Don: Landlordism, Liberal Catholicism and Unionism in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Four Courts, 2022) This book uncovers the world of Charles Owen O'Conor, the O‘Conor Don (1838–1906), one of the most prominent Catholic landlords and Liberal MPs of his generation. The scion of the last high king of Ireland and one of a long line of politically active O'Conors, he was a wealthy, fair-minded landlord who served as MP for his native County Roscommon between 1860 and 1880. In parliament, he supported reforms in education, juvenile care, factory law, Sunday closing, the Irish language and landownership. However, as a loyalist, unionist and imperialist, he was out of step with the mood and aims of popular Irish nationalism, especially on the issue of home rule. Indeed, although he was a devout Catholic, proud Irishman and critic of the union, his liberal Catholic and unionist outlook ensured that he became an increasingly marginalized figure as Irish politics polarized along Catholic nationalist and Protestant unionist lines. Charles Owen O'Conor, the O'Conor Don: landlordism, liberal Catholicism and unionism in nineteenth-century Ireland is published by Four Courts Press. Aidan Beatty is a historian at the Frederick Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Joseph McBride, "Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge" (Columbia UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 87:11


The director and cowriter of some of the world's most iconic films―including Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment―Billy Wilder earned acclaim as American cinema's greatest social satirist. Though an influential fixture in Hollywood, Wilder always saw himself as an outsider. His worldview was shaped by his background in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and work as a journalist in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power, and his perspective as a Jewish refugee from Nazism lent his films a sense of the peril that could engulf any society. In this critical study, Joseph McBride offers new ways to understand Wilder's work, stretching from his days as a reporter and screenwriter in Europe to his distinguished as well as forgotten films as a Hollywood writer and his celebrated work as a writer-director. In contrast to the widespread view of Wilder as a hardened cynic, McBride reveals him to be a disappointed romantic. Wilder's experiences as an exile led him to mask his sensitivity beneath a veneer of wisecracking that made him a celebrated caustic wit. Amid the satirical barbs and exposure of social hypocrisies, Wilder's films are marked by intense compassion and a profound understanding of the human condition. Mixing biographical insight with in-depth analysis of films from throughout Wilder's career as a screenwriter and director of comedy and drama, and drawing on McBride's interviews with the director and his collaborators, this book casts new light on the full range of Wilder's rich, complex, and distinctive vision. Joseph McBride is a film historian and professor in the School of Cinema at San Francisco State University. His many books include the critical study How Did Lubitsch Do It? (Columbia, 2018) as well as acclaimed biographies of Frank Capra, John Ford, and Steven Spielberg and three books on Orson Welles. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Ray Scott, "The NBA in Black and White: The Memoir of a Trailblazing NBA Player and Coach" (Seven Stories Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2022 74:14


“There's a basic insecurity with Black guys my size,” Scott writes. “We can't hide and everybody turns to stare when we walk down the street. … Whites believe that their culture is superior to African-American culture. ... We don't accept many of [their] answers, but we have to live with them.” Ray Scott was part of the early wave of Black NBA players like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who literally changed how the game of professional basketball is played—leading to the tremendously popular financial blockbuster the NBA is today. Scott was a celebrated 6'9” forward/center after being chosen by the Detroit Pistons as the #4 pick of the 1961 NBA draft, and then again after he was named head coach of the Pistons in October 1972, winning Coach of the Year in the spring of 1974—the first black man ever to capture that honor. Scott's is a story of quiet persistence, hard work, and, most of all, respect. He credits the mentorship of NBA player and coach Earl Lloyd, and talks about fellow Philly native Wilt Chamberlain and friends Muhammad Ali and Aretha Franklin, among many others. Ray has lived through one of the most turbulent times in our nation's history, especially the time of assassinations of so many Black leaders at the end of the 1960s. Through it all, his voice remains quiet and measured, transcending all the sorrows with his steadiness and positive attitude. The NBA in Black and White: The Memoir of a Trailblazing NBA Player and Coach (Seven Stories Press, 2022) is his story, told in collaboration with the great basketball writer, former college player and CBA coach Charley Rosen. Paul Knepper covered the Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Jeanne Theoharis, "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks" (Beacon Press, 2015)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022 62:30


The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Beacon Press, 2015) is the definitive political biography of Rosa Parks and the basis for a 2022 documentary, Theoharis's book examines Park's six decades of activism, challenging perceptions of her as an accidental actor in the civil rights movement.  This interview revisits the original book, as well as Dr. Theoharis's involvement as a consulting producer and participant in the documentary. The film premiered in 2022 at the Tribeca Film Festival and is currently streaming on Peacock Presenting a powerful corrective to the popular iconography of Rosa Parks as the quiet seamstress who with a single act birthed the modern civil rights movement, scholar Jeanne Theoharis excavates Parks's political philosophy and six decades of activism. Theoharis masterfully details the political depth of a national heroine who dedicated her life to fighting American inequality and, in the process, resurrects a civil rights movement radical who has been hidden in plain sight far too long. Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University and an Associate Faculty member at University of Arizona Global Campus. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Burt Kearns, "Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood's Real-Life Tough Guy" (UP of Kentucky, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2022 47:45


In his latest book, Lawrence Tierney: Hollywood's Real-Life Tough Guy (The University of Kentucky Press, 2022) Burt Kearns explores the life of actor Lawrence Tierney (1919-2002) whose natural swagger and gruff disposition made him the perfect fit for the Hollywood "tough guy" archetype. Known for his erratic and oftentimes violent nature, Tierney drew upon his bellicose reputation throughout his career--a reputation that made him one of the most feared and mythologized characters in the industry. Born in Brooklyn to Irish American parents, Tierney worked in theatre in New York before moving to Hollywood in 1943 where he signed with RKO Radio Pictures. His biggest roles would come in Dillinger (1945), in which he played 1930s gangster and bank robber John Dillinger, and Robert Wise's film noir classic Born to Kill (1947). Despite his natural talents Tierney was trouble from the start, struggling with alcoholism and mental instability that emboldened him to start fights whenever and wherever he could. The continued bouts of alcohol-fueled rage, his subsequent stints in jail, and his continued attempts at rehabilitation curtailed his acting career.  Unable to find work throughout much of the 1960s, he did a stint in Europe before eventually returning to New York where he took odd jobs as a construction worker, bartender, and hansom cab driver. In the mid-1980s Tierney returned to acting. With a somewhat cooler head, he established himself again with recurring roles in shows such as Seinfeld and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He would take on his final projects as a septuagenarian in Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Armageddon (1998), where his on-set behavior would once again draw the ire of his colleagues and studio representatives. He would go down swinging just shy of his 83rd birthday, his tough-guy image solidly intact until the end. Kearns explores Tierney's storied life from his days as Dillinger, to his clash with Quentin Tarantino at the end of film career, and his final public appearances. The first official biography of the late personality, the book draws on the writings of Hollywood reporters and gossip columnists who first reported on Tierney's antics, and exclusive interviews with surviving colleagues, friends, family members--and victims. Through their words and his research, Kearns paints a portrait of Tierney's brutish behavior and the industry's reaction to the pugnacious star, drawing parallels--and the line--between the man and the characters that made him a Hollywood legend.  Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Elissa Bassist, "Hysterical: A Memoir" (Hachette, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 29:34


Today I talked to Elissa Bassist about her memoir Hysterical: A Memoir (Hachette, 2022) For two years author Elissa Bassist saw over twenty medical specialists for pain that none of them managed to diagnose or resolve. Some of their treatments led to other medical problems but never relief. Then an acupuncturist suggested that she simply needed to take control of her voice, and Bassist was shocked when it worked. How, as far as we think we've come, is it still the case that a girl born in 1984 could have so much in common with generations of women who were expected to be silent, to "get along," to accept whatever was happening even when their souls ached, their heads pounded, and their bodies withered? Bassist was accused of "being dramatic" when she experienced pain and "inappropriate" when she expressed her sadness or suffering. She said “yes,” when she meant, “no,” and accepted others' opinions that she was too emotional, too loud, or too aggressive. In her justifiably angry voice, the one she had to take control of, Bassist shares her personal journey from broken and bleeding, scared and lonely, to acerbically funny and quick to call out nonsense. She's straightforward and unashamed in sharing the moments she's least proud of and the times she'd rather forget, because now she wants to teach other women that it's okay to "look bad" in service of unmuting their own voices. Elissa Bassist is the editor of the “Funny Women” column on The Rumpus and the author of the award-deserving memoir Hysterical. As a founding contributor to The Rumpus, she's written cultural and personal criticism since the website launched in 2009. She also teaches humor writing at The New School, Catapult, 92NY, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and elsewhere, and she is probably her therapist's favorite. Bassist lives in Brooklyn with her dog Benny, a very good boy, and when not writing or reading or teaching, she watches horror movies, rides roller coasters, and does light witchcraft. G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (GPGottlieb.com). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Gregor Gall, "The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer: Radicalism, Resistance and Rebellion" (Manchester UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2022 64:17


Joe Strummer was one of the twentieth century's iconic rock'n'roll rebels. As frontperson, spokesperson and chief lyricist for The Clash, he played a major role in politicising a generation through some of the most powerful protest songs of the era, songs like 'White Riot', 'English Civil War' and 'London Calling'. At the heart of this protest was the struggle for social justice and equality. The Punk Rock Politics of Joe Strummer: Radicalism, Resistance and Rebellion (Manchester UP, 2022) examines Strummer's beliefs on a range of issues - including socialism, alienation, exploitation, multiculturalism and humanism - analysing their credibility, influence and impact, and asking where they came from and how they developed over time. Drawing on Strummer's lyrics, various interviews and bootleg recordings, as well as interviews with those he inspired, The punk rock politics of Joe Strummer takes the reader on a journey through the political influences and motivations that defined one of the UK's greatest punk icons. Gregor Gall is a Visiting Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Glasgow. He is editor of the Scottish Left Review magazine, director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation and a regular contributor to various newspapers and magazines. Gregor Gall on Twitter. Bradley Morgan is a media arts professional in Chicago and author of U2's The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America. He manages partnerships on behalf of CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM, serves as a co-chair of the associate board at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and volunteers in the music archive at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Bradley Morgan on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Michael Frank, "One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World" (Simon and Schuster, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2022 60:03


With nearly a century of life behind her, Stella Levi had never before spoken in detail about her past. Then she met Michael Frank. He came to her Greenwich Village apartment one Saturday afternoon to ask her a question about the Juderia, the neighborhood in Rhodes where she'd grown up in a Jewish community that had thrived there for half a millennium. Neither of them could know this was the first of one hundred Saturdays over the course of six years that they would spend in each other's company. During these meetings Stella traveled back in time to conjure what it felt like to come of age on this luminous, legendary island in the eastern Aegean, which the Italians conquered in 1912, began governing as an official colonial possession in 1923, and continued to administer even after the Germans seized control in September 1943. The following July, the Germans rounded up all 1,700-plus residents of the Juderia and sent them first by boat and then by train to Auschwitz on what was the longest journey--measured by both time and distance--of any of the deportations. Ninety percent of them were murdered upon arrival. Probing and courageous, candid and sly, Stella is a magical modern-day Scheherazade whose stories reveal what it was like to grow up in an extraordinary place in an extraordinary time--and to construct a life after that place has vanished. One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World (Simon and Schuster, 2022) is a portrait of one of the last survivors drawn at nearly the last possible moment, as well as an account of a tender and transformative friendship that develops between storyteller and listener as they explore the fundamental mystery of what it means to collect, share, and interpret the deepest truths of a life deeply lived. Drora Arussy, EdD, MA, MJS, is the Senior Director of the ASF Institute of Jewish Experience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Steve Kemper, "Our Man In Tokyo: An American Ambassador and the Countdown to Pearl Harbor" (Mariner Books, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2022 42:18


A gripping, behind-the-scenes account of the personalities and contending forces in Tokyo during the volatile decade that led to World War II, as seen through the eyes of the American ambassador who attempted to stop the slide to war.  In 1932, Japan was in crisis. Naval officers had assassinated the prime minister and conspiracies flourished. The military had a stranglehold on the government. War with Russia loomed, and propaganda campaigns swept the country, urging schoolchildren to give money to procure planes and tanks. Into this maelstrom stepped Joseph C. Grew, America's most experienced and talented diplomat. When Grew was appointed ambassador to Japan, not only was the country in turmoil, its relationship with America was rapidly deteriorating. For the next decade, Grew attempted to warn American leaders about the risks of Japan's raging nationalism and rising militarism, while also trying to stabilize Tokyo's increasingly erratic and volatile foreign policy. From domestic terrorism by Japanese extremists to the global rise of Hitler and the fateful attack on Pearl Harbor, the events that unfolded during Grew's tenure proved to be pivotal for Japan, and for the world. His dispatches from the darkening heart of the Japanese empire would prove prescient—for his time, and for our own. Drawing on Grew's diary of his time in Tokyo as well as U.S. embassy correspondence, diplomatic dispatches, and firsthand Japanese accounts, Our Man in Tokyo: An American Ambassador and the Countdown to Pearl Harbor (Mariner Books, 2022) brings to life a man who risked everything to avert another world war, the country where he staked it all—and the abyss that swallowed it. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

John Darnell and Colleen Darnell, "Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth" (St. Martin's Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2022 58:04


Two celebrated Egyptologists bring to vivid life the intriguing and controversial reign of King Tut's parents. Akhenaten has been the subject of radically different, even contradictory, biographies. The king has achieved fame as the world's first individual and the first monotheist, but others have seen him as an incestuous tyrant who nearly ruined the kingdom he ruled. The gold funerary mask of his son Tutankhamun and the painted bust of his wife Nefertiti are the most recognizable artifacts from all of ancient Egypt. But who are Akhenaten and Nefertiti? And what can we actually say about rulers who lived more than three thousand years ago? November 2022 marks the centennial of the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun and although "King Tut" is a household name, his nine-year rule pales in comparison to the revolutionary reign of his parents. Akhenaten and Nefertiti became gods on earth by transforming Egyptian solar worship, innovating in art and urban design, and merging religion and politics in ways never attempted before. Combining fascinating scholarship, detective suspense, and adventurous thrills, Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth (St. Martin's Press, 2022) is a journey through excavations, museums, hieroglyphic texts, and stunning artifacts. From clue to clue, renowned Egyptologists John and Colleen Darnell reconstruct an otherwise untold story of the magnificent reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. John and Colleen Darnell are a husband-and-wife Egyptologist team. They have presented on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, the Science Channel, and Smithsonian, as well as appeared in National Geographic's "Lost Treasures of Egypt." John is Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University. His archaeological expeditions in Egypt have been covered by the New York Times. In 2017, his Eastern Desert expedition discovered the earliest monumental hieroglyphic inscription and was named one of the top ten discoveries of the year by Archaeology. Colleen teaches art history at the University of Hartford and Naugatuck Valley Community College; she has curated a major museum exhibit on Egyptian revival art and design at the Yale Peabody Museum. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network (Twitter: @caleb_zakarin). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Rachael Hanel, "Not the Camilla We Knew: One Woman's Life from Small-Town America to the Symbionese Liberation Army" (U Minnesota Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 11, 2022 46:46


How could an artist and former social worker from small-town Minnesota become one of the most wanted domestic terrorists in the United States? Camilla Hall was a pastor's daughter who eventually joined the notorious Symbionese Liberation Army before dying in a shootout with Los Angeles Police in May 1974.  In Not the Camilla We Knew: One Woman's Path from Small-town America to the Symbionese Liberation Army (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), Rachael Hanel traces Hall's path from her Minnesota home to her final, radical SLA family—through welfare offices, political campaigns, union organizing, and a love affair that would be her introduction to the SLA. Through in-depth research and extensive interviews, Hanel pieces together Camilla's bewildering transformation from a "gentle, zaftig, arty, otherworldy" young woman (as one observer remarked), working for social change within the system, into a gun-wielding criminal involved in the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. As Hanel writes, contemporary reporters “struggled to find an easy narrative for her life and when they couldn't find one, they made one up.” Moving past these thin, often salacious narratives that paint Camilla as a duped ex-girlfriend or a militant radical, this book recovers both the deep humanity and the extraordinary circumstances of Camilla Hall's life. At a time of mounting unrest and violence, Hall's story is a reminder of how the forces of radicalization can operate in an individual life Rebecca Turkington is a PhD Candidate in History at Cambridge University studying transnational women's networks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Muggsy Bogues and Jake Uitti, "Muggsy: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball" (Triumph, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2022 54:53


Growing up, Muggsy Bogues was always told he should do something else, anything besides basketball. He never acknowledged his many doubters except to prove them spectacularly wrong. Twenty years after receiving his first basketball as a toddler, he stood proud—at five-foot-three—as the starting point guard for the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA. From the East Baltimore playground courts where he earned his nickname by muggin' opponents for possession of the ball to Dunbar High School where he excelled alongside future NBA players, Bogues set the tone in his early years for the great heights he'd reach professionally. In Muggsy: My Life from a Kid in the Projects to the Godfather of Small Ball (Triumph, 2022), Bogues delves deep into his life and career, reflecting on legendary battles with Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and other generational stars of '80s and '90s hoops. He shares far-ranging anecdotes from playoff runs in Charlotte, filming Space Jam, and even watching a young Steph Curry grow up. Conversational and clear-sighted, this is a story of uncompromising vision and fleet-footed determination during a golden era for the NBA. Paul Knepper covered the Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Nancy Woloch, "The Insider: A Life of Virginia C. Gildersleeve" (Columbia UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 9, 2022 86:29


Virginia C. Gildersleeve was the most influential dean of Barnard College, which she led from 1911 to 1947. An organizer of the Seven College Conference, or “Seven Sisters,” she defended women's intellectual abilities and the value of the liberal arts. She also amassed a strong set of foreign policy credentials and, at the peak of her prominence in 1945, served as the sole woman member of the U.S. delegation to the drafting of the United Nations Charter. But her accomplishments are undercut by other factors: she had a reputation for bias against Jewish applicants for admission to Barnard and early in the 1930s voiced an indulgent view of the Nazi regime. In this biography, historian Nancy Woloch explores Gildersleeve's complicated career in academia and public life. At once a privileged insider, prone to elitism and insularity, and a perpetual outsider to the sexist establishment in whose ranks she sought to ascend, Gildersleeve stands out as richly contradictory. The book examines her initiatives in higher education, her savvy administration, her strategies for gaining influence in academic life, the ways that she acquired and deployed expertise, and her drive to take part in the world of foreign affairs. Woloch draws out her ambivalent stance in the women's movement, concerned with women's status but opposed to demands for equal rights. Tracing resonant themes of ambition, competition, and rivalry, The Insider: A Life of Virginia C. Gildersleeve (Columbia UP, 2022) masterfully weaves Gildersleeve's life into the histories of education, international relations, and feminism. Jane Scimeca is Professor of History at Brookdale Community College. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Andrew Fitzmaurice, "King Leopold's Ghostwriter: The Creation of Persons and States in the Nineteenth Century" (Princeton UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2022 76:57


Eminent jurist, Oxford professor, advocate to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Travers Twiss (1809–1897) was a model establishment figure in Victorian Britain, and a close collaborator of Prince Metternich, the architect of the Concert of Europe. Yet Twiss's life was defined by two events that threatened to undermine the order that he had so stoutly defended: a notorious social scandal and the creation of the Congo Free State. In King Leopold's Ghostwriter: The Creation of Persons and States in the Nineteenth Century (Princeton UP, 2021), Dr. Andrew Fitzmaurice tells the incredible story of a man who, driven by personal events that transformed him from a reactionary to a reformer, rewrote and liberalised international law—yet did so in service of the most brutal regime of the colonial era. In an elaborate deception, Twiss and Pharaïlde van Lynseele, a Belgian prostitute, sought to reinvent her as a woman of suitably noble birth to be his wife. Their subterfuge collapsed when another former client publicly denounced van Lynseele. Disgraced, Twiss resigned his offices and the couple fled to Switzerland. But this failure set the stage for a second, successful act of re-creation. Twiss found new employment as the intellectual driving force of King Leopold of Belgium's efforts to have the Congo recognised as a new state under his personal authority. Drawing on extensive new archival research, King Leopold's Ghostwriter recounts Twiss's story as never before, including how his creation of a new legal personhood for the Congo was intimately related to the earlier invention of a new legal personhood for his wife. Combining gripping biography and penetrating intellectual history, King Leopold's Ghostwriter uncovers a dramatic, ambiguous life that has had lasting influence on international law. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

David Kaiser, "Well, Doc, You're In: Freeman Dyson's Journey through the Universe" (MIT Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2022 70:10


Freeman Dyson (1923–2020)—renowned scientist, visionary, and iconoclast—helped invent modern physics. Not bound by disciplinary divisions, he went on to explore foundational topics in mathematics, astrophysics, and the origin of life. General readers were introduced to Dyson's roving mind and heterodox approach in his 1979 book Disturbing the Universe, a poignant autobiographical reflection on life and science.  "Well, Doc, You're In": Freeman Dyson's Journey through the Universe (MIT Press, 2022) (the title quotes Richard Feynman's remark to Dyson at a physics conference) offers a fresh examination of Dyson's life and work, exploring his particular way of thinking about deep questions that range from the nature of matter to the ultimate fate of the universe. The chapters—written by leading scientists, historians, and science journalists, including some of Dyson's colleagues—trace Dyson's formative years, his budding interests and curiosities, and his wide-ranging work across the natural sciences, technology, and public policy. They describe Dyson's innovations at the intersection of quantum theory and relativity, his novel nuclear reactor design (and his never-realized idea of a spacecraft powered by nuclear weapons), his years at the Institute for Advanced Study, and his foray into cosmology. In the coda, Dyson's daughter Esther reflects on growing up in the Dyson household. “Well, Doc, You're In” assesses Dyson's successes, blind spots, and influence, assembling a portrait of a scientist's outsized legacy. Contributors: Jeremy Bernstein, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Esther Dyson, George Dyson, Ann Finkbeiner, Amanda Gefter, Ashutosh Jogalekar, David Kaiser, Caleb Scharf, William Thomas. Matthew Jordan is a university instructor, funk musician, and clear writing enthusiast. He studies the history of science and technology, driven by the belief that we must understand the past in order to improve the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Alma Zaragoza-Petty, "Chingona: Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice" (Broadleaf Books, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2022 63:45


In Chingona: Owning Your Inner Badass for Healing and Justice (Broadleaf Books, 2022), Mexican American activist, scholar, and podcast host Alma Zaragoza-Petty helps us claim our inner chingona, a Spanish term for badass woman. For all the brown women the world has tried to conquer, badassery can be an asset, especially when we face personal and collective trauma. Working for change while preserving her spirit, a chingona repurposes her pain for the good of the world. She may even learn that she belongs to a long line of chingonas who came before her--unruly women who used their persevering energy to survive and thrive. As a first-generation Mexican American, Zaragoza-Petty narrates in riveting terms her own childhood, split between the rain-soaked beauty of her grandparents' home in Acapulco and a harsh new life as an immigrant family in Los Angeles. She describes the chingona spirit she began to claim within herself and leads us toward the courage required to speak up and speak out against oppressive systems. As we begin to own who we are as chingonas, we go back to where our memories lead, insist on telling our own stories, and see our scars as proof of healing. Liberating ourselves from the bondage of the patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonization that exists in our own bodies, we begin to see our way toward a more joyful future. This work won't be easy, Zaragoza-Petty reminds us. Imagining a just and healed world from the inside out will take dialing in to our chingona spirit. But by unleashing our inner badass, we join the righteous fight for dignity and justice for all. Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Joanna Ebenstein, "Frederik Ruysch and His Thesaurus Anatomicus: A Morbid Guide" (MIT Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2022 54:11


Frederik Ruysch (1638-1731) was a celebrated Dutch anatomist, master embalmer, and museologist. He is best remembered today for strange tableaux, crafted from fetal skeletons and other human remains, that flicker provocatively at the edges of science, art, and memento mori. Ruysch exhibited these pieces, along with hundreds of other artful specimens, in his home museum and catalogued them in his lavishly illustrated Frederik Ruysch and His Thesaurus Anatomicus (MIT Press, 2022). This book offers the first English translation of Ruysch's guide to his collection, along with all the illustrations from the original volume, photographs of some his most imaginative extant specimens, and more. Ruysch was at once a brilliant scientist, a preternaturally gifted technician, an esteemed physician, a religious moralizer, and an artist whose prime form of expression was the medium of human remains. His works were sometimes described as Rembrandts of anatomical preparation; today they seem so strange that we can hardly believe that they even existed, much less that they were so popular in their time. His combination of the religious and the scientific, the painstakingly accurate and the extravagantly fantastical, offers vivid testimony of an era in which science overlapped seamlessly with religion and art. Essays accompanying Ruysch's text and images consider such topics as the historical context of Ruysch's work, the paradox of an artist of death whose work engenders the illusion of life, the conservation of Ruysch's specimens, and the shifting ascendancies of romanticism and rationality in the natural sciences. Galina Limorenko is a doctoral candidate in Neuroscience with a focus on biochemistry and molecular biology of neurodegenerative diseases at EPFL in Switzerland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Kelisha B. Graves, ed., "Nannie Helen Burroughs: A Documentary Portrait of an Early Civil Rights Pioneer, 1900-1959" (U Notre Dame Press, 2019)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 51:08


Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) is just one of the many African American intellectuals whose work has long been excluded from the literary canon. In her time, Burroughs was a celebrated African American (or, in her era, a race woman) female activist, educator, and intellectual. Nannie Helen Burroughs: A Documentary Portrait of an Early Civil Rights Pioneer, 1900-1959 (U Notre Dame Press, 2019) represents a landmark contribution to the African American intellectual historical project by allowing readers to experience Burroughs in her own words. This anthology of her works written between 1900 and 1959 encapsulates Burroughs's work as a theologian, philosopher, activist, educator, intellectual, and evangelist, as well as the myriad of ways that her career resisted definition. Burroughs rubbed elbows with such African American historical icons as W. E. B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary Church Terrell, and Mary McLeod Bethune, and these interactions represent much of the existing, easily available literature on Burroughs's life. This book aims to spark a conversation surrounding Burroughs's life and work by making available her own tracts on God, sin, the intersections of church and society, black womanhood, education, and social justice. Moreover, the volume is an important piece of the growing movement toward excavating African American intellectual and philosophical thought and reformulating the literary canon to bring a diverse array of voices to the table. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Mallory Lewis and Nat Segaloff, "Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop: The Team That Changed Children's TV" (UP of Kentucky, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 26, 2022 31:45


Two decades after Lewis and Lamb Chop last graced television with their presence, Lewis' daughter Mallory and author Nat Segaloff have set the record straight about the iconic pair in Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop: The Team that Changed Children's Television (University of Kentucky Press, 2022). For almost half a century, celebrated ventriloquist and entertainer Shari Lewis delighted generations of children and adults with the help of her trusted sock puppet sidekick Lamb Chop. For decades, the beloved pair were synonymous with children's television, educating and entrancing their young audience with their symbiotic personalities and their proclivity for song, dance, and the joy of silliness. But as iconic as their television personas were, relatively little inside knowledge has been revealed about Lewis herself and the life-changing moments that led her to the entertainment industry and perhaps, most importantly, to Lamb Chop.  Renowned for her skills as a performer, Lewis was an equally skilled businesswoman. Operating in an era when women were largely left out of the conversation, she was one of the few women to run her own television production company. Whether it was singing, dancing, conducting, writing, drawing, or ventriloquism-a skill in which she was virtually unmatched-Lewis spent the entirety of her 65 years in pursuit of performative perfection. Constantly innovating and adapting to the needs of her audience and the market, Lewis extended the longevity of her career decade after decade. Her contributions, and that of Lamb Chop, and the rest of her puppet pals forever changed the history of children's television. In this seminal biography, the pair pull the veritable wool from the eyes of audiences who adored the legendary entertainer to examine the joys, sorrows, triumphs, and sheer hard work that gave Lewis and Lamb Chop their enduring star power. To learn more, visit Mallory Lewis here.  Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Leonardo da Vinci and Vassari's "Lives of the Painters"

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 63:56


In this episode of the Vault, we hear Harry Berger's talk about Leonardo da Vinci and Vassari's "Lives of the Painters." Harry Berger was a scholar of Renaissance English literature who wrote books about art history, anthropology, and philosophy. He taught at UC Santa Cruz, where he was an emeritus professor until he died in 2021, at age 96. Since 1977, the New York Institute for the Humanities has brought together distinguished scholars, writers, artists, and publishing professionals to foster crucial discussions around the public humanities. For more information and to support the NYIH, visit nyihumanities.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Rachel Schreiber, "Elaine Black Yoneda: Jewish Immigration, Labor Activism, and Japanese American Exclusion and Incarceration" (Temple UP, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 84:47


During World War II, Elaine Black Yoneda, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, spent eight months in a concentration camp--not in Europe, but in California. She did this voluntarily and in solidarity, insisting on accompanying her husband, Karl, and their son, Tommy, when they were incarcerated at the Manzanar Relocation Center. Surprisingly, while in the camp, Elaine and Karl publicly supported the United States' decision to exclude Japanese Americans from the coast. Elaine Black Yoneda: Jewish Immigration, Labor Activism, and Japanese American Exclusion and Incarceration (Temple UP, 2021) is the first critical biography of this pioneering feminist and activist. Rachel Schreiber deftly traces Yoneda's life as she became invested in radical politics and interracial and interethnic activism. In her work for the International Labor Defense of the Communist Party, Yoneda rose to the rank of vice president. After their incarceration, Elaine and Karl became active in the campaigns to designate Manzanar a federally recognized memorial site, for redress and reparations to Japanese Americans, and in opposition to nuclear weapons. Schreiber illuminates the ways Yoneda's work challenged dominant discourses and how she reconciled the contradictory political and social forces that shaped both her life and her family's. Highlighting the dangers of anti-immigrant and anti-Asian xenophobia, Elaine Black Yoneda recounts an extraordinary life. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

The Future of Vladimir Putin: A Discussion with Philip Short

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 60:00


President Vladmir Putin – the son of a foreman at a railway carriage works – is today one of the most powerful individuals on earth. What drives him? What does he want his legacy to be? Was he once a liberal? What is he now? After 22 years in power what do we know about him. The Western press often portrays him as an irrational monster – how does he see himself? Owen Bennett Jones speaks to Philip Short who has studied the man for 8 years and written a well-reviewed and comprehensive biography of the Russian President: Putin (Henry Holt & Company, 2022). Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Leonardo da Vinci and Vassari's "Lives of the Painters"

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 63:56


In this episode of the Vault, we hear Harry Berger's talk about Leonardo da Vinci and Vassari's "Lives of the Painters." Harry Berger was a scholar of Renaissance English literature who wrote books about art history, anthropology, and philosophy. He taught at UC Santa Cruz, where he was an emeritus professor until he died in 2021, at age 96. Since 1977, the New York Institute for the Humanities has brought together distinguished scholars, writers, artists, and publishing professionals to foster crucial discussions around the public humanities. For more information and to support the NYIH, visit nyihumanities.org. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, "The Abbe Gregoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism" (U California Press, 2021)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2022 58:11


In this age of globalization, the eighteenth-century priest and abolitionist Henri Grégoire have often been called a man ahead of his time. An icon of anti-racism, a hero to people from Ho Chi Minh to French Jews, Grégoire has been particularly celebrated since 1989, when the French government placed him in the Pantheon as a model of ideals of universalism and human rights.  In The Abbe Gregoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism (U California Press, 2021), we gain access for the first time to the full complexity of Grégoire's intellectual and political universe and the compelling nature of his persona. His life offers an extraordinary vantage from which to view significant issues in European and world history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It provides provocative insights into many of the twenty-first century's prevailing tensions, ideals, and paradoxes. Focusing on Grégoire's idea of "regeneration," that people could literally be made anew, Sepinwall argues that revolutionary universalism was more complicated than it appeared. Tracing the Revolution's long-term legacy, she suggests that while it spread concepts of equality and liberation throughout the world, its ideals also helped to justify colonialism and conquest. Dr. Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall is a Professor of History at California State University – San Marcos and a French and Haitian history specialist. Brigid Wallace a Graduate Student of History @Lehigh University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Faleeha Hassan, "War and Me" (Amazon Crossing, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2022 46:41


An intimate memoir about coming of age in a tight-knit working-class family during Iraq's seemingly endless series of wars. Faleeha Hassan became intimately acquainted with loss and fear while growing up in Najaf, Iraq. Now, in a deeply personal account of her life, she remembers those she has loved and lost. As a young woman, Faleeha hated seeing her father and brother go off to fight, and when she needed to reach them, she broke all the rules by traveling alone to the war's front lines--just one of many shocking and moving examples of her resilient spirit. Later, after building a life in the US, she realizes that she will coexist with war for most of the years of her life and chooses to focus on education for herself and her children. In a world on fire, she finds courage, compassion, and a voice. A testament to endurance and a window into unique aspects of life in the Middle East, Faleeha's memoir War and Me (Amazon Crossing, 2022) offers an intimate perspective on something wars can't touch--the loving bonds of family. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

David Weinfeld, "An American Friendship: Horace Kallen, Alain Locke, and the Development of Cultural Pluralism" (Cornell UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2022 63:24


In An American Friendship: Horace Kallen, Alain Locke, and the Development of Cultural Pluralism (Cornell UP, 2022), David Weinfeld presents the biography of an idea, cultural pluralism, the intellectual precursor to modern multiculturalism. He roots its origins in the friendship between two philosophers, Jewish immigrant Horace Kallen and African American Alain Locke, who advanced cultural pluralism in opposition to both racist nativism and the assimilationist "melting pot." It is a simple idea—different ethnic groups can and should coexist in the United States, perpetuating their cultures for the betterment of the country as whole—and it grew out of the lived experience of this friendship between two remarkable individuals. Kallen, a founding faculty member of the New School for Social Research, became a leading American Zionist. Locke, the first Black Rhodes Scholar, taught at Howard University and is best known as the intellectual godfather of the Harlem Renaissance and the editor of The New Negro in 1925. Their friendship began at Harvard and Oxford during the years 1906 through 1908 and was rekindled during the Great Depression, growing stronger until Locke's death in 1954. To Locke and Kallen, friendship itself was a metaphor for cultural pluralism, exemplified by people who found common ground while appreciating each other's differences. Weinfeld demonstrates how this understanding of cultural pluralism offers a new vision for diverse societies across the globe. An American Friendship provides critical background for understanding the conflicts over identity politics that polarize US society today. Hettie V. Williams Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University where she teaches courses in African American history and U.S. history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Robin Waterfield, trans. and ed., "The Complete Works of Epictetus: Handbook, Discourses, and Fragments" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2022 39:08


Epictetus was born into slavery around the year 50 CE, and, upon being granted his freedom, he set himself up as a philosophy teacher. After being expelled from Rome, he spent the rest of his life living and teaching in Greece. He is now considered the most important exponent of Stoicism, and his surviving work comprises a series of impassioned discourses, delivered live and recorded by his student Arrian, and the Handbook, Arrian's own take on the heart of Epictetus's teaching. In Discourses, Epictetus argues that happiness depends on knowing what is in our power to affect and what is not. Our internal states and our responses to events are up to us, but the events themselves are assigned to us by the benevolent deity, and we should treat them—along with our bodies, possessions, and families—as matters of indifference, simply making the best use of them we can. Together, the Discourses and Handbook constitute a practical guide to moral self-improvement, as Epictetus explains the work and exercises aspirants need to do to enrich and deepen their lives. Edited and translated by renowned scholar Robin Waterfield, The Complete Works: Handbook, Discourses, and Fragments (U Chicago Press, 2022) collects the complete works of Epictetus, bringing to modern readers his insights on how to cope with death, exile, the people around us, the whims of the emperor, fear, illness, and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Leslie A. Geddes, "Watermarks: Leonardo Da Vinci and the Mastery of Nature" (Princeton UP, 2020)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2022 67:21


Formless, mutable, transparent: the element of water posed major challenges for the visual artists of the Renaissance. To the engineers of the era, water represented a force that could be harnessed for human industry but was equally possessed of formidable destructive power. For Leonardo da Vinci, water was an enduring fascination, appearing in myriad forms throughout his work. In Watermarks, Leslie Geddes explores the extraordinary range of Leonardo's interest in water and shows how artworks by him and his peers contributed to hydraulic engineering and the construction of large river and canal systems. In this interview, Allison Leigh talks to Leslie Geddes about transforming your dissertation into a book, how one tackles a body of scholarly literature as immense as that on Leonardo, and whether or not the famous Salvator Mundi was indeed painted by Leonardo. Their conversation ranges from what it is like to examine the artist's Renaissance drawings in person to the power of comparisons within art historical writing and research. Allison Leigh is Associate Professor of Art History and the SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Endowed Professor in Art & Architecture at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research explores masculinity in European and Russian art of the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Erin Keane, "Runaway: Notes on the Myths That Made Me" (Belt Publishing, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2022 71:35


From Erin Keane, editor in chief at Salon, comes Runaway: Notes in the Myths that Made Me (Belt Publishing, 2022), a touching memoir about the search for truths in the stories families tell. In 1970, Erin Keane's mother ran away from home for the first time. She was thirteen years old. Over the next several years, and under two assumed identities, she hitchhiked her way across America, experiencing freedom, hardship, and tragedy. At fifteen, she met a man in New York City and married him. He was thirty-six. Though a deft balance of journalistic digging, cultural criticism, and poetic reimagining, Keane pieces together the true story of her mother's teenage years, questioning almost everything she's been told about her parents and their relationship. Along the way, she also considers how pop culture has kept similar narratives alive in her. At stake are some of the most profound questions we can ask ourselves: What's true? What gets remembered? Who gets to tell the stories that make us who we are? Whether it's talking about painful family history, #MeToo, Star Wars, true crime forensics, or The Gilmore Girls, Runaway is an unforgettable look at all the different ways the stories we tell--both personal and pop cultural--create us.  Joel Tscherne is an Adjunct History Professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Radicalism, Humility, and Racism in America

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 17, 2022 65:22


Today's episode focuses on the new book by Lydia Moland, who is a Professor of Philosophy at Colby College. Her book, Lydia Maria Child: A Radical American Life (U Chicago Press, 2022) offers a powerful window into questions of humility and its relationship to racism and other forms of discrimination in American history. We talk about Child's ideas, particularly as they relate to many of the issue facing contemporary American society. John Kaag is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at UMass Lowell and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. John W. Traphagan, Ph.D. is Professor and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also a professor in the Program in Human Dimensions of Organizations. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Charles Sawyer, "B. B. King: From Indianola to Icon: A Personal Odyssey with the 'King of the Blues'" (Schiffer Publishing, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2022 68:10


Want to take a trip with the king of the Blues? As B.B. King's photographer and original biographer, Charlie Sawyer was along for the ride. In B.B. King from Indianola to Icon: A Personal Odyssey with the King of the Blues (Schiffer, 2022), journalist and photographer Charles Sawyer discusses his many years working with and near the greatest of Blues icons, from the early years as King was transitioning to the “Chitlin Circuit” to mainstream audiences to the founding of the B. B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center, Sawyer was there for it all, and shares it with us—along with more than 100 photographs. David Hamilton Golland is professor of history and immediate past president of the faculty senate at Governors State University in Chicago's southland. @DHGolland. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Ruth Harris, "Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda" (Harvard UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2022 44:56


Guru to the World: The Life and Legacy of Vivekananda (Harvard UP, 2022) tells the story of Swami Vivekananda, the nineteenth-century Hindu ascetic who introduced the West to yoga and to a tolerant, scientifically minded universalist conception of religion. Ruth Harris explores the many legacies of Vivekananda's thought, including his impact on anticolonial movements and contemporary Hindu nationalism. Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

John D'Emilio, "Memories of a Gay Catholic Boyhood: Coming of Age in the Sixties" (Duke UP, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2022 47:42


In this episode of the Queer Voices podcast, John Marszalek interviews author John D'Emilio, one of the leading historians of his generation and a pioneering figure in the field of LGBTQ history, about his memoir, Memories of a Gay Catholic Boyhood: Coming of Age in the Sixties (Duke UP, 2022) At times his life has been seemingly at odds with his upbringing. How does a boy from an Italian immigrant family in which everyone unfailingly went to confession and Sunday Mass become a lapsed Catholic? How does a family who worshipped Senator Joseph McCarthy and supported Richard Nixon produce an antiwar activist and pacifist? How does a family in which the word divorce was never spoken raise a son who comes to explore the hidden gay sexual underworld of New York City? Memories of a Gay Catholic Boyhood is D'Emilio's coming-of-age story in which he takes readers from his working-class Bronx neighborhood to an elite Jesuit high school in Manhattan to Columbia University and the political and social upheavals of the late 1960s. He shares his personal experiences of growing up in a conservative, tight-knit, multigenerational family, how he went from considering entering the priesthood to losing his faith and coming to terms with his same-sex desires. Throughout, D'Emilio outlines his complicated relationship with his family while showing how his passion for activism influenced his decision to use research, writing, and teaching to build a strong LGBTQ movement. This is not just John D'Emilio's personal story; it opens a window into how the conformist baby boom decade of the 1950s transformed into the tumultuous years of radical social movements and widespread protest during the 1960s. It is the story of what happens when different cultures and values collide and the tensions and possibilities for personal discovery and growth that emerge. Intimate and honest, D'Emilio's story will resonate with anyone who has had to chart their own path in a world they did not expect to find. Listeners can receive a 30% discount on the cost of the book by ordering through Duke University Press here using the following discount code: E22DEMIL. A pioneer in the field of LGBTQ studies and the history of sexuality, John D'Emilio is Emeritus Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  John Marszalek III is a co-host of the Queer Voices podcast and author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi (2020, University Press of Mississippi). He is clinical faculty of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Southern New Hampshire University. On Twitter: @marsjf3 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

M. Margaret McKeown, "Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas" (Potomac Books, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2022 55:10


U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was a giant in the legal world, even if he is often remembered for his four wives, as a potential vice-presidential nominee, as a target of impeachment proceedings, and for his tenure as the longest-serving justice from 1939 to 1975. His most enduring legacy, however, is perhaps his advocacy for the environment. Douglas was the spiritual heir to early twentieth-century conservation pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir. His personal spiritual mantra embraced nature as a place of solitude, sanctuary, and refuge. Caught in the giant expansion of America's urban and transportation infrastructure after World War II, Douglas became a powerful leader in forging the ambitious goals of today's environmental movement. And, in doing so, Douglas became a true citizen justice. In a way unthinkable today, Douglas ran a one-man lobby shop from his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court, bringing him admiration from allies in conservation groups but raising ethical issues with his colleagues. He became a national figure through his books, articles, and speeches warning against environmental dangers. Douglas organized protest hikes to leverage his position as a national icon, he lobbied politicians and policymakers privately about everything from logging to highway construction and pollution, and he protested at the Supreme Court through his voluminous and passionate dissents. Douglas made a lasting contribution to both the physical environment and environmental law--with trees still standing, dams unbuilt, and beaches protected as a result of his work. His merged roles as citizen advocate and justice also put him squarely in the center of ethical dilemmas that he never fully resolved. M. Margaret McKeown's Citizen Justice: The Environmental Legacy of William O. Douglas (Potomac Books, 2022) elucidates the why and how of these tensions and their contemporary lessons against the backdrop of Douglas's unparalleled commitment to the environment. William Domnarski is a longtime lawyer who before and during has been a literary guy, with a Ph.D. in English. He's written five books on judges, lawyers, and courts, two with Oxford, one with Illinois, one with Michigan, and one with the American Bar Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

Andrew Porwancher et al., "The Prophet of Harvard Law: James Bradley Thayer and His Legal Legacy" (UP of Kansas, 2022)

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2022 80:15


Though relatively short, the 2022 book The Prophet of Harvard Law: James Bradley Thayer and His Legal Legacy (UP of Kansas, 2022) by Andrew Porwancher, Austin Coffey, Taylor Jipp, and Jake Mazeitis, is jam-packed with information about late 19th and early 20th Century legal history and the professionalization of American legal education. This is a moving tale of a professor whose acolytes included some of the giants of American jurisprudence (e.g., the judges and justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Learned Hand and the legal scholars John Henry Wigmore and Roscoe Pound). Even those not directly taught by Thayer, such as Felix Frankfurter, lauded him as an intellectual influence. You may be thinking, “Why should I take the time to read a book about a long-dead Harvard law professor?” Well, because many of the issues that James Bradley Thayer (1831-1902) and his students grappled with have shaped almost every encounter Americans have with the law and affect our rights from the workplace to the schoolroom to the courtroom. Thayer and Wigmore, for example, did pioneering work on the laws of evidence. Hand did the same on the topic of expert testimony. Holmes and Thayer thrashed out the meaning of the word “presumption” as it was used in trials. And on a grander scale, Holmes, Brandeis, and Hand were trained as thinkers on Constitutional law by Thayer. We could all do with a primer on what “living constitutionalism” is, for example. The book is also valuable for its contributions to the field of the history of education and will benefit those researching the development of professional associations and the transformation of universities like Harvard from small liberal arts institutions into major research universities. This is social history at its best. We read about how Thayer attracted bright young men from across the country who applied what they learned under their beloved mentor once they left Harvard and took up posts elsewhere (as Wigmore did as dean at Northwestern Law School) and/or played key roles in major legal cases in the Progressive Era and beyond. Economics. Labor Law. Free speech. They're all here. And “beloved” is not too strong a word for the way these titans of American law regarded Thayer. Early career academics in any field who need a role model of a dedicated teacher could do worse than study the life of James Bradley Thayer. He was the subject of admiration and gratitude decades later by influential men who credited him with providing moral support and practical help when they were first starting out and for setting a standard of learning and hard work that they applied in their judicial and academic careers. Thayer was a networker and mentor par excellence. The book is interesting in itself apart from its subject in that it is a joint work by a professor (Andrew Porwancher) and three of his former students. That is a project worthy of note and something Thayer would almost certainly have endorsed, given how closely he worked with his students when they were at Harvard and, in many cases, for years afterward. It is no exaggeration to say that our lives today were affected by the active law-related personal correspondence between Thayer and his men. Let's hear from Professor Porwancher about what might be called the Thayer Effect and what co-authorship with students entails. Hope J. Leman is a grants researcher. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/biography

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