Talking History: Shows from 2004

Dr. Seuss
To end the year, Talking History's Bryan Le Beau and Philip Nel explore the life and works of the beloved children's author, Dr. Seuss, who was born 100 years ago. And he is the subject of a new book, Dr. Seuss: American Icon by Philip Nel. Nel is a professor of English at Kansas State University.

Airdate: December 27, 2004

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    And for our commentary, we are joined by John Fea who shares his thoughts on celebrating a Seusscentennial. John Fea is professor of American History at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania.

Jesus of Hollywood
Talking History's Eileen Dugan and Adele Reinharz examine the different portrayals of Jesus in film from D.W. Griffith to Mel Gibson. Adele Reinharz is Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and Professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada.

Airdate: December 20, 2004

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    Kathleen McDonough joins us to comment on the historical accuracy of production designs in films about the ancient world. McDonough, is an award winning documentary filmmaker, and teaches in the Communication Department at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Warren G. Harding
To many, Warren G. Harding was an ineffective philanderer whose presidency became entangled in scandal. Fred Nielsen's guest, John Dean, sets the record straight, arguing that Warren G. Harding was a far better president than popular opinion allows. John Dean served for three years as White House counsel in the Nixon administration. His new book, Warren G. Harding is part of The American Presidents series, edited by Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

Airdate: December 13, 2004

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    Talking History regular Tom Fleming joins us once again, this time he takes a look at the pitfalls of hindsight and asks "should we re-run all our wars?"

Pearl Harbor
Talking History's Jim Madison and Emily Rosenberg discuss how memories of Pearl Harbor have changed since December 7th, 1941. Emily Rosenberg is the Dewitt Professor of History at Macalester College and author of A Date Which Will Live.

Airdate: December 6, 2004.

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    And for our commentary Philip Gerard joins us to reflect on the history of the uses and misuses of the draft. Gerard teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Saboteurs
This week, our host, Bryan Le Beau, is joined by Michael Dobbs author of Saboteurs: The Nazi Raid on America. They discuss "Operation Pastorius" a Nazi plot to cause havoc on the East Coast of the United States.

Airdate: November 29, 2004

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    Talking History regular, Henry Ryan, joins us to look at the historical parallels between Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and our current involvement in Iraq

Kennedy and the Promise of the Sixties
Talking History's Linna Place, a new addition to our team of interviewers, takes a look at President Kennedy and the decade of the sixties with W.J. Rorabaugh. Rorabaugh is professor of history at the University of Washington.

Airdate: November 22, 2004

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    And for our commentary, Jonathan Coopersmith looks at the Bush space policy in a commentary he titles, "No Cheap Ticket to Outer Space." Coopersmith is professor of history at Texas A&M University where he teaches the history of technology.

Great American Scandals
We are not alone, mired in the tawdry scandals of our times, at least not according to Michael Farquhar author of Great American Scandals. Join us as Bryan Le Beau and Michael Farquhar delve into some all too human events from the past.

Airdate: November 15, 2004

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    Stephen Mihm joins us to share some insight into the history of counterfeiting money. Mihm is professor of history at the University of Georgia.

Patriotic Songs
Talking History commemorates Veterans' Day with a look at the origins of some familiar songs, Yankee Doodle, The Star Spangled Banner, and God Bless America to name but a few. Fred Nielsen's guest this week, Ace Collins, author of Songs Sung Red, White, and Blue: The Stories Behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs, provides some answers about their origins.

Airdate: November 8, 2004

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    For our commentary, Allan Winkler, professor of history at Miami University, joins us to share his thoughts on the American Empire.

Presidential Rankings
For election week, Bryan Le Beau and Max Skidmore discuss the pros and cons of presidential rankings. Max Skidmore is Curator's Professor of Political Science and Thomas Jefferson Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Presidential Performance: A Comprehensive Review.

Airdate: November 1, 2004

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    For our commentary we are joined by Bruce Ackerman who sheds some light on Thomas Jefferson's actions during the presidential election of 1800. Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University.

Halloween
This week, host Bryan Le Beau is joined by David Skal author of Death Makes A Holiday. They will discuss the origins and myths of Halloween.

Airdate: October 25, 2004

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    For our commentary Andrew Bacevich reflects on "Paltry War, Paltry Politics." Andrew Bacevich is a professor of international relations at Boston University, where he also serves as director of the university's Center for International Relations.

The following "Founders and the Constitution" series is a collaborative effort with the Bill of Rights Institute.

Founder's series: Commerce
In this the last of the series for this season, Bryan Le Beau is joined by Craig Yirush. They examine the relationship between commerce and republican government. Craig Yirush is professor of history at UCLA.

Airdate: October 18, 2004

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    Craig Yirush joins us for our commentary when he relates the life of Alexander Hamilton.

Founder's series: Freedom of Religion
This week we are joined by Stephen Klugewicz who discusses Freedom of Religion and its role, with host, Bryan Le Beau. Stephen Klugewicz is Executive Director of Collegiate Network.

Airdate: October 11, 2004

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    Our commentary is given by Stephen Klugewicz who tells us about the life of Charles Carroll.

Founder's Series: Slavery
This week, Bryan Le Beau is joined by Robert McDonald, author of the essay on slavery for the Founders and the Constitution series. Robert McDonald is professor of history at West Point Military Academy.

Airdate: October 4, 2004

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    And for our commentary Robert McDonald joins us again to share a few highlights of the life of Charles Pinckney

Founder's Series: Federalism
This week Talking History's Bryan Le Beau begins a four week series on The Founders and the Constitution, with an interview with David Marion. They discuss his essay on Federalism. The Founders and the Constitution series is a collaborative effort with the Bill of Rights Institute.

Airdate: September 27, 2004

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    And for our commentary this week David Marion will give us insight into the life of Eldridge Gerry.

Bleeding Kansas
In this show Talking History's Jim Madison discusses Nicole Etcheson's re-examination of the ideological origins of the Civil War in the Kansas Territory. Etcheson is author of "Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War."

Airdate: September 20, 2004

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    And for our commentary we are joined by historian Michael Holt, who gives us another perspective on the events leading up to the Civil War.

History and September 11th, Part 2
This week Fred Nielsen continues our series on History and September 11th, and is joined by Michael Hunt, author of the essay "In the Wake of September 11th."

Airdate: September 13, 2004

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    Marilyn Blatt Young, Professor of History at New York University will reflect on the legacy of September 11th, 2001.

History and September 11th, Part 1
Talking History marks the third anniversary of 9/11 with a two-part series featuring interviews with two contributors to History and September 11th published by Temple University Press. We begin with a brief, introductory interview with the editor, Joanne Meyerowitz. Talking History's Fred Nielsen concludes this first program in the series, in discussion with Melani McAlister, author of the essay, "A Cultural History of the War Without End."

Airdate: September 6, 2004

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Lenny Bruce
We conclude our "Best of Talking History" series by revisiting the inimitable comedian--Lenny Bruce. Talking History's Eileen Dugan discussed his controversial career with David Skover, in an interview originally aired March 8, 2004.

Airdate: August 30, 2004

[ Programming Note: We resume our new season of shows on September 6, 2004. ]

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    And for our commentary Thomas Fleming returned to give us some historical insights into the fate of generals who have sought the White House - General Wesley Clark being the latest of many.

The Wright Brothers
Another of our most popular programs aired the week of December 15th- the 100th anniversary of the first manned flight in a gasoline powered aircraft--by Wilbur and Orville Wright. For that occasion Fred Nielsen interviewed James Tobin the Wright's biographer.

Airdate: August 23, 2004

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    Talking History regular Thomas Fleming joined us with a commentary about the use of propaganda during World War I.

War and Nature
This show originally aired the week of April 26th, 2004 and included an interview with Talking History's Fred Nielsen and Edmund Russell author of War and Nature. Their discussion focused on the connection between technological capabilities advanced over the past century that enabled mankind to destroy both other humans and insects.

Airdate: August 16, 2004

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    Ira Chernus examined the analogy used by some in reference to the nation’s sacrifices in World War II and President Bush’s challenge to Americans in the nation’s involvement in Iraq.

Ladies' Rights
The show originally aired the week of September 15th, 2003, and featured an interview with Talking History's Fred Nielsen and Linda K. Kerber, OAH past president and author of No Constitutional Right to be Ladies :Women and the Obligations of Citizenship. In the show Linda Kerber and Fred Nielsen addressed the question: "Do women have the constitutional right to be ladies?"

Airdate: August 9, 2004

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    In our weekly commentary, Henry Butterfield Ryan joined us to look at the United States' goal of establishing democracy in post-war Iraq.

White City
We begin our "Best of Talking History" series this week with "White City." The show originally aired the week of August 4th, 2003 and included an interview with Talking History's Bryan Le Beau and Erik Larson, author of "The Devil in the White City." Larson's book explored the killings during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 by H.H. Holmes.

Airdate: August 2, 2004

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    Richard Crepeau gave us a brief history of the sometimes troubled relationship between American sports and the singing of the National anthem.

Voice of America
This week Bryan Le Beau explores the history of Voice of America, with Alan Heil--a long time foreign correspondent for Voice of America, and author of Voice of America: A History--Together they take a look at the inside story of the organization.

Airdate: July 26, 2004

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    Talking History’s regular, Thomas Fleming, joins us to offer his comments on Haiti.

Not Like Us
This week, Talking History's host, Bryan Le Beau, is joined by author and historian, Richard Pells. Together they explore Richard Pells' assertion that contrary to popular opinion the Americanization of Europe is a myth. Instead, Pells argues, Europeans have adapted American culture to suit their own cultural palate. Pells is the author of Not Like Us: How Europeans Have Loved, Hated, and Transformed American Culture Since World War II.

Airdate: July 19, 2004

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    And for our commentary we are joined by Alice George, who compares President John F. Kennedy's handling of the Cuban missile crisis with President George W. Bush's approach to Iraq.

Salt
This week we look at one of the most basic items in our daily lives –salt. We may take salt for granted--or with a grain of salt--but it has an interesting history. In fact, it was once one of the world’s most valuable commodities. Our guest is Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt: A World History.

Airdate: July 12, 2004.

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    After that, Michael Bellesiles--in our commentary of the week--takes on America’s confidence in technological superiority as assurance of swift victory in battle. He looks at the military history of the United States and points out that technological advantage does not always shorten wars.

Language Police
This week we take up the hotly contested issue of what history is taught, and how it is taught, in American elementary and secondary schools. Our guest will be Diane Ravitch, the author of Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn.

Airdate: July 5, 2004

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    And after our conversation with Professor Ravitch, Nikolas Gvosdev, Senior Fellow in Strategic Studies at The Nixon Center, looks at plans to try Sadaam Hussein. He examines the historical precedents for such tribunals and offers us his thoughts on who should be Hussein’s judges.

History
We are exposed to history in documentaries, museum exhibits, numerous best-selling books and radio shows - to name but a few instances. History is a popular, but contested, territory in terms of content, standards and meaning. This week Talking History takes a look at these issues with Fred Nielsen and historian Eric Foner, author of "Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World."

Airdate: June 28, 2004

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    Kathleen McDonough gives us insight into the construction of historical documentary.

WNYE Double Play
Joe Dorinson professor of history at Long Island University, New York, compares the struggles of Paul Robeson and Jackie Robinson against segregation in the United States.

Airdate: June 21, 2004

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Parental Anxiety
It is not news: parents worry about their children. But according to Fred Nielsen's guest, Peter Stearns, parental anxiety reached new heights in the twentieth century, despite advances in medicine, education and living standards. Peter Stearns is author of Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America.

Airdate: June 14, 2004

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    Historian James Banner joins us to comment on the problems of writing a constitution.

Coal
Talking History's Fred Nielsen and Barbara Freese discuss coal, that unglamorous substance that has not only been the combustible behind industrial and economic expansion, but the divisor in class conflict and the quotient in national economies. Barbara Freese is author of Coal: A Human History.

Airdate: June 7, 2004

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    In a commentary he titles "Quagmire Cliché," John Pinheiro exhorts us to look a little further than the Vietnam War for an historical analogy to Iraq.

The Spy Who Seduced America
Before Robert Hanssen and the Rosenbergs, there was Judith Coplon. Beautiful and brilliant, Judith Coplon worked as a political analyst in the U.S. Department of Justice. She was arrested in 1949 and tried on espionage charges. Tom Mitchell, a counterintelligence specialist for the FBI who was close to the case, fervently believed in her guilt. His wife, Marcia, passionately disagreed. Together they relate their search for the truth in this week's program.

Airdate: May 31, 2004

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The Corset
It is hard to think of an article of clothing, male or female, that has excited as much passion and controversy in modern times as the corset. Talking History's Eileen Dugan discusses the history of the corset with Valerie Steele author of The Corset: A Cultural History.

Airdate: May 24, 2004

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    This week, Talking History regular Henry Butterfield Ryan reflects on what the Vietnam War may tell us about Iraq.

Lewis and Clark
William Clark called his expedition a "vast . . . enterprise." Two hundred years later, the scholarly investigation of Lewis and Clark is itself a vast undertaking. Talking History's Fred Nielsen is joined by James Ronda, the Barnard Chair professor in western history at the University of Tulsa. Ronda's books include Lewis and Clark among the Indians and Voyages of Discovery: Essays on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Airdate: May 17, 2004

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    Kathy Giangreco joins us to share her thoughts on the mysterious death of Meriwether Lewis and asks was it homicide or suicide?

The Brown Case
2004 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision to end segregation in public schools.Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in May 1954, and the ruling struck down state-sponsored racial segregation in America's public schools. Talking History's Jim Madison takes a look at the case and its aftermath with historian James T. Patterson, author of Brown v. Board of Education.

Airdate: May 10, 2004

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    Mark Bauerlein joins us to comment on what he calls "the tactical life" of Booker T. Washington.

Tobacco
From the time of its discovery in America, tobacco has been exported to the World, bringing it both pleasure and pain. Our guest this week, Iain Gately, provides us with a history of what he calls the "exotic plant that seduced civilization."

Airdate: May 3, 2004

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    Also joining us will be David Ellwood, who will expose some of the myths surrounding the Marshall Plan and the rebuilding of Western Europe following World War II.

War and Nature
During the twentieth century humans developed technologies of awesome, and tempting, power. Among the most dramatic were weapons of mass destruction and chemicals that seemed to promise the extermination of insect pests. Talking History's Fred Nielsen and guest Edmund Russell discuss these technologies and Russell's assertion that they are linked in ideology, science and organization. Edmund Russell is a professor of technology, culture, and communication at the University of Virginia and the author of War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring.

Airdate: April 26, 2004

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    And for our commentary Talking History regular Ira Chernus reflects on lessons for Iraq from WWII.

Bison
Talking History's Fred Nielsen is joined by PrincetonUniversity history professor Andrew Isenberg, author of The Destruction of the Bison:An Environmental History, 1750-1920. We often attribute the near extinction of the bison to their mass slaughter, but according Andrew Isenberg, ecological factors including predatory animals, disease, and drought are a central part of the story, too.

Airdate: April 19, 2004

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    Andrew Schocket joins us to share his thoughts on the historical implications of the recent controversy surrounding gay marriage.

Abraham Lincoln, Esquire
In our monthly broadcast of WNYE's Teacher As Historian series, Alan Spiegel talks about Abraham Lincoln, Esquire.

Airdate: April 12, 2004

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    Jonathan Hansen historian and visiting scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences takes a look at patriotism, dissenters and liberalism.

April Blood
Talking History's Eileen Dugan and author Lauro Martines take us back a few centuries to April 1478 and Florence, Italy and the plot against the Medici that erupted into violence and death during Mass in the Duomo itself. Lauro Martines is the author of numerous books including April Blood: Florence and the Plot Against the Medici.

Airdate: April 5, 2004

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    Ruth Rosen, columnist and editorial writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and former professor at UC Davis joins us to share her thoughts on Hillary Rodham Clinton and what the media overlooked.

Richmond Burning
To mark the anniversary of the burning of the city of Richmond, Virginia, on April 2, 1865, Talking History's Bryan Le Beau is joined by Nelson Lankford, author of Richmond Burning. Lankford's book draws upon letters, diaries, memoirs and newspaper accounts of the event.

Airdate: March 29, 2004.

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    Andrew Schocket joins us to comment on what he calls "a new low," referring to the White House revelation in summer 2003 of the identity of a CIA agent to columnist Robert Novak.

Fanny Kemble
This week we take up the story of America’s most unlikely abolitionist--British stage actress turned Georgia plantation owner, Fanny Kemble--with historian Catherine Clinton.

Airdate: March 22, 2004

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    On the heels of the recent flap over a Ten Commandments monument in an Alabama courthouse, Nathan Abrams talks with us about the history of using the Bible as a political tool in the United States.

Executioner’s Current
Capital punishment is one of the most hotly-debated topics in America, and often at the heart of those debates is the electric chair, which is seen by many as an overly cruel and unusual form of punishment. Our guest this week, Richard Moran, provides us with a history of the electric chair in a conversation with Talking History’s Eileen Dugan.

Airdate: March 15, 2004

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    In response to several inquiries, Kelly Schrum will give us some tips on how to sort through the myriad of historical resources on the web, not only to find what we want, but also to sift the good from the bad.

Lenny Bruce
On July 23, 2003, long after four-letter words in standup comedy lost their ability to shock, Lenny Bruce--who started the trend--was pardoned by New York Governor GeorgePataki for his 1964 obscenity conviction. Our guest this week, David Skover, reviews Bruce’s controversial career. He is interviewed by Talking History’s Eileen Dugan.

Airdate: March 8, 2004.

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    Following our visit with David Skover, Thomas Fleming returns to give us some historical insights into the fate of generals who have sought the White House--General Wesley Clark being only the latest of many.

The Progressive Movement
Our guest this week, Michael McGerr, has written a book on what many historians believe is the greatest reform movement in American history--the Progressive Movement. President Theodore Roosevelt referred to the time as a period of "fierce discontent with evil." McGerr is interviewed by Talking History’s Jim Madison.

Airdate: March 1, 2004.

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    And after that, Thomas Fleming returns to Talking History to comment on French-American relations. He titles his commentary "Oh My, The French Don’t Like Us--Again!"

Finally, we introduce a new segment this week, "A Moment in Time." Dan Roberts, Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Richmond, will join us each week to explore a wide range of fascinating and relevant episodes in history.

Wall Street
The story of the rise of Wall Street is one John Steele Gordon tells in his book, The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power, 1653-2000. Join Talking History's Fred Nielsen and John Steele Gordon in conversation about Wall Street.

Airdate: February 23, 2004

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    Historian Doug Brinkley will join us to share his thoughts on the social and historical implications of Henry Ford's factory.

The Illusion of Victory
Talking History's Bryan Le Beau and historian Thomas Fleming discuss some fresh perspectives on Woodrow Wilson and World War 1. Thomas Fleming is author of The Illusion of Victory.

Airdate: February 16, 2004

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    And for our commentary, Bevin Alexander joins us again to reflect on the implications of revolution in warfare.

Cicero
Talking History's Eileen Dugan continues her exploration of ancient Rome, this time, with historian Anthony Everitt. His book about Cicero and his turbulent era is called Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician.

Airdate: February 9, 2004

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    Robin Marantz Henig, author of Pandora's Baby joins us to reflect on the history of public reaction to cloning, and in-vitro fertilization.

New York Loyalists
Talking History continues its programming of regular, monthly broadcasts of programs produced by WYNE and the Teachers and Writers Collaborative. This week The New York Loyalists--an account of the supporters of the British and what happened to them, with Professor Philip Ranlet, Hunter College (University Press of America).

Airdate: February 2, 2004.

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    Captives and Cousins: Prize winning author, James Brooks will reflect on the history of captive exchange among native American, and Euramerican communities in the Southwest Borderlands.

Globalization
Talking History’s Drew Bergerson discusses the fate of globalization with Harold James, professor of history at the University of Princeton, and author of The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression.

Airdate: January 26, 2004

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    Thomas Doherty reflects on Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Suburban Sprawl
Expansionism has ecological consequences, Talking History’s Fred Nielsen joins us in conversation with Adam Rome, author of "The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism."

Airdate: January 19, 2004

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    David Ellwood, of the University of Bologna, Italy, reflects on the occupation of Italy during WWII, and asks if there are any parallels with today’s occupation of Iraq.

Mutiny on the Bounty
Join Talking History’s host, Bryan Le Beau, and author, Caroline Alexander as they turn their attention seawards, in discussion of her latest book, The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty.

Airdate: January 12, 2004.

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    Thomas Schwartz, associate professor of history at Vanderbilt University, will share his thoughts on American policy toward Europe during the Johnson Presidency. Thomas Schwartz is author of Lyndon. B. Johnson and Europe in the Shadow of Vietnam.

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, published in 1845, after Douglass escaped from slavery, became an international best seller, as well as a rallying pint for the abolitionist movement in the United States. Our guest this week, William L. Andrews, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, examines Douglass’s autobiography as a source of information on the man and the institution. This segment of the show comes to us courtesy of Talking History’s new partner, The Teacher as Historian, which is produced at WNYE – FM in New York City.

Airdate: January 5, 2004

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    Also joining us will be Doug Wead, who will answer the question: Why have so many Presidents’ kids gone wrong?