Talking History: Shows from 2006

U.S. Grand Strategy and the Cold War
Our final show features a conversation with guest Melvyn Leffler and host Bryan Le Beau. Leffler spoke to Bryan Le Beau while attending a Cold War conference in Kansas City in March 2006 Their discussion focused on Leffler’s conference paper, titled: "Truman, US Grand Strategy, and the Cold War, 1945--1952." Leffler is a professor of history at the University Virginia.

Airdate: June 26, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Michael Waldman joins us with a commentary titled, "The End of Influence." Waldman is the executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. He was Director of Speechwriting for President Bill Clinton from 1995--1999.

Confederate Emancipation
It may surprise some listeners to learn that a proposal adopted in March 1865 by the Confederacy stated: “Every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war, and take up arms it is defense will be freed.” Our guest this week, Bruce Levine, author of Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves during the Civil War, shares his findings on this proposal with host, Bryan Le Beau. Levine is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Airdate: June 19, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    In this week's commentary, Fred Fausz gives some historical insight into the roots of terrorism in English America. Fausz is professor of history at the University of Missouri -- St. Louis.

To the Flag
It is appropriate as Americans celebrate Flag Day that host Bryan Le Beau is joined by Richard Ellis, author of To the Flag: The Unlikely History of the Pledge of Allegiance. Ellis sheds light on how a mere twenty three words, originally written for a children's magazine have become part of the fabric of American life. As Ellis points out in his book, the words "Under God" were not included in the pledge when it was written in 1892 -- they were added in 1954. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Professor of Politics at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Airdate: June 12, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Bruce Kuklick comments on the future of the history profession. Kuklick is Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a well published author as well as an award winning teacher.

Perilous Times
Talking History's Fred Nielsen is joined by Geoffrey Stone author of Perilous Times: Free Speech in wartime, from the Sedition Act to the War on Terrorism. Their discussion focuses on Stone's contention that the United States government tolerates opposition to its policies except in times of war, when dissention is met with punishment. Geoffrey Stone is a professor of history at the University of Chicago Law School. 

Airdate: June 5, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    In this week's commentary, Lawrence Wittner discusses peace activism in America, and asks if it has ever stopped a war. Wittner is professor of history at the State University of New York at Albany.

Thomas Paine and the Promise of America
This week Bryan Le Beau and guest Harvey Kaye shed new light on Thomas Paine, whom Kaye describes as the forgotten founder or, on occasion, the ostracized founder, of the nation. Harvey Kaye is the author of Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, and Ben and Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Social Change and Development at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Airdate: May 29, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Historian Tom Fleming shares a different view, in a commentary he titles: "Tom Paine's Boneheaded Predictions."

His Excellency George Washington
This week Joseph Ellis and host Bryan Le Beau discuss the life of George Washington and offer new insights into what shaped the man behind the myth. Joseph Ellis is an award winning historian and author of His Excellency: George Washington.

Airdate: May 22, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    This week's commentary by historian Tom Fleming shares historical insight into one of the commonly held myths regarding George Washington.

The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin lives on in American memory. Talking History's Fred Nielsen and guest, Gordon Wood, delve into the life of Benjamin Franklin separating the man from the myth. Gordon Wood is a professor of history at Brown University and the author of The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. His book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, received the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

Airdate: May 15, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    In our commentary, Talking History's Thomas Fleming joins us to reflect on another Founding Father--George Washington. Fleming focuses on how Washington applied lessons learned on the battlefield to politics enabling him to counter his critics during the War for American Independence. Thomas Fleming, is the author of Washington’s Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge. 

American Gunfight
On November 1st, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola attempted to assassinate President Harry S. Truman. In less than 40 seconds, two men, Torresola and agent Leslie Coffelt lay dead, and police officer Donald Birdzell, and Collazo were wounded. Stephen Hunter coauthor with John Bainbridge of American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill Harry Truman and the Shoot Out That Stopped It, joins Talking History's Linna Place to shed some light on the event.

Airdate: May 8, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Our commentary list week looks at The Screen Gems collection at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library.

OAH Palgrave Best Essays in American History
This week, host Bryan Le Beau is joined by Joyce Appleby, editor of OAH Palgrave Best Essays in American History. In an extended interview, they will discuss individual essays, and the reasons for their inclusion in this landmark publication. Appleby is professor emerita of history at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Airdate: May 1, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

Negro League Baseball
The introduction of integrated professional baseball in the 1940s heralded the end for black professional baseball. Neil Lanctot joins Talking History's Eileen Dugan to explore the history of the Negro League from its beginnings in the 1930s to its ebbing away in the early 1960s. Neil Lanctot is author of Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution.

Airdate: April 24, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Samuel Walker joins us with a historical perspective on whether President George Bush is in fact the worst president on civil liberties, as his critics suggest. Walker is professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

American Prometheus
J. Robert Oppenheimer was hailed as a hero for the success of the atomic bomb project in 1945, only to fall from favor a few years later, accused of communist sympathies. Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, coauthors of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, join Talking History's John Herron to discuss the complexities and nuances of the life of the physicist.

Airdate: April 17, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Steven Usdin shares his thoughts on what motivates those who resort to acts of terrorism, or treason. Usdin is senior editor at BioCentury Publication and author of Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley.

American Brutus
John Wilkes Booth is often thought of as the sole perpetrator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But contrary to popular myth, there were others involved; Talking History's John Herron is joined by Michael Kauffman who sheds light on the motives and conspiracy surrounding the event. Michael Kauffman is author of American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracy, recent winner of the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for biography.

Airdate: April 10, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Our commentary features Andrew Bacevich reflects on what limits exist in our post 9/11 world, regarding the president's power to use force. Bacevich is professor of international relations at Boston University and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War.

Spring Forward
As spring unfolds Americans turn their clocks forward. But why is there daylight-saving time? Why and when did it all begin? Bryan Le Beau's guest this week, Michael Downing, joins us with some answers. Downing is author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.

Airdate: April 3, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Carlene Stephens joins us give a historical perspective on the relationship between Americans and time. Stephens is a curator in the History of Technology Division of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Museum. She is the project director and curator of the museum’s permanent exhibition, “On Time”, and the author of the exhibition book of the same title.

The Mysterious Private Thompson
An enlisted Union soldier in the American Civil War, Private Frank Thompson held a remarkable secret, for "he" was in fact a woman. Laura Leedy Gansler joins Talking History's Linna Place to shed some light on the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds--the young girl who transformed herself into Frank Thompson. Laura Leedy Gansler, writer and lawyer, is author of The Mysterious Private Thompson: The Double Life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, Civil War Soldier.

Airdate: March 27, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Harvey Kaye provides commentary on what he titles, "Tom Paine's Counsel For A Time That Tries Men's Souls," and reflects on how the real vision and legacy of the Founding Fathers has been lost. Kaye is Rosenberg Professor of History and Director for History and Social Change at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

Shattering the Glass: Women's Basketball
From its beginnings in the nineteenth century to its growing popularity today, the history of women's basketball is a chronology of challenge. Talking History's Eileen Dugan is joined by Susan Shackelford and Pamela Grundy coauthors of Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball.

Airdate: March 20, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Michael Farquhar presents the final excerpt from the ten part series of readings adapted from his book, A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Fakes and Frauds.

Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma
Pocahontas has inspired poets, filmmakers and historians, earning a place as an icon in American history. Bryan Le Beau's guest this week, Camilla Townsend, author of Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma, sheds new light on the woman behind the myth. Townsend is a professor of history at Colgate University.

Airdate: March 13, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Nancy Unger joins us with a historical perspective on the guilty plea of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Nancy C. Unger is Associate Professor of History at Santa Clara University, and the author of Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer.

Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman, conductor on the Underground Railroad has become an American legend. Catherine Clinton joins host Bryan Le Beau to discuss the real woman behind the legend. Clinton is author of the new biography Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom.

Airdate: March 6, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Anne Bailey joins us with an excerpt from her book African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade: Beyond the Silence and Shame. Bailey is a professor of history at Spellman College.

After the White House
For President's Day we offer an interview with Max Skidmore who joins Talking History's Fred Nielsen to discuss the role played by America's former presidents. Skidmore is professor of political science at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of After the White House: Former Presidents as Private Citizens.

Airdate: February 20, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Michael Farquhar presents the ninth of a ten part series of readings adapted from his book, A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Fakes and Frauds.

Marriage: A History
According to the popular song, "Love and marriage ... go together like a horse and carriage," but history tells us otherwise. In this the week of Valentine's Day we turn our attention to marriage with Linna Place's guest, Stephanie Coontz, who discusses the history of marriage and its changing role from primarily a social and political necessity to the romantic institution we know today. Stephanie Coontz is author of Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage.

Airdate: February 13, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Michael Farquhar joins us in the eighth of a ten part series of readings adapted from his book, A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Fakes and Frauds.

Sundown Towns
Linna Place's guest James Loewen, is no stranger to Talking History. In 2003, his two interviews on Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong and Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong caused quite a stir. This time he joins us in Black History Month to discuss his research on the widely used but historically hidden practice of barring minorities from American communities after sundown. Loewen is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Vermont and author of Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.

Airdate: February 6, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    Michael Farquhar joins us in the seventh of a ten part series of readings adapted from his book, A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers, and the Extraordinary True Stories of History's Fakes and Frauds.

Best of Talking History: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
In this our final selection for our winter "Best of" series, we offer an interview with Talking History's Fred Nielsen and author Jared Diamond, who delve into the historical and cultural patterns of catastrophe, and discuss the interdependent relationship between a society's development and its environment. Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography and Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an award winning author. His latest book, and the subject of our discussion is Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

Airdate: January 30, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    We will air the last in our eight part series adapted from the unpublished manuscript "Recollections of Field Hospital Service During the War of Secession" by T.V. Brown. Originally aired the week of November 7th, 2005.

Best of Talking History: Alexander Hamilton
This week, we offer the second in our three week winter "Best of" Series. Bryan Le Beau is joined by Ron Chernow, whose biography of Alexander Hamilton has gained widespread acclaim. Their conversation reveals not only the familiar highs and lows of Hamilton’s life but its depth and breadth.

Airdate: January 23, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    We will continue our special series of readings from the unpublished manuscript, "Recollections of Field Hospital Service During the War of Secession," by T.V. Brown. Originally aired the week of October 3rd, 2005.

Best of Talking History: The Scopes Trial
During the next three weeks, we offer three of our favorite shows from 2005, while we take a short break and prepare a new season of interviews and commentaries from some of the best people working in the field.
 

On July 10th, 1925, the case of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, better known as the Scopes Monkey Trial opened in Dayton, Tennessee. It was a public clash between proponents and opponents of teaching evolution in the schools. According to John Herron's guest this week--Edward Larson--the trial took on a life and meaning of its own. Edward Larson, is Professor of History and Law at the University of Georgia, and the author of Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. Originally aired the week of July 18, 2005.

Airdate: January 16, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    And William Ashworth joins us to comment on H.L. Mencken’s account of the Scopes trial. Ashworth is professor of history at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and consultant for the History of Science at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology. 

Henry Ford
Bryan Le Beau and his guest Steven Watts, discuss the life of Henry Ford and his role as the man who recognized American society for what it had become--one of abundance and consumerism. Steven Watts is the author of The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century.

Airdate: January 9, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    In light of the recent Grand Jury indictment of Scooter Libby, Rick Shenkman will relate his findings on Orville Babcock – until recently, the last high White House official to be indicted while in office. Shenkman is the editor of the History News Network--an online resource on history – and the author of Presidential Ambition: Gaining Power at Any Cost.

The Children's Blizzard
January 12, 1888 began as an unseasonably warm morning across the upper Midwest. Children walked to school without coats and gloves, unaware of the impending blizzard that was to claim 500 lives. John Herron discusses that tragic event with his guest, David Laskin, author of The Children’s Blizzard.

Airdate: January 2, 2006

Run Time: 29 Minutes

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    And for our commentary Felipe Fernandez-Armesto joins us to offer us his thoughts on the fragility of cities. Fernandez-Armesto is Prince of Asturias Professor at Tufts University.