History

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On today's show: 

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Daniel Gregory via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/o4fTvk

On today’s show, we’ll talk to the host of The Lonely Palette, a podcast that aims to put art appreciation back in the hands of the masses, one painting at a time.

Plus, the Grammy-award winning group OutKast has had an undeniable impact on hip-hop, and put southern hip-hop on the map. Now that musical legacy is being deconstructed for college credit. We’ll talk to the professor behind a new upper level English class that puts OutKast on the syllabus.

And we get ready to kick off the 12th year of the Portsmouth-based RPM challenge, when artists around the world try to write and record an album in just 28 days.

1.30.17: Civics 101 & End of Life Care for Kids

Jan 30, 2017
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The Constitution grants the press freedom to hold elected officials feet to the fire. How does the White House Press Corps do it?  Today, Civics 101 gets a lesson from a master, NPR's Senior White House Correspondent Scott Horsley.

Also today, hospice care is increasingly a choice for end-of-life care. What does it mean for lives that have just begun? We'll hear about an option that's so far been unthinkable - hospice care for terminally ill kids.

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When confronting transphobia, what's the best way to encourage understanding? How about a face-to-face discussion? Today, a study follows a group of door-to-door canvassers, and quantifies what we probably know instinctively - conversation is an effective tool for empathy and persuasion.

Plus, just because you saw The West Wing 10 years ago, does not mean you understand how government works. And that's ok. Today we introduce Civics 101 to untangle the fundamentals you learned in school and probably forgot - like what exactly does a Chief of Staff do?

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In the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party made racial pride a rallying point for social justice and arming citizens against police brutality - and was targeted by the FBI. So was the Puerto Rican nationalist party called the Young Lords. Today, we look back the little known activist movement strongly influenced by feminist ideals and the Latina experience.

Plus, want information? Google it. But try Googling: "is the Holocaust real?" and you'll be led to a barrage of Holocaust denial. We'll dig into why even when the facts are indisputable, finding truth online is not guaranteed.

Logan Shannon

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - but in December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. Today, stories from The Great Smog of 1952.  

And, eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is down to pre-recession levels. Another indicator has not faired as well: underemployment. Is part-time work the new normal?

1.05.17: Presidential Kids, Half Wild, & 10MWW

Jan 5, 2017
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The framers of American democracy rejected monarchy and its tradition of passing power through bloodline ...that has not stopped presidents past from relying on their kids. Today, Brady Carlson on first children who've made presidential politics a family business. 

Also today, hold-outs, hippies, haves and have-nots live side-by-side in a collection of stories set in Vermont...not the picture postcard version.

Plus, the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop talks with a longtime copy writer for the LL Bean catalog.  

1.03.17: Exploring Cahokia & Layla and Majnun

Jan 3, 2017
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Asked to imagine a "medieval city", you probably think of Europe or the Middle East - walled fiefdoms, bustling market stalls, maybe a castle, cathedral or dome of a mosque - not the American plains. Today, we'll learn about the Native American mega city that was bigger than contemporary London and Paris.

Plus: a boy. A girl. A forbidden love. The tragic storyline transcends time and place. The folktale of "Layla and Majnun" inspired the first Middle Eastern opera, the classic rock song "Layla", and now, a multi-media collaboration between the Silk Road Ensemble and choreographer Mark Morris - and now you can see it close to home. 

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Social media networks have too few people to monitor and shut down the volume of Islamic State propaganda accounts. Today, a Dartmouth professor has created a tool to flag violent, extremist videos and recruitment tools and keep them off social media feeds...still, some companies fear accusations of censorship.

Then, in the early 1800s, America was new - a wide and blank slate for backwoods prophets, reformers and salvation seekers to create their own versions of paradise. Today, from Shakers to radicals to polygamists, a road trip through some of the nearly 200 utopian communities that emerged in the 19th century.

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What do McDonalds hamburgers and NPR underwriting have in common? Ray and Joan Kroc.  One, a business tycoon responsible for building a world-wide brand and the other a strong woman with a passion for progressive causes. Today we’re learning about the odd couple pairing of a billionaire-entrepreneur and peace-loving philanthropist.

Plus, a collection of stories follows characters down the slippery slope of technological dependency -  and how to slow it down.

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The Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court, the Paris Agreement. The Trump administration is sure to bring lots of changes, among them: White House decor. On today’s show we’ll take a historic tour of how first families have put their stamp on the executive mansion, including President Teddy Roosevelt, who created the west wing.

Also today, we'll speak with NASA's planetary defense officer about teaming up with FEMA, the Air Force and other government agencies for a simulation of what could happen if an asteroid crashed into a densely populated region -- and how they'd respond.

The New Hampshire Historical Society is bidding on papers from Franklin Pierce, the only president to have come from the Granite State.

The papers, including 90 letters between Pierce and his secretary Sidney Webster, are being auctioned by Auction at Doyle on Tuesday in New York. The letters are estimated to be worth between $15,000 and $30,000.

The society's president Bill Dunlap says the papers would bolster what is already considered the best collection of Pierce-related items. Pierce was president from 1853 to 1857.

Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World

Nov 22, 2016

Necessity isn't always the mother of invention: some of our most important ideas arise out of moments of playful exploration.  We talk with Steven Johnson, the author of a new book called "Wonderland," who contends delight and wonder have had a disproportionate impact on our history and point the way to future innovation. 


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Today, voices of Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp used to divert attention from the final solution. We'll hear about how prisoners held under brutal conditions created art and music amid the horrors of the holocaust

Plus, what happens when a protest movement professing all-or-nothing absolutism splits in two? We'll find out how a splinter group of vegan activists toned down their goals and built a powerful machine for change.

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It's here - the day of reckoning for the most bitter, acrimonious, controversial election in recent memory. But not, it might be a relief to know, in American history. Today, some historical perspective on contentious elections with Brady Carlson: and spoiler alert - our democracy survived.

Then we'll check in with transhumanist presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan who is just one of the nineteen hundred people who decided to run for president this year. We'll talk to him about what it was like to be on the campaign trail for over a year and what he learned.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Today, millions of Americans around the country are performing their civic duty at the voting booth. But here in New Hampshire, there’s growing concern that students aren’t learning enough about the historical foundations behind that tradition. 

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New Hampshire's largest city has a rich industrial history as mill town. Today, it's a hub for tech and companies and education. Today, a Manchester resident says it's time the re-awakened  queen city got a new guide.

Plus, a comprehensive map of the world’s weirdest places – from Brazil’s Snake Island to an Icelandic elf school, to a giant burning hole in Turkmenistan, Atlas Obscura's new book is sure to make your next vacation a little stranger.

Library of Congress

Founded in the 1830s, the Queen City's Amoskeag Manufacturing Company became an industrial powerhouse of international renown, making Manchester a magnet for immigrant laborers and later, union activism. We're talking with two Granite State historians about this period and its relevance today.

Bessie Stringfield: The Motorcycle Queen of Miami

Sep 22, 2016
Cover art courtesy of Joel Christian Gill | Author photo courtesy of NHIA

From intrepid explorers to hearty pioneers to Jack Kerouac's drug addled odyssey, the road trip is a staple of American literature and folklore. Stories of crossing the nation are allegories for freedom, expanding opportunities, and often escape.

The little known story of an African American woman crossing the country eight times during the 1930s and 40s is remarkable enough. The fact that Bessie Stringfield did it—alone—on a motorcycle is downright astonishing.

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Each year, eight-hundred thousand Latinos turn 18 in the United States - add up the 4 years since the last election, and you've got a whole lot of young voters. Today, a new app designed to increase turnout among young Latinos - an crucial block that haven't always shown up to the polls. 

Plus, the author of The Way Things Work - a quintessential coffee-table book from 1988 made up of detailed illustrations to explain everything from catapults to calculators. The classic book just got an update for the digital age.

And conservation by drone - we'll hear about a program designed to save black-footed ferrets from the plague by air-dropping vaccines.

Sean Winters via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/HN51N

When a seasoned magazine editor took her daughter to the bookstore, they found scientists and explorers in magazines for boys. For girls: princesses, cover girls in make-up and tips for shinier hair.

On today’s show a new magazine for girls has plenty of creative, inspiring ideas, and no lipstick! 

Also today, aspiring doctors get all they can from med school, for the rest, they turn to actors. We'll find out how playing sick is helping to make better doctors. And the 5-second rule gets the science treatment.

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Julia Ward Howe is famous for writing the civil war song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic” - but did you know her life was the subject of the first Pulitzer Prize winning biography, back in 1917? We’re learning about the unlikely sisters who took home the first Pulitzer prize 100 years ago.

Plus, you've seen one photo of the pyramids at Giza, or the Eiffel Tower, and you've just about seen them all.  We'll talk to an artist who photographs the most documented tourist destinations in the world - by not taking photos of them.  

8.17.16: The Man With Made-Up Memories & Blood Brother

Aug 17, 2016

Dr . Martin Luther King Jr, Emmit Till, Medgar Evers  -  many sacrificed their lives during America's struggle  for civil rights. So did Jonathan Daniels, a white student from New Hampshire.Today, the authors of a new biography dig into Daniels' life and activism.

Plus, what makes up a memory? For years, filing cabinets or computer folders were used as metaphors for how our brains store and retrieve memories - the truth is a lot less reliable. One man's near-death experience reveals a lot about how and what we remember.

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In the 1968 Olympic games, American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the medal stand - with the eyes of the world upon them - and raised their fists to the sky. Today, John Carlos talks about athletic activism today and the force of that protest nearly fifty years ago.

Plus, the multi-million dollar industry of suffering. A filmmaker explores why people pay money to grind through obstacle courses races through mud, icy ponds and electric shocks? Are we primitive beings taking flight from desk jobs? Or does running through fire just make for a better Facebook post?

Deb Cram

The Bookshelf is NHPR's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. 

If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

6.23.16: How We Can Be More Nordic & Citizen Khan

Jun 23, 2016
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Bernie Sanders’ proposals for free education and healthcare were flatly rejected by those who said "we are not Denmark". A new book argues that the policies and protections in Nordic countries don't work because of shared benevolence, but because they benefit everyone's selfish interests. Today, a Finnish expat gives the US a pep talk.

Then, Zarif Khan migrated to America in the early 20th century and became prosperous and beloved in his Wyoming town...though the law prevented his citizenship.

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There are a lot of adjectives used to describe great white sharks:  Giant. Fearsome. Deadly.  But author and naturalist Sy Montgomery has seen sharks up close and might choose another word - like sublime. Today, the ocean's most mysterious and misunderstood predator gets a closer look.

Then, maybe you heard about the guy visiting Yellowstone who put a cold, abandoned baby buffalo in his car and drove it to a ranger station.  Attempts to reunite the little guy with its herd failed and it was euthanized - inciting an online riot over how humans interact with wild animals. 

Happy Father's Day

Jun 17, 2016
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