History

Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War

Apr 26, 2017

The Vietnam War is largely recalled as a mistake, either in the decision to engage there or in the nature of the engagement.  Veterans of the war remain largely anonymous figures.  Enduring Vietnam recounts the experiences of the young Americans who fought in Vietnam and of families who grieved those who did not return. We talk with author James Wright about the “baby boomers” who grew up in the 1950s, why they went into the military,  how they describe serving in “Nam” and their experiences coming home.

GUEST:  James Wright is author and editor of several history books and a former history professor at Dartmouth College as well as former Dartmouth College President.


Courtesy of RR Auction

Update: The diary sold at auction Wednesday, April 26, for $718,750. R.R. Auction, based in Amherst, New Hampshire, coordinated the sale. The buyer is a Massachusetts-based collector.

In the summer of 1945, between his military service and first campaign for Congress, John F. Kennedy traveled across Europe working as a journalist.

JFK kept a diary during those months on the road. The historical document reveals a future President trying to make sense of a rapidly changing post-war world--and it’s now being put up for bid by a New Hampshire auction house.

4.18.17: Vetoes & Kinan Azmeh

Apr 18, 2017
Tim Evanson via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/cVHCid

On today's show:

  • Civics 101: Veto
  • "Crazy Bet" from producer Nate DiMeo and The Memory Palace. Listen again at PRX.org. 
  • Clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh was born in Damascus, but now lives in New York, where he wakes up to bad news each day. He’s going to be performing with the Kinan Azmeh CityBand at Phillips Academy Exeter tonight at 7:00pm and at the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts tomorrow, April 19th at 6:30pm to celebrate the band's 10th season together. This is our previous conversation with Kinan and composer Kareem Roustom, recorded in 2013.
  • "The Gift of Music" from Masumi Hayashi-Smith and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Listen again at PRX.org. 

Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/RvzoUZ

On today's show: 

Urban Strategies via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/gaw1RS

On today's show:

Roger H. Goun via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/bF6sXx

On today's show:

Pedro Angeles via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/DKinG

On today's show: 

  • We spoke to Wesley Lowery about his experience reporting on race and activism, and the myth of objectivity. His recent book is They Can't Kill Us All.
  • "Oil, Water" from Nate DiMeo and The Memory Palace. Listen again at prx.org
  • Civics 101: The Nuclear Codes
  • A Series of Tubes with Rob Fleischman
  • "Cycling 101 for Adults" from producer Sarah Elzas and Radio Farnce International. Listen again at prx. org

3.01.17: Federal Courts & Sex in the Sea

Mar 1, 2017
Beth Taylor via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/3A5WP3

On today's show:

Rogue Heroes: The History of the S.A.S

Feb 28, 2017

In his book "Rogue Heroes" author Ben Macintyre describes the origins of Britain's notoriously secret special forces unit, the S.A.S.  The inspiration for special forces around the world, the S.A.S. was originally made up of eccentric rogues and miscreants  who did not fit into the ranks of the regular Army. Their motto "who dares wins" became the most famous military motto in Britain.


Steven Nichols via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/59y3nV

On today's show: 

Andrew Malone via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4uix3a
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
joe bustillos via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6m7Jhs

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.

Eugene Kaspersky via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rBHFRr

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?

splityarn via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/6m2iYw

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
msrivergirl via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/ac7qJT

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
Dayna Bateman via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2hGD6G

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. 

Frank Maurer via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/83biv

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.

James Vaughan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/c83XTb

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.

Sarah Joy via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/cNCrSo

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. 


Fake Plastic Alice via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5L2wa8

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.

brooklyntheborough via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5RyRoi

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. 

Doug Kerr via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9uDD5F

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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