History

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If you find yourself in downtown Berlin, New Hampshire, take a glance at the Androscoggin River. There, in the middle of the water, you’ll notice a long, straight line of small rocky islands poking through the surface.

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On today's show: 

Economist and Harvard professor Mihir Desai uses philosophy, film, literature, and history to analyze finance as an institution built on morality and humanity. His book , The Wisdom of Finance, explores how the financial industry can be understood through culture, and how deeply finance impacts our personal lives. 


Ghostowns, Civics 101, & Andrew Greer

Jul 21, 2017
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Aerosmith has been going strong for decades, but the legendary rock band actually traces its roots back to New Hampshire.

Lead singer Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry met in Sunapee, where they spent their childhood summers, and the rest is rock history.

On Saturday, the Sunapee Historical Society will be transformed into a shrine of sorts for the band when it hosts Aerosmith History Day.

Memorabilia spanning the band’s nearly 50-year career will be on display.

Several organizations are coming together to address what they say has been an abrupt and sharp decline in basic historical knowledge among New Hampshire students.

New Hampshire Historical Society president Bill Dunlap sounded the alarm in an op-ed earlier this month, saying this knowledge deficit could have dramatic consequences for the state.

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New Hampshire students may soon be brushing up on their state history. A new law will require New Hampshire high school students to take one credit of history and a half credit of civics as a prerequisite for graduation.

Democratic Senator Lou D’Allesandro, a former civics teacher, sponsored the bill. He says chronic low voter turnout in the U.S. is a symptom of poor civics education.

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Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War

May 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.

This program was originally broadcast on 4/27/17.


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
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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. 

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

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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
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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.


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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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