History

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“Apple Pay” came out of the gate with great fanfare and claims that the mobile-payment system will make purchasing easier and more secure.  On today’s show, a closer scan of Apple Pay and find out who is set to benefit – and who is not.

And, from traffic cams to EZ Pass, big brother is riding along with us more than we think. But just how much are drivers being monitored? And, after a week of historic wins and losses, we’ll sample the art of the concession speech.

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courtesy Library of Congress

A new book is shining a light on an unusual chapter in the life of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.

In the second half of the 19th Century, the New Hampshire native was a wealthy and prominent public figure. But toward the end of her life, Eddy faced a legal challenge to her wealth and her fitness to manage her own affairs – and it came in part from inside her own family.

With the Roosevelts running (and running) on PBS stations across the country, NH’s most famous documentarian has again put Walpole on the map. Ken Burns and his production company Florentine Films have won dozens of awards – Emmys, Grammys, a Peabody and a Columbia-DuPont Award. Much of the success can also be attributed to writer/historian Dayton Duncan who was a key collaborator on many of Florentine’s projects including The National Parks, The Civil War and Baseball.

Jeremy Weber via flickr Creative Commons

Tesla cars…Louis Vuitton luggage…Philippe Patek watches…luxury brands are selling well. How about a $10,000 cell phone? On today’s show, we’ll learn about the new handcrafted cell phone with optional concierge service that’s become a new symbol of conspicuous consumption.

Also today, from fierce fighters in the Trojan wars to Wonder Woman, Amazons have been described as figures of myth. A classics scholar sifts through new DNA evidence and other proof that these female warriors on horseback were real.

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Guldfisken / flickr, creative commons

  The Portsmouth Athenaeum’s annual book sale begins on Friday at the North Church Parish. “There’s a bumper crop this year,” says Tom Hardiman, the Athenaeum’s “keeper,” or Executive Director.

Gene Han via flickr Creative Commons

From President’s Day to Veteran’s Day, federal holidays are often an excuse for a day off and mattress sales. On today’s show: the history guys tell us how federal holidays get established, and why more recent events--like September 11th --won’t likely be among them.

Upon its opening, the gift shop at the September 11th Memorial Museum sparked controversy for such keepsakes from an FDNY rescue dog vest to “survivor tree” earrings. But the impulse to commemorate is as old as the country itself. We’ll take a historical tour of tone-deaf trinkets.

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randomhouse.com

From the early days of counting houses, when office jobs were looked down on but were still considered a refuge from factory work,  to the modern day cubicle. We talk with author Nikil Saval about his new book "Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace." (This show was originally broadcast on 7/2/14)

GUEST:  

  • Nikil Saval - an editor of  n + 1, a print and digital magazine of literature, culture, and politics. "Cubed" is his first book.

LINKS:

Simon Shek via Flickr CC

During the Depression, the face of hunger was easy to spot: gaunt, worn, and hollow-eyed. Today’s malnourished are tougher to spot. We’ll get a close up of the new face of American hunger. Plus, over 46 million Americans are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The average daily benefit per person per day is four dollars. We’ll find out what living on a SNAP budget really looks like. And, how is America’s sweet tooth may be rooted in Prohibition?

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ste3ve via Flickr CC

Melissa McCarthy is hailed as a “plus-sized sweetheart,” a champion of representation for women of all sizes. But is she really just a sellout? Today we look at the difference between her roles in movies and the issues she brings to the spotlight in interviews and profiles to see if she really is the progressive comedian everyone makes her out to be. Then, it’s time for some swashbuckling history. We get answers about what’s real and what are myths when it comes to one of our favorite villains – the pirate. Plus, what is the real cost and benefit of personal privacy in a world where everything is under surveillance?

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edbrambley via Flickr CC

Studying medicine requires intelligence, discipline and considerable expense, making it one of the most prestigious professions in America. But that wasn’t always the case.  We take a look into the shady practices that lead the people of New York City to riot against doctors in the eighteenth-century. Then, for many people vacation is all about fun, sun, and relaxation…for others it’s about Kevlar vests and the front lines. We’ll take a look at the latest in adventure travel: war tourism. Plus, we speak with New Orleans musician Glen David Andrews about his newest album.

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World War I's 100th Anniversary: N.H. Reflects

Jul 28, 2014
kg12345 / Flickr/CC

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of World War I. We’ll take a look at the history lessons of that war, including the causes and the lasting impact of the war.

GUESTS:

jbspec7 via Flickr CC

New Hampshire is often advertised as a state filled with natural attractions, famous for our mountains (Mt. Washington and Mt. Monadnock are both known world-wide), lakes, and rivers. But the state is filled with historical landmarks as well, which Lucie Bryar covers in her book Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on Back Roads and Quiet Waters. Here are some of the cultural attractions in southern NH you may not have heard about, but that you’ll definitely want to check out.

vixyao via Flickr CC

New Hampshire bills itself as having a terrain for all seasons – the mountains offer climbing and skiing, the forests shelter innumerable hiking trails, and the lakes and rivers draw people in summer and winter alike. We speak with Lucie Bryar about some the state’s best spots for exploring. And, casual dining chains have been experimenting in extreme discounts. We take a look at the logic behind it and speak with one reporter who put these policies to the test. Then, in case you’ve run out of vacation ideas, we have a list of America’s ickiest attractions.

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blieusong via Flickr CC

Today, we have a conversation with an anatomist behind a new PBS series that puts the lens on mammals who reproduce under extreme circumstances, like dolphins. And if you think it’s tough for mammals to find a mate, try finding one in the vast ocean when you’re a nearly microscopic crustacean. We’ll look into the mating rituals of copepods. And then, a different sort of nature when Chuck Klosterman tells us more about the traits of villainy.

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John Cooper via Flickr Creative Commons

High tech can sometimes mean hand stitching. We discuss the production of World Cup soccer balls in Siaklot, Pakistan with Atlantic assistant editor, Joe Pinsker. Next, a conversation about the intricacies of teaching high school English with writer and teacher Nick Ripatrazone. Then, Dr. Jordan Ellenberg takes us through the most unread books of summer using his formula, the Hawking Index. And, we talk to "Joyland" author Emily Schultz about the strange events that followed the release Steven King's book of the same title. Plus, a look into the history of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster.

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In a new book, acclaimed historian Nathaniel Philbrick offers the untold back-story to this battle, which he calls the tipping point of the American Revolution.  He introduces us to little-known but vitally important characters in this drama, who did much of the heavy lifting of the Revolution in Boston, while the founding fathers were far from the scene, in Philadelphia.

Joel Christian Gill

Whether it’s a catchy theme song, or a single image - think Mary Tyler Moore tossing her cap into the air – some TV credit sequences are etched in our minds. Today we listen for the greatest TV opening sequences of all time. Plus, a look at a graphic novel that reveals the untold stories of African-American history…including that of Richard Potter, for whom the New Hampshire town of Potter Place is named. Then, tis the season for mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. How are you preventing pesky bites? We sample the rainbow of bug repellant…from witch hazel to DEET.

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Word of Mouth presents a special rebroadcast of Writers on a New England Stage with Bill Bryson, presented by NHPR and The Music Hall and recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. He joined Virginia Prescott on stage last October to talk about his book “One Summer: 1927.” It is now available in paperback.

Michael Salerno via flickr Creative Commons

Going up? Today on Word of Mouth, we're lifting you to new cultural heights with a look into the history of two architectural advancements in history - the elevator and escalator. We'll hold the door for you when we stop on a story about a family of mannequins. Last stop, a discussion about why we should all stop singing that pervasive birthday song.

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ninahale via Flickr Creative Commons

The old adage goes, “money can’t buy you happiness”, but maybe you’re just not spending it right. From paying for experiences to spending on others, we'll look at the science of smarter, happier spending. Plus, parents prepare! The end of the school year is nigh. For those looking for ways to get kids off their screens and outside this summer, fear not, we have just the activities in mind. Then, the surprisingly fascinating history of the scarecrow.

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Scott Lynch/ Gothamist

The gift shop at The National September 11 Memorial Museum has sparked controversy for such keepsakes as: a plush FDNY rescue dog and “survivor tree” earrings. While many find the items tasteless, the impulse to commemorate is as old as the country itself. NHPR's Brady Carlson takes us on a historical tour of tone-deaf keepsakes, from toy hand grenades to Confederate flag throw pillows. Plus, we'll speak to the founder of Letters of Note about the beauty and power of handwritten correspondence. 

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The Bride Wore Black

May 22, 2014

All Dressed in White - it's the title of author Carol Wallace's look into the history of the American wedding, but it hasn't always held true for brides. On the frontier - a culture centered around migrant work & making do - a woman may only have a single good dress, designed for a decidedly different purpose.

alexbeam.net

We're sitting down with Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam to talk about his new book, "American Crucifixion," examining the life of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church.

GUEST: 

  • Alex Beam – columnist for the Boston Globe and author of several books, most recently “American Crucifixion.”

LINKS:

WalterPro4755 via Flickr Creative Commons

In 1986 there were an estimated 50,000 Civil War re-enactors in the U.S. Since 2000 their ranks have been cut in half. Today on Word of Mouth: the decline of Civil War reenactments, and what drives someone to take on the identity of a 19th century solider. Plus, after millennia of selective breeding, there are now over 3000 known varieties of apple. But, are our beloved Galas and Honeycrisps in peril? Why the extinction of wild apple species in central Asia could spell disaster for their descendants. And, when it comes to rice, why brown may not be the healthier.

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Ervins Strauhmanis via Flickr Creative Commons

It gets bandied about countless times by economists, politicians, and newscasters, but what exactly is GDP? Today on Word of Mouth, the surprisingly fascinating process of measuring Gross Domestic Product, and what this live or die by economic indicator overlooks. Plus, prehistoric humans are commonly depicted as grunting, club-wielding brutes. Now, evidence that Neanderthal parents didn’t just rear children, but loved and cherished them. All that and more on today's show.

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Unknown, via Wikimedia Commons

Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, at the same time, the internet has been widely embraced. Coincidence? Today on Word of Mouth: does the internet spell the fall of religion? Or is it more of a correlation than a cause? Plus, we peruse the new release section of the bookstore and notice a trend, Catastrophe 1914, 1914: History in an Hour, 1914: Fight the Good Fight. A look into the downside of treating years as celebrities.

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lynneolsen.com

We're sitting down with Lynne Olson, author of new book "Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1945." We'll discuss the bitter debate leading up American involvement in World War Two, a critical time in U.S. History.

GUEST:

Kurk Dorsey's "Whales & Nations"

Mar 19, 2014
Univ of Washington Press

The new book "Whales and Nations" by UNH professor Kurkpatrick Dorsey explores the history of international conservation efforts through the lens of the commercial whaling industry. We’ll talk with him about the whaling in the 20th century and why international diplomacy failed to regulate commercial whaling.

GUESTS:

Leo Reynolds via flickr Creative Commons

Word of Mouth wishes you a happy Daylight Saving Time! (Can you believe it's this Sunday already?) But why exactly does the practice of changing our clocks even exist? We explore the ins and outs of Daylight Saving (without the extra "s") with a guest who wrote the book on it. Then Zach Nugent talks with Marissa Nadler whose most recent album was released in early February. We take an architectural turn with a look at the invention of revolving doors followed by a hot architectural commodity: wood. Finally, producers Logan Shannon and Sam Evans-Brown bring us a story about a wild winter activity. No, not skiing or boarding, but animal tracking.

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February 28th marks thirty years since the 1984 New Hampshire presidential primary. The ’84 election is often overlooked today – mostly because the general election saw Republican President Ronald Reagan beat Democrat Walter Mondale in a landslide - and yet, the 1984 primary was fairly influential.

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