History

Photo Credit Ashur, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Following the holocaust was the single greatest forged migration in human history, orchestrated by…the allies. Didn’t know about one of the darkest sides of the allies World War II victory?…well, neither did we. Today we explore why some events make the history books and others are lost in time, and how historians have shaped the history that we remember and the history we choose to forget. Our guest Ray Douglas is chairman of the history department at Colgate University.

Courtesy Roger Goun via Flickr/CC - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sskennel/748581002/in/photostream/

Today is the first day of Sail Portsmouth, a four day festival of tall ships on New Hampshire’s Seacoast.

One of the featured ships in this year’s festival is called The Pride of Baltimore II. It’s a recreation of a topsail schooner that served as a privateer in the War of 1812 - ships that shaped the course of the war between the United States and Britain two hundred years ago.

"Short, easy, infallible"

Photo Credit Tbanneck, Via Flickr Creative Commons

We talk with Brady Carlson about his awesome Kickstarter project that aims to dig up the history of presidential grave sites.

Longtime residents of Manchester may remember a large, stylized sign in the mill district, for Pandora sweaters, one of the area's biggest operations. A recent documentary tells the story of Pandora and of its longtime owner, May Gruber. It’s called “Sweater Queen.”

Nancy Beach is producer of the film, which is screening later this week in Manchester. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about May Gruber's life and career.

jimmywayne via Flickr Creative Commons

We explore the history of French Canadians in the Granite State with Franco-American scholar Robert Perreault. Arguably no other culture has had a greater influence on New Hampshire than Franco-Americans. We'll look at why they came, where they settled, and the idea of "La Survivance," which kept their culture alive and well in such cities as Manchester, Nashua, and Berlin.

From the collections of the Naval Historical Center. USNHC # NH 97551.

Navy officials continue to investigate the massive fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The blaze caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to the USS Miami nuclear submarine, which had come to Portsmouth for an overhaul.

For longtime Seacoast residents, the accident brings to mind the tragedy of the USS Thresher, a nuclear sub based in Portsmouth. Nearly a half century ago, the Thresher sank several hundred miles off the East Coast; all of its 129 crew members died.

Photo Credit J.Scaper, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Smartphones make it relatively easy to record and monitor suspected law-breaking in real time, but what about crimes in the pre-smartphone era? Word of mouth producer Rebecca Lavoie tagged along with an unusual gumshoe…one who scours old buildings for evidence of architectural crimes.   

 

(NPR's Larry Abramson is among the correspondents traveling with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Asia this week. In Vietnam earlier today, the government there told Panetta it will open three new sites for excavation — in the hope of finding U.S. troops' remains.

(Photo by multipletrees via Flickr Creative Commons)

The words of Thomas Jefferson ring in the ears and characters of Americans, yet his actual voice remains unknown. Likewise, visitors to Monticello get a window into his daily life and genius, but can only imagine the mix of pastoral and industrious sounds of the farm operating at full tilt.

A Soviet news reel shows teary mourners shuffling past the body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  The Bolshevik leader and chair of the soviet state in its early years died of a he died of an apparent massive stroke in 1924 at age 54. His embalmed corpse still throngs of visitors to his tomb in Moscow’s Red Square, and was the topic of an annual clinicopathological conference held at the University of Maryland.

America loves amateurs. The country was founded by dilettantes and enlightened rebels. Cities, farms and businesses were seeded by adventurous greenhorns and neophytes. Writer Jack Hitt argues that the DIY spirit that generated untold number of patents and subscriptions to Popular Mechanics drives the country’s success and identity. The popular TV shows The Voice and Project Runway continue a long tradition of discovering and rewarding talent.

Garbology

Apr 23, 2012
(Photo by Stinkenroboter via Flickr Creative Commons)

You may have heard that Americans throw away more than any other nation, but any idea of just how much? Each of us is on track to toss 102 tons of garbage in our lifetime. More than 7 pounds a day, and twice what we chucked out in 1960. Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes believes we are living in a state of garbage denial. His new book is called Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. In it, he looks at the science, politics, and economics of waste.  

How much would you pay for a very rare book?

The British Library in London has just paid about $14 million to purchase Europe's oldest intact book, known as the St. Cuthbert Gospel. It's a copy of the Gospel of St. John, thought to have been produced in northeastern England sometime during the seventh century.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about Fenway Park. A century after it was built, fans still gush about this "lyric little bandbox," as John Updike called it. To guys like Ed Carpenter, Fenway is history and home, magic and mystique.

"I love this place," he says, tearing up. "I mean, it's not mortar and bricks and seats."

Carpenter first started coming to Fenway with his dad in 1949, when he was 6.

"We walked up this ramp right behind this home plate," he recalls. "I can still see everything was green, emerald green. It was love at first sight."

It's just after sunrise outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, when 20 B-25 bombers start showing up in the western sky.

Remembering The Titanic's Intrepid Bandleader

Apr 13, 2012

This weekend marks the centennial of the Titanic disaster. One hundred years ago Saturday, the ship that, as legend had it, "God himself couldn't sink," struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It was about 20 minutes to midnight on April 14, 1912. Two hours and 40 minutes later, the Titanic was gone.

A Washington, D.C.-area collector and his family have donated more than 1,000 Civil War photographs to the Library of Congress. But you won't find the men in these photos in history books — they're enlisted soldiers, and most of them are unidentified.

In one striking photo, the man depicted has crazy sideburns, a steady expression, and very clear eyes — maybe gray, or perhaps blue. He holds a rifled musket at his side. He is a Union soldier in the Civil War. And the only things we know about him are what we can learn from a single photo.

The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.

But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.

Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.

Thirty years ago, on April 2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, leading to a short but bloody war with Britain. Argentina lost, and the islands in the frigid South Atlantic stayed under British control.

Argentina still claims the islands, however, and is pressuring Britain like never before.

On a recent day, the ornate Palais de Glace museum in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, was packed with visitors browsing through a collection of photographs from the Falkland Islands war.

The story of how the U.S. wound up with the income tax is the story of two wars, a Supreme Court justice on his death bed, and Donald Duck.

It's also the story of how the government overcame three obstacles.

Obstacle No. 1: Logistics

How do you make sure people pay?

New analysis of a photo taken in 1937 has led investigators to think it might show a piece of the landing gear from aviator Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane, which disappeared in June that year somewhere in the South Pacific.

Globally, the prevailing form of polygamy is of one man with multiple wives – generally older men marrying younger wives. Social scientists have quantified that crime rates are higher in those cultures, with younger men having few prospects for family life. And it is no great shakes for young, often pre-pubescent girls forced into marriage by culture, economics, and tradition.

There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.

Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.

More than 80,000 of Albert Einstein's papers, including his most famous formula — E=mc² — and letters to and from his former mistresses, are going online at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

As NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro says on All Things Considered, "what the trove uncovers is a picture of complex man who was concerned about the human condition" as well as the mysteries of science.

Et tu, Macbeth?

Mar 15, 2012
Photo by Potatojunkie via Flickr Creative Commons

Greed...avarice...a thirst for power. Sure, these things all describe our modern corporate and political landscape, but they're also just a few of the themes at play in Macbeth. This weekend, The Acting Loft in Manchester is staging a new version of the play, one that doesn't forget the times we live in...or Shakespeare's intent.

The Long Con

Mar 14, 2012
Photo by Robert Huffstutter via Flickr Creative Commons

We can’t say with any authority when the first con artist found his mark. But we can trace the term “confidence man” to an article in The New York Herald in 1849. The Herald reporter urged citizens to stop by the city’s notorious tombs and peer at the suspect known as Samuel Williams. Many came to peer at the flim-flam man who described his effect on his marks as “putting them to sleep.”  The willingness to be duped, is of course, the genius of the con.

It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.

Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.

"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.

In 1862, the USS Monitor — a Civil War-era ironclad warship — fought one of the world's first iron-armored battles against the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. Less than a year later, a violent storm sank the Union ship off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C. The wreck was discovered more than a century later, and subsequent searches have turned up more than just a crumbling ship — they also found the skeletons of two of the Monitor's sailors in the ship's gun turret.

Two weeks ago, Florence Green -- the last known surviving veteran of world war one -- died. She had been a waitress in Britain’s Royal Air Force.  The story of the war that was to end all wars survives in historic accounts, novels, poems and pictures. Millions of British and American viewers recently got a glimpse of the battlefield on PBS’s popular Downton Abbey.

With Town Meeting Day set for March, February is when towns hold public meetings about the budget items and warrant articles that will go before voters.

Mont Vernon, in southern New Hampshire, is no exception; its public hearing is tonight. And one of the items drawing the most attention is a request to change the name of a small body of water known as Jew Pond.

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