Jon Meacham's new biography of Thomas Jefferson paints the founding father as the most successful political leader of early America, and possibly all of US history. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" discusses Jefferson's passion for his nation in the country's fledgling years and reviews the man's genius and his faults.
Meacham spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on November 28, 2012.
In 1917, the glittering elite of Tzarist Russia were crushed, practically overnight, by the Communist revolution. What happened to the nearly two million people who lived at the top of Russian society? Douglas Smith, awarding-winning historian and author, joins us to talk about "Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy."
What does Baseball history tell us about America? That we’re a nation of scandals and corrupt leadership, of racial prejudice and cold economic calculus. But we’re also a nation of humility and redemption. William Woodward teaches American history at SPU and preaches the gospel of baseball all over Washington state. The narrative he sees in baseball gives him hope – not just for America, but for the human condition. Professor Woodward gives Ross Reynolds his pitch.
The US military and its allies are drawing up plans to leave Afghanistan by 2014, but it will be some time before the nation is truly independent. Peace in Afghanistan has been interspersed with foreign invasion for centuries, from the Mongol Empire to today’s war. We talk with writer Tamim Ansary about his new book, “Game Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan,” and what Afghan independence might look like in the future.
Yesler Terrace is Seattle's oldest public housing project. It was revolutionary when it was completed in 1940. In the near future, though, it will be completely demolished.
In its place will sprout a series of high rise towers with a limited number of low-income housing units alongside up to 4,000 market-rate private housing units, offices, retail and commercial spaces. The ultimate goal, says the Seattle Housing Authority, is to create a sustainable, healthy, mixed-income neighborhood.
It's a radical plan, controversial, and every bit as transformational as that which gave rise to Yesler Terrace in 1940.
On October 30, 1938, Orson Wells' infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast across the nation. Fake news of a Martian landing fooled a lot of people on the East Coast, especially around New Jersey, where phony live reports described the alien landing site. But the most infamous panic of all didn't happen in the East. And it wasn't just a single person. It was an entire town, and it happened right here in Washington state.
Chances are you've seen the works of Edward Curtis, possibly without even realizing it. His images are the iconic, definitive photographs of Native Americans created as the 19th century expired and the 20th came into being. The huge project to photograph the surviving Indian tribes brought Edward Curtis from the fringes of high society to the edge of penury. He died almost forgotten a few years after publication of the last of his 20 volumes of images. The New York Times journalist and author Timothy Egan joins us to explore the remarkable life and work of Edward Curtis.
Also this hour we will hear from the two candidates running for Washington state's 9th Congressional District. Rep. Adam Smith and Jim Postma discuss the issues facing the state's first minority-majority district.
Cover of Carver Clark Gayton's book, "Narrative of the Sufferings of Lewis Clarke, During a Captivity of More than Twenty-Five Years, Among the Algerines of Kentucky, One of the So Called Christian States of North America."
When Carver Clark Gayton was growing up in Seattle in the 1940s he didn’t hear anything about African-American history in school. But his mother told him stories, including one about his great-grandfather Lewis George Clarke.
Clarke was an escaped slave and an abolitionist. His personal story found its way into the anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" that went on to become the second most popular book in the 19th century. It’s seen as one of the causes of the Civil War.
There are many stories of great floods out there, first and foremost the fable of Noah's ark. But some geologists have found that many of these legends have some basis in historical fact. We talk with University of Washington professor and MacArthur award-winner Dave Montgomery, the author of "The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood."
"The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" debuted on television screens in 1959. The cartoon featured an all-American squirrel and his pal the moose hotly pursued by Boris and Natasha — the Russian-accented spies with a knack for falling on their own grenades. "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" parodied the space race, the arms race between the US and the Soviets, and also took its share of digs at the American government and military. In an era when Yogi Bear was stealing pies off window sills — never before had an animated cartoon carried such political currency. And as Studio 360’s Julia Wetherell reports in Rocky and Bullwinkle and the Cuban Missile Crisis, it just might have predicted the fall of communism.
In Hollywood, Bobby "Boris" Pickett topped the charts with “Monster Mash.” In New York, James Brown recorded his incredible "Live at the Apollo" album. And in Cuba, offensive missile sites were being built, marking the start of the Cuban missile crisis.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the Pacific Northwest was about to face one of the most destructive natural disasters in American history.
Who was the best US president? The worst? Biographer Robert Merry plays "rate the presidents" based on popularity and historical judgment. Here are some hints: Abraham Lincoln's at the top and James Buchanan ranks as one of the country's biggest failures.