Modern History

Our guest is the novelist Jonathan Lee, whose new book is a vivid, page-turning work of historical fiction titled "The Great Mistake." It's a novel set in 19th-century New York City that digs deeply and engagingly into the life and times of -- and the mysterious murder of -- a man named Andrew Haswell Green. Not well-remembered today but very famous in his time, Green (who was called "The Father of Greater New York") was a lawyer and city planner whose visionary deal-making led to establishment of Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo, and the New York Public Library.

Here in the good ol' USA, a strong work ethic -- a drive to succeed through hard work -- is seen as a leading virtue, and indeed, as a necessity. We Americans have long been told that financial success and personal well-being will undoubtedly follow if we adopt a highly motivated mindset toward our job. On today's edition of ST, we look at the origins of that "highly motivated" outlook. Our guest is David Gray, a teaching professor of American studies and history at Oklahoma State University.

On today's ST, we are discussing a new book on race relations and American history that offers a bold, thorough, and eye-opening critique of our nation's criminal justice apparatus, its police operations, and indeed its entire legal system. Our guest is the well-regarded historian Elizabeth Hinton, who is an associate professor of history and African American studies at Yale University as well as a professor of law at Yale Law School.

On this edition of ST, we look into the upcoming Tulsa Chautauqua 2021, a virtual festival happening next week (June 8th through the 12th) on the theme of "20th Century Visionaries: Catalysts for Change." For this series of events -- which will be presented this year in an online-only format -- five different scholar/performers will offer entertaining and educational presentations and workshops on the lives of Gene Rodenberry, Gertrude Bell, Marshall McLuhan, Marie Curie, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The well-regarded historian Niall Ferguson is our guest; his many books include "Civilization," "The Great Degeneration," and "The Ascent of Money." He joins us to discuss his newest book, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe," which seems especially timely in the wake of the annus horribilis that was 2020. Ferguson's book sets out to show why human beings are getting worse, not better, at handling disasters -- despite advancements in medicine, science, technology, etc.

Our guest is Vaclav Smil, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Manitoba. Smil is the author of 40+ books on topics like energy, environmental and population change, food production and nutrition, technical innovation, risk asssessment, and public policy. He joins us to discuss his accessible and compelling new book of short essays, "Numbers Don't Lie." It's an eclectic, statistics-driven volume that effectively shows how numbers reveal the true state of our world today -- and how such numbers, much like unalterable facts, are what matter most.

(Note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the British author Jenny Lecoat. She's recently published her debut novel, which she tells us about. "The Girl from the Channel Islands" is a compelling saga that happens to employ, at least in part, her own family's history. As was noted by Publishers Weekly: "Lecoat...draws on the history of Germany's WWII occupation of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, where [she] was raised. During the summer of 1940, Hedy Bercu is living on Jersey after having escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna.

(Note: This interview originally aired earlier this year.) Our guest is Tamara Payne, who's the primary researcher and co-author (along with her late father, the esteemed investigative journalist Les Payne) of "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X." The recipient of the 2020 National Book Award, this biography draws upon countless interviews in order to contextualize Malcolm's life not only within the Nation of Islam but also within the broader sweep of modern American history.

Our guest is Shankar Vedantam, the bestselling author and host of the popular "Hidden Brain" podcast and public-radio show. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Useful Delusions: The Power and Paradox of the Self-Deceiving Brain." This book takes a detailed, research-driven look at the fundamental role of self-deception in human life -- that is, its positive as well as its negative aspects. As was noted of this work by The Washington Post: "Powerful....

Photo via jewishpartisans.org

Next week, on Thursday the 22nd at 7pm, the Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education and the Tulsa City-County Library will co-present the 23rd Annual Yom HaShoah Interfaith Commemoration.

(Note: This interview first aired last year.) Our guest is David Nasaw, the bestselling author and noted historian. He joins us to discuss his book, "The Last Million: Europe's Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War." It offers a far-reaching history of the one million refugees left behind in Germany after WWII, a disparate group that Nasaw refers to as "the last million." As explained in this careful documentation of postwar displacement and statelessness, the fate of "the last million" has been largely unknown, or hidden, until now.

In the first two decades of the 21st century, New York City has experienced a terrorist attack, a blackout, a hurricane, an historic recession, widespread social injustice, and, of course, the current pandemic. How has all of this affected the lives of New Yorkers? Our guest is the bestselling author Craig Taylor, whose new book draws on years of interviews with hundreds of NYC residents in order to render an indelible group portrait of the city. As per Publishers Weekly: "[This is] an engrossing, multihued 'oral portrait' of New York City as told by the people who live there....

(Note: This interview first aired last summer.) Our guest is Colin Dickey, a writer perhaps best known for his popular nonfiction book from years ago, "Ghostland." Dickey is a regular contributor to The LA Review of Books and Lapham's Quarterly; he also co-edited "The Morbid Anatomy Anthology." An active cultural historian and associate professor of creative writing at National University, he joins us to discuss his latest book.

Our guest is Tamara Payne, who's the primary researcher and co-author (along with her late father, the esteemed investigative journalist Les Payne) of "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X." The recipient of the 2020 National Book Award, this biography draws upon countless interviews in order to contextualize Malcolm's life not only within the Nation of Islam but also within the broader sweep of modern American history.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in June.) Our guest is Sonia Shah, a science journalist who's long covered the intersection of science, politics, culture, and human rights for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. Her latest book, which she tells us about, takes on many of our centuries-long assumptions about migration. That book is "The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move." Per The New York Times Book Review, it focuses "with compassion and insight a deeply complex and challenging subject....

Our guest on ST is Bina Venkataraman, a journalist and former adviser in the Obama administration who has helped communities and businesses prepare for climate change. She tells us about her book, "The Optimist's Telescope," which is now out in paperback. This work explores why we as human beings tend NOT to think ahead -- and what can be done to change that.

Our guest is the widely celebrated novelist and nonfiction writer Nicholson Baker, whose new book is an engrossing mash-up of history, journalism, and memoir. The book is called "Baseless," and it's focused on the modern-day Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. Baker's gripping and typically candid account carefully documents what it feels like to try to write about major historical events in a world of pervasive redactions, witheld records, widespead cover-ups, and glacially slow governmental responses.

Our guest is Colin Dickey, a writer perhaps best known for his popular nonfiction book from a years ago, "Ghostland." Dickey is a regular contributor to The LA Review of Books and Lapham's Quarterly; he also co-edited The Morbid Anatomy Anthology.

Our guest is Pam Fessler, an award-winning correspondent with NPR News who mainly covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues. She joins us to discuss her new book, "Carville's Cure," which is tells the fascinating and little-known story of the only leprosy colony in the continental United States. This facility, located in remote Carville, Louisiana, somehow became -- over the course of the 20th century -- much more of a refuge than a prison.

(Note: This interview first aired back in December.) Our guest is Phil Keith, the co-author of a remarkable biography titled "All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard -- Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy." As was noted of this compelling work in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "This dazzling biography, drawing on the subject's unpublished memoir, explores the incredible life and times of the first African-American fighter pilot: Eugene 'Gene' Bullard.

Our guest is Sonia Shah, a science journalist who's long covered the intersection of science, politics, culture, and human rights for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American, and other outlets. Her new book, which she tells us about, takes on many of our centuries-long assumptions about migration. The book is called "The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move." This work, per The New York Times Book Review, focuses "with compassion and insight a deeply complex and challenging subject....

On this edition of ST, a discussion from our archives. In 2017, we spoke with Richard Rothstein, a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Widely seen as a leading authority on U.S.

Our guest is Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose new book is a primer on world history -- specifically, world history as it's understood in our current global era. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made all too clear, we live in an age when things happening thousands of miles away can directly (and drastically) affect our own lives. As Haass explains on StudioTulsa, he wrote this book in order to help readers of all backgrounds make sense of this complicated, interconnected, crisis-laden world.

Our guest is Ariana Neumann, a journalist born and raised in Venezuela who's now based in London. She joins us to discuss her first book, just out, which is a work of memoir/history that digs deeply into the secrets of her own father's past. That is, the years he spent hiding from the Nazis in Berlin, the murder of many of his family members in the Holocaust, and the brave choice he finally made to create a new life for himself. As noted in a starred reviw of this work in Booklist: "Profound, gripping, and gut-wrenching....

On this edition of ST, we speak with the scholar who will deliver the free-to-the-public 2020 Cadenhead-Settle Memorial Lecture here at TU tonight (Tuesday the 3rd). Our guest is is Dr. Christy L. Pichichero, whose work focuses on the racial (geo)politics of the early modern era in France. Her talk is titled "Black | Power: Race, Empire, & Privilege in Enlightenment France." Dr.

Our guest on ST is Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner, one of America's leading experts on women's history, who is on the faculty at Syracuse University (among other schools) and has been teaching college-level women's studies courses for more than 45 years. She'll be speaking tomorrow, Friday the 21st, at 7pm in the Helmerich Center for American Research (on the campus of Gilcrease Museum). Dr. Wagner's talk, titled "Forgotten Champions of Women's Liberty," is free and open to the public. More info is posted here.

Our guest is Phil Keith, who is the co-author of a remarkable new biography titled "All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard -- Boxer, Pilot, Soldier, Spy." As was noted of this compelling work in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "This dazzling biography, drawing on the subject's unpublished memoir, explores the incredible life and times of the first African-American fighter pilot: Eugene 'Gene' Bullard. At 12, he ran away from Columbus, Ga., to escape the vicious racism of the early-20th-century South for France, the country revered by his formerly enslaved father.

Our guest is Dr. Matthew Restall, a Professor of Latin American History and Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. He tells us about his 2018 book, "When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story Behind the Meeting that Changed History." As was noted in the pages of The New Yorker: "Restall skillfully describes a subtler story of relationships both loving and coercive." And further, from The Wall Street Journal: "Restall has a well-earned reputation as a myth-buster in the history of the New World....

The acclaimed journalist and bestselling author Daniel Okrent is our guest; he tells us about his new book, "The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America." This book looks back to the 1920s is reveal a dark and forgotten chapter of American history -- a troubling era with serious implications for the present day.

The 22nd Annual Yom HaShoah, which is a yearly Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration, will happen in Tulsa on Monday the 6th at Temple Israel (located at 2004 E. 22nd Place). The event begins at 7pm and is free to the public. This year's gathering, co-presented by the Tulsa Council for Holocaust Education and the Tulsa City-County Library, is titled "Survival in the Shadows: Hidden Children of the Holocaust." Our guest on ST is the keynote speaker for this gathering: Abraham H.

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