Modern History

Our guest is Kyle Harper, a professor of classics and letters at the University of Oklahoma, whose books include "The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire" and "From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity." He joins us to discuss his hefty and fascinating new book, "Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History." It offers a meticulously detailed "germ's-eye view" of human life on this planet -- from the origins of disease among our earliest hunter-gatherers to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Police officers in the U.S. are nine times more likely to kill African-American men than they are any other group of citizens. A tragic statistic, to be sure, but also -- given so many recent events -- a statistic that many won't find very surprising. How police forces across the nation relate to matters of racism, civil rights, and race relations are now coming under close scrutiny. But what about the role of the courts in this issue?

Our guest on this edition of ST Medical Monday is the progressive radio host, multimedia personality, and bestselling author Thom Hartmann. He tells us about his newest book, "The Hidden History of American Healthcare: Why Sickness Bankrupts You and Makes Others Insanely Rich." It's an engaging and highly readable narrative looking at how and why efforts to enact truly affordable universal healthcare in the U.S. have been repeatedly thwarted...and what might be done in order to finally realize this.

Our guest is Adam Tooze, a professor of history at Columbia University and the author of "Crashed," which was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and one of The Economist's Books of the Year. His timely new book, which he tells us about, mixes finance, politics, business, economics, medicine, and recent world history in order to trace what went wrong -- and why -- during the turning-point year that was 2020. This new book is "Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World's Economy." As was noted by Reuters: "Tooze makes a strong case for looking back and beginning to draw some conclusions....

(Note: This interview originally aired back in June.) Our guest is the novelist Jonathan Lee, whose latest 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 into the life and times of -- and the mysterious murder of -- a man named Andrew Haswell Green.

(Note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) 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 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 by The Washington Post: "Powerful....

Why do human beings sweat? And what other animals on this planet sweat, and why do they do it? Are there health benefits to sweating? Our guest is Sarah Everts, a science writer who has written for Scientific American, Smithsonian, New Scientist, and other publications, and who teaches journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

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.

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