Modern History

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Erik Larson, the bestselling nonfiction writer whose page-turning historical narratives include "The Devil in the White City," "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin," and (most recently) "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania." This last named book -- exploring the events before, during, and after the 1915 sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania -- is the main thrust of our conversation, although Larson also speaks about how he locates, happens upon, researches, and writes his remarkable stories.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the popular historian whom H.W. Brands has called "a master of the historical moment" -- Jay Winik is our guest; he's the author of the bestselling "April 1865," among other books. Winik talks with us about his newest volume, which is just out: "1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History." As was noted of this work in a starred review in Kirkus: "An accomplished popular historian unpacks the last full year of World War II and the excruciatingly difficult decisions facing Franklin Roosevelt....

On this edition of ST, an interesting, big-ideas-driven conversation with Dr. Jim Norwine, the Regents Professor Emeritus of Geography at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Norwine is the editor of a textbook called "A World after Climate Change and Culture-Shift" from Springer Publishers. It's a collection of essays that's described like so at the Springer website: "An international team of environmental and social scientists explain two powerful current change-engines and how their effects, and our responses to them, will transform Earth and humankind into the 22nd-century....

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Kentucky-based writer and historian, Emily Bingham, who is the author of "Mordecai: An Early American Family" (2003) and co-editor of "The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal." Bingham tells us about her newest book, which is actually a biography of her own great-aunt: "Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham." As was noted of this volume in a starred review in Kirkus: "A colorful portrait of a daring woman....

One day in 1903, in the sandy, seaside Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed the direction of history. But it would take the world some time catch up with -- to both understand and appreciate -- what had happened that day. The age of flight had arrived, but its origin had been decidedly quiet, obscure, remote. And who exactly were Wilbur and Orville Wright, anyway? Our guest on ST is the distinguished American historian and biographer -- and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- David McCullough, who joins us to talk about his newest book.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that originally aired in June of last year. At that time, we had an interesting conversation with the British author and scholar Toby Wilkinson, a widely respected scholar of Egyptology.

It's been observed by many that disparity between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is now approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression. But how did we get here? On this edition of ST, a we offer a chat with Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

On this installment of ST, an interesting conversation with Anne Sarah Rubin, an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who is also the author of "Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and American Memory." This book explores the stories as well as the myths about Sherman's infamous March to the Sea.

Our guest is the film historian and journalist Mark Harris, who's written for Entertainment Weekly, Grantland, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.

(Note: This interview originally aired in late October.) We speak with author and journalist Kirstin Downey, whose new book is "Isabella: The Warrior Queen." It's an engrossing biography of Isabella of Castile, the powerful Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history.

On today's ST, we are pleased to once again welcome Catherine Whitney, the Chief Curator and Curator of American Art at the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa, who tells us about a fantastic new show on view at that museum called "New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection." This show will run through May 3rd; more info can be accessed at the museum's website.

On this installment of ST, a fascinating chat about historic preservation -- how it works, how it's changed over the years, and how we learn so much from it -- with Fenella France, who's the Chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division at the Library of Congress. She's also worked for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Park Service, and from 2001 to 2007, she was the project and scientific manager for Art Preservation Services in New York.

Howdy, folks, and Happy New Year from StudioTulsa. We've been airing The Best of ST for 2014 on our program lately, and hopefully you've heard and enjoyed some or all of these encore presentations.

Here's a guide to what we've been listening back to over the past week; please note that each listing below has a link whereby you can access a free, on-demand "stream" of the show in question. And thanks, as ever, for listening to ST.

Alfred Hitchcock's longtime collaborator, Alexander Graham Bell's assistant, Vladimir Nabokov's wife, Muhammad Ali's first coach, Ernest Shackleton's right-hand man, John Wayne's stunt man, and the little-known sixth member of The Rolling Stones -- on this installment of ST, we're talking about some of the great "sidekicks" of modern history. Our guest is Julia Rothman, one of the editors of a new book called "The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History," which is just out from Chronicle Books.

(Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) The Internet is, of course, bringing massive changes to our lives -- and bringing them rapidly -- but how often do we really consider what these changes mean, or how they will affect us? In the not-too-distant future, for example, no one will remember what life was actually like before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean? What lessons can we draw from it?

Our guest is Luke A. Nichter, an Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University: Central Texas, and a noted expert on the Nixon tapes. Tomorrow night, Thursday the 4th at 7pm, TU's Oklahoma Center for the Humanities and Book Smart Tulsa will co-present a free-to-the-public lecture by Professor Nichter on "The Nixon Tapes: 40 Years Later." This event will happen in Kendall Hall on the TU campus -- not in TU's Tyrrell Hall, as was originally announced.

On this Veterans Day edition of StudioTulsa, we're talking about a certain classic novel that came out of World War I, "The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse" by the Spanish author Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and about a silent-film epic, from 1921, which had the same title, and which was based on this novel -- and which also introduced audiences around the globe to an unknown actor named Rudolph Valentino.

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to welcome the widely popular and bestselling nonfiction author Bill Bryson. Appreciated for his likable tone, his sly humor, his love of travel, and his gifts as both a storyteller and a history buff, Bryson is the author of "A Walk in the Woods," "Notes from a Small Island," "A Short History of Nearly Everything," "Made in America," and so forth.

On this edition of ST, we speak with author and journalist Kirstin Downey, whose new book, just out from Doubleday, is "Isabella: The Warrior Queen." It's an engrossing biography of Isabella of Castile, the powerful Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history.

The Internet is changing life itself, and it's doing so rather quickly, and we all know this. But how is it changing...us? We speak with Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and the Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford.

On this presentation of ST, we welcome Karen Abbott, the bestselling author of "Sin in the Second City" and other books, whom USA Today has called a "pioneer of sizzle history." Abbott joins us by phone to talk about her newest volume, which tells the strange-but-true stories of four different women who risked everything to become spies, combatants, or informants during the Civil War. The book is "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War," and it's just out from Harper.

On this installment of ST, we speak with the award-winning Canadian actor, playwright, and humorist Rick Miller, who will present his one-man show, "Boom," on Saturday the 20th at 7:30pm at the Tulsa PAC's Williams Theatre. As Miller tells us by phone, his 100-minute production offers a sweeping, fascinating, and maybe even educational exploration of the Baby Boomer generation -- from Che Guevara to Janis Joplin, from Buddy Holly to Nikita Khrushchev, and from Walter Cronkite to Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this edition of our program, we're pleased to speak with the distinguished orchestra conductor, scholar, and educator Leon Botstein, who has been the president of Bard College since 1975. Botstein will deliver the annual Frank Memorial Lecture in Judaism and Contemporary Issues here in Tulsa on Sunday the 7th at 7:30pm.

The Univeristy of Tulsa's free-to-the-public Presidential Lecture Series, sponsored by the Darcy O'Brien Endowed Chair, will soon get underway here on the TU campus. The first lecture in this annual series, scheduled for tomorrow night (Wednesday the 3rd) at 7:30pm at the Donald W. Reynolds Center, will feature the acclaimed author and journalist Charles C. Mann, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, The Atlantic Monthly, and elsewhere.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that we did in April with the novelist and essayist Ayelet Waldman (whose books include "Red Hook Road," "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits," "Daughter's Keeper," and "Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes"). Waldman spoke with us about her then-new novel, "Love and Treasure," which has been thus summarized in Booklist: "Classics scholar Jack Wiseman, in the last throes of pancreatic cancer, entrusts an enamel locket to his granddaughter, imploring her to find the rightful owner. It's the only thing he's ever asked of her.

The "Rediscover Gilcrease" weekend -- a two-day, free-to-the-public gala happening at the museum on September 6th and 7th -- will feature unique attractions, special activities, and lots of family-friendly entertainment. Among the highlights, without question, will be the official opening of the striking new Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease. Several different lectures and presentations will be presented at the Helmerich Center, and one of them will be given by our guest today. Our guest is Brian Hosmer, the H.G.

Photo by Matt Herron

Fifty years ago, in 1964 -- during what would come to be called Freedom Summer in the American South -- a young photographer named Matt Herron, who'd recently relocated to Mississippi from the North (with his wife and kids) in order to work on civil rights issues while also shooting photo-stories for Life, Look, and The Saturday Evening Post, put together a group of talented photographers that was known as the Southern Documentary Project.

On this edition of ST, we're discussing a special exhibit that's set to open at the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa over the weekend. Indeed, it's Philbrook's first-ever exhibition of works by Claude Monet (1840-1926), the widely admired and highly influential Fresh Impressionist. "Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River" opens on Sunday the 29th and runs through September 21, 2014.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) On this edition of ST, we speak with Craig Nelson --- who's written for Vanity Fair, Salon, Popular Science, and other periodicals, and who's the bestselling author of "Rocket Men" as well as a biography of Thomas Paine --- about his newest book, which is an engrossing cultural history of the Atomic Age. "The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era" is, as was noted by Kirkus Reviews, "no impersonal 'march of science' story.

On this edition of ST, an interesting conversation with the British author and scholar Toby Wilkinson, who earned a degree in Egyptology from Downing College, Cambridge, and has been awarded several prestigious awards in his academic field.

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