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Axelbank Reports History and Today

History Podcasts

"Axelbank Reports History and Today: Conversations with America’s top non-fiction authors and why their books matter right now" approaches our past and present in a way that makes anyone want to listen. National-award winning TV news reporter Evan Axelbank interviews writers of history and current events to explore how America works and how it has been shaped by both the powerful and the powerless. In conversational and engaging fashion, listeners learn about the most important events, themes and figures in American history. This podcast shows why we have no choice but to understand where we have been, to know where we are going.

Location:

United States

Description:

"Axelbank Reports History and Today: Conversations with America’s top non-fiction authors and why their books matter right now" approaches our past and present in a way that makes anyone want to listen. National-award winning TV news reporter Evan Axelbank interviews writers of history and current events to explore how America works and how it has been shaped by both the powerful and the powerless. In conversational and engaging fashion, listeners learn about the most important events, themes and figures in American history. This podcast shows why we have no choice but to understand where we have been, to know where we are going.

Language:

English


Episodes
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#154: Adam Higginbotham - "Challenger: A True Story of Heroism and Disaster on the Edge of Space"

5/21/2024
On this episode, Adam Higginbotham brings us back to the moment that many say they will never forget, but also to a moment that is filled with misconception and myth. When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986, seven astronauts lost their lives and NASA was confronted with its biggest failure. Higginbotham shows us how the space program chose to remember those lost, rebuild faith in its mission, and how NASA persisted as a larger reflection of American culture. Higginbotham also explains how our memories of Challenger aren't necessarily what happened. His book is the first in nearly forty years that attempts to present an accurate portrayal of what happened and the impact it has had. Adam Higginbotham's website can be found at https://www.adamhigginbotham.com/ He is on social media at https://twitter.com/HigginbothamA Information on his book from Simon & Schuster can be found at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Midnight-in-Chernobyl/Adam-Higginbotham/9781501134630 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:50:53

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#153: Edward O'Keefe - "The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt"

5/7/2024
Teddy Roosevelt is thought of as the quintessentially masculine American president. He is known for going to war, for fighting buffalo with his bare hands, and sailing down the River of Doubt. But as Edward O'Keefe, the CEO of the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library explains, TR is more a product of the women in his life than the men. His mother, sisters and wives played critical roles in his formative years, his early political career and his presidency. From the mother who soothed his nearly-deadly sicknesses, to the sisters who became co-strategists and governors, to the wives who influenced his progressive ideas and the future of First Ladies, TR would have been a different person had the women in his life not been strong, brilliant people. We also chatted about the future of the TR presidential library, and how it will shape not only TR's legacy, but our own understanding of America. Edward O'Keefe is on social media at https://twitter.com/edwardokeefe?lang=en Information on Edward O'Keefe's book from Simon & Schuster is available at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Loves-of-Theodore-Roosevelt/Edward-F-OKeefe/9781982145682 Information on the TR presidential library can be found at https://www.trlibrary.com/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:49:09

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#152: Paul Sparrow - "Awakening the Spirit of America: FDR's War of Words with Charles Lindbergh - And the Battle to Save Democracy"

4/23/2024
Paul Sparrow argues that Franklin Roosevelt is the quintessential American president, not just of the 20th Century, but in all of American history. FDR's ability to rally the nation from the Great Depression, and then carry it into a devastating but essential World War showed not just his talent, but his understanding of the stakes the country faced. Sparrow argues that FDR is democracy's greatest champion, and that he became that way by understanding the key to rallying the American people was by finding the right words to urge the country to embrace the cause of freedom around the world. In this episode, Sparrow shows how FDR took on the isolationist Charles Lindbergh to urge America to fight its most important battle since the Civil War. For information on Paul's book, head to https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Awakening-the-Spirit-of-America/Paul-M-Sparrow/9781639366675 For Paul's social media feed, head to https://twitter.com/PaulMSparrow1 His website is available at https://paulsparrow-fdr.com/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:55:02

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#151: Gary Cross - "Free Time: The History of an Elusive Ideal"

4/9/2024
What does it mean to have "free time" and is it ever enough? In "Free Time: The History of an Elusive Ideal," Dr. Gary Cross explains how free time is both precious and deceptive. Why are people on vacation already searching the web for their next one? What counts as free time? Does technology help or hurt our experience with time spent away from work? Dr. Cross joins us to answer these questions, and to explain how the concept of "free time" began. We all want free time, but does it help our physical and mental selves in the ways we assume? Information on Gary Cross' book can be found at https://nyupress.org/9781479813070/free-time/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:39:59

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#150: Susan Tate Ankeny - "American Flygirl: The True Story of Hazel Ying Lee"

3/26/2024
In "American Flygirl" Susan Tate Ankeny shows how a young girl with a fascination for flying became the first female Asian-American pilot to fly for the military. Hazel Ying Lee was born in Portland, but came of age at a time when the deck was stacked against people like her. Hazel never let discrimination or expectation shatter her dreams of flying for a living. She flew in China to defend her ancestral homeland from attack, then became a WASP for the US Airforce during World War II. Though Hazel died at a young age in an aviation accident, Ankeny argues that the lessons of her life for today's society must be understood. Susan Tate Ankeny's website can be found at https://susantateankeny.com/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:41:19

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#149: James Swanson - "The Deerfield Massacre: A Surprise Attack, a Forced March, and the Fight for Survival in Early America"

3/12/2024
Though few remember it, James Swanson argues the Deerfield Massacre of 1704 played a critical role in the shaping of early America. He explains how Native tribes and French soldiers brutalized a small outpost of colonists in western Massachusetts and set off a continental effort to find the missing victims and establish forces to protect the colonies. The tale of large-scale kidnappings, battles over who land belongs to and fear of attacks without warning have clear parallels to today. Swanson also explains what it is like to see artifacts from the attack that has been almost forgotten, until now. Information on "The Deerfield Massacre" can be found at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Deerfield-Massacre/James-L-Swanson/9781501108167 James Swanson is on social media at https://twitter.com/JamesLSwanson Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:50:51

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#148: Jason Lantzer - "Dwight Eisenhower and the Holocaust"

2/27/2024
Up until the very end of World War II, even Dwight Eisenhower did not grasp the extent of the devastation the Holocaust had inflicted to the Jewish people. It wasn’t until he was among the liberators at the Ohrdruf concentration camp where the Americans found thousands of dead bodies and starving Jews when Eisenhower finally had his full call to action. They weren’t just fighting fascism, they were fighting to make sure there would never be another Holocaust. Lantzer describes how Eisenhower used his political skills to make sure the message was heard around the world. Information on "Dwight Eisenhower and the Holocaust" can be found at https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783111327112/html?lang=en Jason Lantzer is on social media at https://twitter.com/HistProfDad Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:55:52

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#147: Harold Holzer - "Brought Forth on This Continent"

2/13/2024
Abraham Lincoln is often thought of as the president who kept the union together, or who contributed the legal basis for slaves to be freed in states in rebellion, but Harold Holzer, one of America's renowned Lincoln scholars, explains how Lincoln harnessed the power of immigrants to make both achievements possible. Holzer's new book, "Brought Forth on this Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration," traces Lincoln's life from midwestern storekeeper, to Whig Party stalwart, to President. His view of immigrants shifted from indifferent to embracing, as he realized the source of renewal and strength they provide to America. While Lincoln's views often centered around those of European descent, Lincoln pushed back against anti-immigrant forces in the US to spend national resources on attracting more immigrants and making it possible for them to thrive. He allowed for the full participation in both the political system and in the military force that would become the victorious side in the Civil War. Near the end of his life, he gave a landmark speech on immigration that could well be applied to today's debate over how to respond to immigrants who reach American soil. Harold Holzer's website can be found at http://www.haroldholzer.com/ He is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HaroldHolzer Information on his book, "Brought Forth on this Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration," can be found at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/558372/brought-forth-on-this-continent-by-harold-holzer/ Our previous episode with Harold Holzer and his book "Presidents vs. The Press" can be found at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/axelbank-reports-history-and-today/id1521053272?i=1000503758391 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:52:23

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#146: David Head & Timothy Hemmis - "A Republic of Scoundrels"

1/30/2024
The Founding Fathers are often thought of as the pathbreaking generation that fought with dignity, wrote with moral clarity, and bound the colonies together with one goal. Except, in their new edited collection, “A Republic of Scoundrels: The Schemers, Intriguers and Adventurers who Created a New American Nation,” historians David Head and Timothy Hemmis argue that's not what happened at all. They say that mixed in with those like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, are a batch of who are essentially anti-Founders, those who worked to stop the founding from succeeding at all. For every Founder who has gone down as a hero, there are several who are finally being given their due as American villains. Dr. David Head's website can be found at https://www.davidheadhistory.com/ Dr. Timothy Hemmis is on social media at https://twitter.com/hemmist Information on "A Republic of Scoundrels" can be found at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/A-Republic-of-Scoundrels/David-Head/9781639364077 Our previous episode with David Head on his book, "A Crisis of Peace" can be found at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/axelbank-reports-history-and-today/id1521053272?i=1000514069140 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:48:54

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#145: Martyn Whittock - "American Vikings: How the Norse Sailed into the Lands and Imaginations of America"

1/16/2024
From costumes to professional football to a brand of high end ovens, "Vikings" have become a part of American pop culture. In "American Vikings: How the Norse Sailed into the Lands and Imaginations of America," historian Martyn Whittock explains why actual vikings set sail, what they were after, and why the potential for myths to be handed down to future generations was so pervasive. He shows how sailors in the year 1000 left their homes to plunder and explore, all while shaping European and American history. He explains what he found about their earliest voyages to what would eventually be called North America. Since he has also studied Christianity extensively, Whittock also left us with a mission for how to approach the holiday season! Martyn Whittock's social media page can be found at https://twitter.com/MartynHistorian Information on "American Vikings" from Simon & Schuster can be found at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/American-Vikings/Martyn-Whittock/9781639365357 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:41:38

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#144: John Reeves - "Soldier of Destiny: Slavery, Secession, and the Redemption of Ulysses S. Grant"

1/2/2024
How did Ulysses S. Grant go from being surrounded by - and benefitting from - slaves to becoming one of the most instrumental American leaders responsible for its downfall? In "Soldier of Destiny," John Reeves shows how Grant's formative years with an anti-slavery father, the challenges of his alcoholism and his experience as a military leader during the Civil War led to his belief that emancipation was the only way to redeem America's founding promise. John Reeves' website can be found at https://john-reeves.com/author He is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reevesjw Information on "Soldider of Destiny" from Pegasus Books can be found at http://pegasusbooks.com/books/soldier-of-destiny-9781639365272-hardcover#:~:text=Soldier%20of%20Destiny%20tells%20the,father%20and%20his%20slaveholding%20wife. Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:44:38

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#143: Matthew Algeo - "When Harry Met Pablo"

12/19/2023
Aside from being famous and at the top of their crafts, Harry Truman and Pablo Picasso could hardly have been more different. Matthew Algeo explains how their one-off meeting was used by both men to further their goals in politics and art. In, "When Harry Met Pablo: Truman, Picasso and the Cold War Politics of Modern Art," Algeo explains how modern art became a leverage point in the fight against McCarthyism, and how art became a political battlefield, much as it is today. We also chatted about his life as a globetrotter, an author and his efforts to see the place where the historic - but seldomly reported on - meeting took place. Matthew Algeo's website can be found at https://www.malgeo.net/ Information on his book is available at https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/when-harry-met-pablo-products-9781641607872.php?page_id=30&cid=183995 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:51:17

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#142: Lauren Lassabe Shepherd - "Resistance from the Right: Conservatives and Campus Wars"

12/5/2023
For decades, conservative elected officials, activists and think tanks have argued that college campuses are hostile to them and their ideas. In Dr. Lauren Lassabe Shepherd's book, "Resistance from the Right: Conservatives and Campus Wars," we see how that movement was sprouted, what its arguments are and how successful their efforts have been to craft education policy to fit their own goals. She shows how William F. Buckley gave the movement intellectual juice while foot soldiers protested progressive efforts to teach the history of race, organize against military actions and promote liberal social causes. She also explains the roots of the university system in American life and how politics impact campus today. Information on her book from UNC Press can be found at https://uncpress.org/book/9781469674490/resistance-from-the-right/ Dr. Lassabe's website can be found at https://www.laurenlassabe.com/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:48:40

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#141: Doug Melville - "Invisible Generals: Rediscovering Family Legacy and a Quest to Honor America's First Black Generals"

11/14/2023
Doug Melville was thrilled to be invited to the screening of a movie about the Tuskeegee Airmen, a movie that he assumed would feature the patriarch of his family tree, Ben O. Davis Jr. He was proud of his family's service to the storied branch of the Air Force, a group of aviators who had fought for their country even though they were ordered to be segregated. Instead, the movie featured only composites of the characters, and failed to use the real names of the American heroes. Melville went on a decade-long journey to discover his family history and make sure that it would never again be forgotten to history. He shows how his family impacted decades of American policy and how they were deprived of being truly honored even when the most powerful people in the country insisted they were doing so. We also discussed Melville's efforts as the director of diversity for an international brand. Doug Melville's website can be found at https://dougmelville.com/ He is on social media at https://twitter.com/dougmelville Information on his book from Atria Publishing can be found at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Invisible-Generals/Doug-Melville/9781668005132 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:49:42

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#140: Drew McKevitt: "Gun Country"

11/7/2023
In 2021, there were 48,830 people in America who were killed by bullets fired from guns. Some of those deaths were purposeful, others accidental, and still others self-inflicted. The bullets were fired from a share of the 400 million guns owned by - or stolen from - Americans. In "Gun Country: Gun Capitalism, Culture and Control in Cold War America," Dr. Drew McKevitt argues that the choice to have that many guns is not so much determined by Constitution as it is the unavoidable consequence of politicians allowing a consumer culture, where guns are seen as a lifestyle product, to run relatively unfettered. Dr. McKevitt explores how capitalism following World War II allowed guns to be seen and sold as an accessory to everyday life, and how that culture brought deadly consequences to millions of people. Drew McKevitt is on the website formerly known as Twitter at https://x.com/drewmckevitt His website can be found at https://andrewcmckevitt.com/about/ Information on his book from The University of North Carolina Press can be found at https://uncpress.org/book/9781469677248/gun-country/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:54:38

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#139: Richard Aldous - "The Dillon Era"

10/10/2023
The story of the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson years is one of both incredible struggle and of triumph for the United States. Between 1952 and 1968, America saw pointed racism, political divisions grow, a president assassinated and a war start. But it also saw the end of official segregation, the proof that the world understood nuclear war was not an option, and an expansion of medical care and of fair housing. Dr. Richard Aldous argues that for twelve of those sixteen years, key presidential aide Douglas Dillon had such an impact, that it ought to be written about extensively in the history books. But he hasn’t been, at least until now. Listen as we discuss Dr. Aldous' book, "The Dillon Era." Information on Dr. Aldous' book from McGill-Queen's University Press can be found at https://www.mqup.ca/the-dillon-era-products-9780228018872.php Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:45:46

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#138: Douglas Brunt - "The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel"

10/3/2023
Diesel isn't just a type of fuel. It is the name of a man who was at the center of one of the biggest stories of intrigue in the early 1900s. Rudolf Diesel was a German entrepreneur who author Douglas Brunt says was the "Elon Musk" of his day. In 1913, Brunt's body was found floating in the English Channel. Did he die naturally, did he commit suicide, or was he murdered? Some suspected the latter, given he seemed to have several natural enemies who formed as he invented the most important fuel in world history. Though the initial investigation was botched, Doug has reconstructed what happened and offers an authoritative theory of how Rudolf Diesel lost his life. Diesel fuel is used worldwide to power all kinds of heavy machinery, and had the world listened to him, and developed and honed alternative fuels to gasoline, history would have gone much differently. Douglas Brunt's website can be found at https://douglasbrunt-author.com/ Information on his book from Atria Books can be found at https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Mysterious-Case-of-Rudolf-Diesel/Douglas-Brunt/9781982169909 Brunt's podcast, "Dedicated" can be found at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dedicated-with-doug-brunt/id1650390838 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:43:39

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#137: Scott Shane - "Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland"

9/19/2023
An early architect of what became the Underground Railroad was a former slave named Thomas Smallwood. Never heard of him? You're not alone. Former New York Times and Baltimore Sun correspondent and author Scott Shane wants to change that. His book, "Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland," describes how Smallwood used his bravery and sharp wit to confound slaveowners nationwide. He may have been forgotten to history because his newspaper dispatches were written under a pseudonym, but his story, Shane says, must be told in order for slavery's full impact to be truly understood. Smallwood had to give up his efforts after he wound up in serious danger, but not before he saved dozens, if not hundreds of people, from a lifetime in bondage. His website can be found at https://www.scottshane.org/ Scott Shane is on social media at https://twitter.com/scottshanenyt Information on his book can be found at https://celadonbooks.com/authors/scott-shane/ Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:01:01:21

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#136: J. Randy Taraborrelli - "Jackie: Public, Private, Secret"

9/12/2023
Jackie Kennedy's life has almost always been told through the lens of her husband and in-laws. But in, "Jackie: Public, Private, Secret," J. Randy Taraborrelli explains for the first time how her own family paved the way for her to break new ground as First Lady, craft her husband's legacy, enter publishing, and lead a life shrouded in as much notoriety as it had secrecy. He shows how she both preserved history and closely guarded her own, while living a complicated personal life. The author of five books on the Kennedys explains why it was time for Jackie to finally have her own story told that does justice to her public, private, and secret lives. J. Randy Taraborrelli's website can be found at https://jrandytaraborrelli.com/ He is on social media at https://twitter.com/JRTaraborrelli Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:47:08

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#135: Adam Lazarus - "The Wingmen: The Unlikely, Unusual, Unbreakable Friendship Between John Glenn and Ted Williams"

9/5/2023
As another baseball season winds down, check out this episode with historian Adam Lazarus, who shows us how Ted Williams was drafted into the military during the Korean War. The unexpected drafting of the baseball mega-star led to his friendship with John Glenn, who was looking for a partner with whom to take flight. Their friendship spanned many decades, and as Lazarus reveals, may have been one of the most amazing in American history. They had very different backgrounds, but as each became legends in their respective crafts, their friendship evolved in profound ways. Lazarus also explains how baseball is an essential part of American history. Adam Lazarus' website can be found at https://www.adamlazarusbooks.com He is on social media at https://twitter.com/lazarusa57 Support our show at https://patreon.com/axelbankhistory **A portion of every contribution is given to a charity for children's literacy** "Axelbank Reports History and Today" can be found on social media at https://twitter.com/axelbankhistory https://instagram.com/axelbankhistory https://facebook.com/axelbankhistory

Duration:00:55:41