New Books in History podcast

New Books in History

Marshall Poe

Interviews with Historians about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member!

500 Episódios

  • New Books in History podcast

    Robert McCrum, "Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption" (Simon and Schuster, 2021)


    When inspiration struck Robert McCrum to write a book about the Bard, it came while watching one of the playwright’s plays in Central Park, New York. Here, McCrum realized that we, today, are undoubtedly living in Shakespearean times. Joe Krulder, a British Historian, interviews Robert about his latest book, Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption (Pegasus Books, 2021) Current events such as the Covid-19 Pandemic, the election and then four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, and this twenty-first-century obsession with conspiracy theories, mirror London’s many plagues from 1592 to 1603, Shakespeare’s Caesar and Richard III, and of course our post-modern social media outlets are simply riddled with conspiracies. Shakespearean, indeed. What Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption accomplishes is to place the reader in William Shakespeare’s London. There is danger at Bishops Gate, the neighborhood the Bard chose to reside in; danger appeared both from below and above. Sword fights, punch ups, and stabbings demarcate a rough “from below” existence while political intrigues from the execution of the Earl of Essex to the Gun Powder Plot of 1605 imperilled all of London’s theatre productions if not William Shakespeare himself. Robert McCrum is the author of dozens of works, fiction as well as non-fiction, plus he’s an Emmy Award-winning documentarian. A long-time editor for Faber and Faber and The Observer, McCrum career continues on despite a stroke. His recovery gave him time to read and Shakespeare, once again, filled his gaze. Joe Krulder is the author of The Execution of Admiral John Byng as a Microhistory of Eighteenth-Century Britain (Routledge 2021) teaching college History in Northern California. Joe earned his doctorate at the University of Bristol in West England. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Jay Rubenstein, “Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade” (Open Agenda, 2021)


    Apocalypse Then: The First Crusade is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Jay Rubenstein, Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Premodern World at the University of Southern California, and provides us with fascinating insights into medieval society. How did the First Crusade happen? What could have suddenly caused tens of thousands of knights, commoners and even nuns at the end of the 11th century to leave their normal lives behind and trek thousands of miles across hostile territory in an unprecedented vicious and bloody quest to wrest Jerusalem from its occupying powers? Jay Rubenstein, historian of the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual worlds of Europe in the Middle Ages, carefully explores those questions based on his extensive research while discussing the Apocalypse: the crusaders’ sincere belief that the end of the world was approaching and their opportunity to participate in the last stage of the divine plan. Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow, Ideas on Film and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Eileen Hunt Botting, "Portraits of Wollstonecraft" (Bloomsbury, 2021)


    Eileen Hunt Botting is a Professor political science at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Botting is a widely published and cited scholar on the thought of Mary Wollstonecraft, the eighteenth-century author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. As editor of a two-volume collection, Portraits of Wollstonecraft (Bloomsbury Academic,2021), she offers primary sources of criticism, literature and representation in portraiture, from the early international reception to Wollstonecraft’s present global influence. Through well curated selections, we see Wollstonecraft in new light. From the iconic portrait painted by John Opie in 1797, to Sarah A. Underwood’s essay Heroines of Free Thought in 1876, to references by modern feminists including Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and the artist Judy Chicago, the reader discovers the many implications of Wollstonecraft’s ideas. This two-volume collection is sure to be of interest to anyone curious about Wollstonecraft’s contribution to political philosophy, literature, and feminist thought. Lilian Calles Barger is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her most recent book is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018). Her current writing project is on the intellectual history of women and the origins of feminism seen through the emblematic life and work of Simone de Beauvoir. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Viviana B. MacManus, "Disruptive Archives: Feminist Memories of Resistance in Latin America's Dirty Wars" (U Illinois Press, 2020)


    Today I talked to Viviana MacManus, author of Disruptive Archives: Feminist Memories of Resistance in Latin America’s Dirty Wars published by the University of Illinois Press in 2020. It has just received Honorable Mention for the 2021 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize. The National Women's Studies Association awards the prize for groundbreaking scholarship in women's studies that makes significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship. Viviana McManus is at the department of Spanish and French Studies, Occidental College in Los Angeles. Her current research focuses “on feminist uses of horror in contending with gender state and racialized violence in Latin American film and literature”. In Disruptive Archives, Macmanus throws light on the many women activists who survived the years of repression in Argentina and Mexico and who have been relegated to the category of the unseen or are portrayed as underlings to the men who they fought alongside with. She also discusses how human rights texts and masculinist Left accounts of dictatorships have made women’s struggles invisible as they have remained silent and consequently helped post dictatorship regimes who have a vested interest in brushing uncomfortable truths under the carpet. Minni Sawhney is a professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Delhi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    John Roy Price, "The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy" (UP of Kansas, 2021)


    History is told, it is said, by the victors. And so it is in regard to Richard Nixon. We all know how his presidency ended. What too few of us recall or bother to learn is how it started. In his new The Last Liberal Republican: An Insider's Perspective on Nixon's Surprising Social Policy (UP of Kansas, 2021), John Roy Price details how in Nixon's first few years in office, the President ardently tried to lead from the middle to eradicate the widespread poverty that had so characterized his own upbringing. It is a view of Nixon and a big-tent, policy-driven Republican Party that few of us would recognize today. Part policy history, part political history, part memoir, John Roy Price's account of his time in the White House from 1969 to 1971 is an important corrective to simplistic views of Richard Nixon and the current Republican Party. Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Hermes in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at or via Twitter @HistoryInvestor. His History and Investing blog and Keep Calm & Carry On Investing podcast are at https://strategicdividendinves... Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Kelefa Sanneh, "Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres" (Penguin, 2021)


    Kelefa Sanneh was born in England, and lived in Ghana and Scotland before moving with his parents to the United States in the early 1980s. He was a pop music critic at the New York Times from 2000-2008, and has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since then. His first book, just released on Penguin, is called Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. The book refracts the entire history of popular music over the past fifty years through the big genres that have defined and dominated it—rock, R&B, country, punk, hip-hop, dance music, and pop—as an art form (actually, a bunch of art forms), as a cultural and economic force, and as a tool that we use to build our identities. Sanneh shows how these genres have been defined by the tension between mainstream and outsider, between authenticity and phoniness, between good and bad, right and wrong. Throughout, race is a powerful touchstone: just as there have always been Black audiences and white audiences, with more or less overlap depending on the moment, there has been Black music and white music, constantly mixing and separating. Sanneh debunks cherished myths, reappraises beloved heroes, and upends familiar ideas of musical greatness, arguing that sometimes, the best popular music isn’t transcendent. Songs express our grudges as well as our hopes, and they are motivated by greed as well as idealism; music is a powerful tool for human connection, but also for human antagonism. This is a book about the music everyone loves, the music everyone hates, and the decades-long argument over which is which. Franz Nicolay is a musician and writer living in New York's Hudson Valley. His first book, The Humorless Ladies of Border Control: Touring the Punk Underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar, was named a "Season's Best Travel Book" by The New York Times. Buzzfeed called his second book, Someone Should Pay for Your Pain, "a knockout fiction debut." He teaches at Bard College. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Esther De Dauw, "Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gender Representation in American Superhero Comic" (Rutgers UP, 2021)


    Superman, Batman, Captain America, and Iron Man are names that are often connected to the expansive superhero genre, including the multi-billion-dollar film and television franchises. But these characters are older and have been woven into American popular culture since their inception in the early days of comic books. The history of these comic book heroes are histories that include bulging muscles, flashy fight scenes, four-color panels, and heroic rescues of damsels in distress. Esther De Dauw’s new book, Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gender Representation in American Superhero Comic (Rutgers UP, 2021),analyzes these characters with a critical lens to explore what exactly these figures teach the readers and the public about identity, embodiment, and sexuality. De Dauw, a comics scholar, focuses her research on the intersectionality of race and gender in comic books. Hot Pants and Spandex Suits takes the audience through the 80-year evolution of comic books to discuss the changes in identity and culture, and explore what these heroes say about and to the American people. As an expert in Comic Studies and Cultural Studies, De Dauw uses theories of structural power relations to explain the disenfranchisement of women, LGBTQIA+, and the Black community in comics. As she notes, superheroes are often metaphors for the concerns of the dominant culture, and are informed by the dominant gender ideology and the American cultural landscape. Hot Pants and Spandex Suits unpacks superhero actions to examine who these heroes are serving, how, and what this has to say about American culture and identity. These questions frame the discussion throughout the book as De Dauw traces the changing perceptions of identity, cultural, and historical shifts through comic books and their many different heroes. A significant avenue of analysis focuses on the fragility of white masculinity, and how the superheroes essentially became an antidote to the cultural sense that white men were “losing” in American society. With a fascinating tour of the history of comic books, De Dauw welcomes both the academic community and comic-book lovers to venture through this analysis to better understand the role of superheroes within our culture and our politics. Shaina Boldt assisted with this podcast. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Sam Wineburg, "Why Learn History (When It's Already on Your Phone)" (U Chicago Press, 2018)


    We are surrounded by more readily available information than ever before. And a huge percentage of it is inaccurate. Some of the bad info is well-meaning but ignorant. Some of it is deliberately deceptive. All of it is pernicious. With the internet always at our fingertips, what’s a teacher of history to do? In Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone) (U Chicago Press, 2018), Sam Wineburg offers answers, beginning with this: We definitely can’t stick to the same old read-the-chapter-answer-the-questions-at-the-back snoozefest we’ve subjected students to for decades! If we want to educate citizens who can sift through the mass of information around them and separate fact from fake, we must explicitly work to give them the necessary critical thinking tools. Historical thinking has nothing to do with test prep–style ability to memorize facts. Instead, it’s an orientation to the world that we can cultivate, one that encourages reasoned skepticism, discourages haste, and counters our tendency to confirm our biases. Wineburg draws on surprising discoveries from an array of research and experiments to paint a picture of a dangerously mine-filled landscape, but one that, with care, attention, and awareness, we can all learn to navigate. It’s easy to look around at the public consequences of historical ignorance and despair. Wineburg is here to tell us it doesn’t have to be that way. The future of the past may rest on our screens. But its fate rests in our hands. Renee Garfinkel, Ph.D. is a psychologist, writer, Middle East television commentator and host of The New Books Network’s Van Leer Jerusalem Series on Ideas. Write her at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Alice L Baumgartner, "South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War" (Basic Books, 2020)


    For some enslaved Americans, the path to freedom led not north, but south, argues Dr. Alice Baumgardner, an assistant professor of history at the University of Southern California. In South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War (Basic Books, 2020), Baumgartner reveals an untold story of enslaved African Americans finding redemption from slavery in Mexico, which had abolished slavery in many of its territories decades before the American Civil War. Indeed, it was concern by Texas slaveholders that their human property may have been threatened that led them to revolt against Mexico and eventually join the United States and, in time, the Confederate States of America. For those who escaped, Mexico could be far from an anti-slavery paradise, but Mexican officials were loathe to return runaway former slaves back to the United States, a fact which was one of the many reasons why the United States went to war with Mexico in the 1840s. South to Freedom is a fresh look at America's slavery crisis and Civil War, and one which places enslaved people themselves and their own quest for freedom at the heart of the story. Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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    Leonidas Mylonakis, "Piracy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Maritime Marauders in the Greek and Ottoman Aegean" (Bloomsbury, 2021)


    Dr. Leonidas Mylonakis (PhD in History from the University of California, San Diego) is the author of Piracy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Maritime Marauders in the Greek and Ottoman Aegean (Bloomsbury, 2021). This captivating book is based on rich sets of Ottoman, Greek, and other archival sources. Dr. Mylonakis shows that far from ending with the introduction of European powers to the region around the year 1830, Aegean piracy continued unabated into the twentieth century. The book considers how changes in global economic patterns, imperial power struggles, ecological phenomena, shifting maritime trade routes, revisions in international maritime law can explain the fluctuations in violence at sea. Finally, Dr. Mylonakis concludes that pirates' place in state-building processes changed only around 1900, as modern states reevaluated the role of irregular warfare. Vladislav Lilic is a doctoral candidate in Modern European History at Vanderbilt University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

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