665 episodes

Interviews with Biographers about their New Books
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    • Society & Culture
    • 4.0 • 54 Ratings

Interviews with Biographers about their New Books
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    Philip Mansel, "King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV" (U of Chicago Press, 2019).

    Philip Mansel, "King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV" (U of Chicago Press, 2019).

    Philip Mansel, a trustee of the Society for Court Studies and President of the Research Center of the Chateau de Versailles, has written a one-volume biography of the life and times of Louis XIV, King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV (The University of Chicago Press, 2019). 
    One of the longest reigning monarchs in Europe’s history, from 1643 to 1715, Louis XIV left a mark upon France for good and ill. He expanded the country’s borders but left it in horrible financial shape. He was a valuable patron of the arts and architecture, but wreaked havoc on some of his nation’s citizens, especially French Protestants. 
    He reaped the glory associated with imperial policy and dynastic intermarriages throughout Europe, but brought destruction to the lives, fortunes, and cities of his enemies. Mansel brings the court of Louis XIV alive, paying special attention to the daily personal life of the king and his associates. He reviews France’s effects on the politics of Europe and provides a detailed history of the key project of Louis’ life: the palace of Versailles.
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    • 47 min
    Gary Scott Smith, "Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill" (Eerdmans, 2021)

    Gary Scott Smith, "Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill" (Eerdmans, 2021)

    Though Churchill harbored intellectual doubts about Christianity throughout his life, he nevertheless valued it greatly and drew on its resources, especially in the crucible of war. In Duty and Destiny: The Life and Faith of Winston Churchill (Eerdmans, 2021), Smith unpacks Churchill’s paradoxical religious views and carefully analyzes the complexities of his legacy. This thorough examination of Churchill’s religious life provides a new narrative structure to make sense of one of the most important figures of the twentieth century.
    Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.
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    • 38 min
    Robert Elder, "Calhoun: American Heretic" (Basic Books, 2021)

    Robert Elder, "Calhoun: American Heretic" (Basic Books, 2021)

    In Calhoun: American Heretic (Basic Books, 2021), historian Robert Elder documents the life and thought of one of America's most controversial statesman, John C. Calhoun. 
    A congressman, a vice president, and a senator, Calhoun represented Jeffersonian republicanism during a time of national expansion and imperialism. He became the nation's most ardent defender of slavery and one of its most complex thinkers on the issue of state sovereignty. Elder's book reconsiders the legacy of this consequential political figure and what it means for America's past and present.
    Lane Davis is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University where he studies American religious history. Find him on Twitter @TheeLaneDavis
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    • 51 min
    Stephanie Russo, "The Afterlife of Anne Boleyn: Representations of Anne Boleyn in Fiction and on the Screen" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

    Stephanie Russo, "The Afterlife of Anne Boleyn: Representations of Anne Boleyn in Fiction and on the Screen" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

    In the centuries since her execution in 1536, Anne Boleyn’s presence in Western culture has grown to extraordinary proportions. In The Afterlife of Anne Boleyn: Representations of Anne Boleyn in Fiction and on the Screen (Palgrave Macmillan), Stephanie Russo describes the various ways in which her life has been interpreted and how these interpretations reflect the interests and developments of their respective eras. This process began with her contemporaries, who began memorializing her even before her death. That she was the subject of so much of their attention reflected in no small measure her prominent role in England’s adoption of Protestantism, which exerted a predominant influence in how she was interpreted for over a century and a half. As the controversies in England over religion ebbed in the 18th century the focus became more exclusively upon Anne as a person, as her activities and her relationships proved an enduring source of material for both novelists and playwrights. Russo shows how this interest as only grown over time, with Anne Boleyn’s life today serving as subject matter for everything from postfeminist novels to salacious cable television series – all of which help perpetuate our interest about this enigmatic and elusive figure.
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    • 50 min
    John D. Wilsey, "God's Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles" (Eardmans, 2021)

    John D. Wilsey, "God's Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles" (Eardmans, 2021)

    When John Foster Dulles died in 1959, he was given the largest American state funeral since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s in 1945. President Eisenhower called Dulles—his longtime secretary of state—“one of the truly great men of our time,” and a few years later the new commercial airport outside Washington, DC, was christened the Dulles International Airport in his honor. His star has fallen significantly since that time, but his influence remains indelible—most especially regarding his role in bringing the worldview of American exceptionalism to the forefront of US foreign policy during the Cold War era, a worldview that has long outlived him. 
    God's Cold Warrior: The Life and Faith of John Foster Dulles (Eardmans, 2021) recounts how Dulles’s faith commitments from his Presbyterian upbringing found fertile soil in the anti-communist crusades of the mid-twentieth century. After attending the Oxford Ecumenical Church Conference in 1937, he wrote about his realization that “the spirit of Christianity, of which I learned as a boy, was really that of which the world now stood in very great need, not merely to save souls, but to solve the practical problems of international affairs.” Dulles believed that America was chosen by God to defend the freedom of all those vulnerable to the godless tyranny of communism, and he carried out this religious vision in every aspect of his diplomatic and political work. He was conspicuous among those US officials in the twentieth century that prominently combined their religious convictions and public service, making his life and faith key to understanding the interconnectedness of God and country in US foreign affairs from World War I to Vietnam.
    Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.
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    • 1 hr 2 min
    G. Girard and T. Lockley, "African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan" (Hanover Square Press, 2021)

    G. Girard and T. Lockley, "African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan" (Hanover Square Press, 2021)

    The remarkable life of history's first foreign-born samurai and his astonishing journey from Northern Africa to the heights of Japanese society. When Yasuke arrived in Japan in the late 1500s, he had already traveled much of the known world. Kidnapped as a child, and trained into a boy soldier in India, he had ended up an indentured servant and bodyguard to the head of the Jesuits in Asia, with whom he visited India, China and the budding Catholic missions in Japan. From the volatile port city of Nagasaki to travel on pirate-infested waters, he lived it all and learned more every day. His arrival in Kyoto, however, literally caused a riot. Most Japanese people had never seen an African man before, and many of them viewed him as the embodiment of the black-skinned (in local traditions) Buddha or a local war god or demon. Among those who were drawn to his presence were Lord Nobunaga, head of the most powerful clan in Japan, who made Yasuke a samurai in his court. Soon, he was learning the traditions of Japan's martial arts, fighting in battles and ascending to the upper echelons of Japanese society. In the four hundred years since, Yasuke has been known in Japan largely as a legendary, perhaps mythical, figure. Now, combining all the primary sources for the first time, African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan (Hanover Square Press, 2021) presents the never-before-told biography of this unique figure of the sixteenth century, one whose travels between countries, cultures and classes offers a new perspective on race in world history and a vivid portrait of life, faith and war in medieval Japan.
    Jingyi Li is a PhD Candidate in Japanese History at the University of Arizona. She researches about early modern Japan, literati, and commercial publishing.
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    • 50 min

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54 Ratings

54 Ratings

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