285 episodes

PA Books features authors of books about Pennsylvania-related topics. These hour-long conversations allow authors to discuss both their subject matter and inspiration behind the books.

PA BOOKS on PCN PCN - Pennsylvania Cable Network

    • Arts
    • 4.5 • 54 Ratings

PA Books features authors of books about Pennsylvania-related topics. These hour-long conversations allow authors to discuss both their subject matter and inspiration behind the books.

    “Kaufmann’s” with Marylynne Pitz and Laura Malt Schneiderman

    “Kaufmann’s” with Marylynne Pitz and Laura Malt Schneiderman

    In 1868, Jacob Kaufmann, the nineteen-year-old son of a German farmer, stepped off a ship onto the shores of New York. His brother Isaac soon followed, and together they joined an immigrant community of German Jews selling sewing items to the coal miners and mill workers of western Pennsylvania. After opening merchant tailor shops in Pittsburgh’s North and South sides, the Kaufmann brothers caught the wave of a new type of merchandising—the department store—and launched what would become their retail dynasty with a downtown storefront at Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street. In just two decades, Jacob and his brothers had ascended Pittsburgh’s economic and social ladder, rising from hardscrabble salesmen into Gilded Age multimillionaires. Generous and powerful philanthropists, the Kaufmanns left an indelible mark on the city and western Pennsylvania. From Edgar and Liliane’s famous residence, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece called Fallingwater, to the Kaufmann clock, a historic landmark that inspired the expression “meet me under the clock,” to countless fond memories for residents and shoppers, the Kaufmann family made important contributions to art, architecture, and culture. Far less known are the personal tragedies and fateful ambitions that forever shaped this family, their business, and the place they called home. Kaufmann’s recounts the story of one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved department stores, pulling back the curtain to reveal the hardships, triumphs, and complicated legacy of the prominent family behind its success.

    Marylynne Pitz is an award-winning journalist covering art, architecture, books, and history. She was a member of the news team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Tree of Life shooting in 2018. She has won five Golden Quills, an Inland Press Association award for investigative reporting, and a Matrix Award. A native of Indianapolis, she has lived in Pittsburgh since 1980.

    Laura Malt Schneiderman is a journalist and web developer in Pittsburgh. She has won seven Golden Quills and was part of a team that won the Scripps Howard Edward J. Meeman Award in 2011. Originally from Saint Louis, she has worked in journalism in Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.

    • 56 min
    “Gettysburg’s Lost Love Story” with Jeffrey Harding

    “Gettysburg’s Lost Love Story” with Jeffrey Harding

    Union general John Reynolds was one of the most beloved and respected military leaders of the Civil War, yet beyond the battlefield, the captivating true story of his secret romance with Catherine "Kate" Mary Hewitt remains etched into his legacy. Clandestinely engaged before John marched off to war, the couple's love remained a secret. Kate made a poignant "last promise," a commitment to enter into a religious life if her beloved were to be killed. Tragically, Reynolds lost his life leading troops into action during the opening phases of the Battle of Gettysburg. Within days Kate was embraced by the Reynolds family and soon began to honor her promise of a religious life. Yet a few years later she seemed to disappear. Author Jeffrey J. Harding unveils new findings on Kate's life before and after John's death as he recounts Gettysburg's saga of star-crossed love.

    Jeffrey J. Harding currently works as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park, a freelance historian, a leadership consultant and a motivational speaker.

    • 56 min
    Founders Series "The Life, Experience, and Gospel Labours of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen" with Beverly Tomek

    Founders Series "The Life, Experience, and Gospel Labours of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen" with Beverly Tomek

    An interview about the writings "The Life, Experience, and Gospel Labours of the Rt. Rev. Richard Allen" with historian and author Beverly Tomek. Beverly C. Tomek is Associate Professor of History and Associate Provost for Curriculum and Student Achievement at the University of Houston-Victoria.

    • 36 min
    Founders Series "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" with Jane Calvert

    Founders Series "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" with Jane Calvert

    An interview about the essays "Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania" with historian and author Jane Calvert. In 1767 a series of essays were published in the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser that are known as “Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania.” They were written by John Dickinson in response to the British parliament’s Declaratory Act and the Townshend Acts. Joining us to talk about Dickinson’s Letters is Jane Calvert. She is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky and the Director and Editor of the John Dickinson Writings Project.

    • 57 min
    “Somebody Else’s Dream” with Maxim Furek

    “Somebody Else’s Dream” with Maxim Furek

    The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the disturbing song “Timothy.” Banned by radio stations and called "the worst song ever recorded," its lyrics about cannibalism in a Pennsylvania coal mine eerily parallel the real-life Sheppton disaster. Written by playwright Rupert Holmes, the Billboard hit launched the career of The Buoys. They went on to perform at the legendary Whisky a Go Go, Stone Balloon, and the Satsop River Festival which they kicked off in front of 150,000 fans. The Buoys toured the Netherlands, got hustled in a pool game with Sly Stone—before his massive ten-mile traffic jam, hung out with Blue Öyster Cult—before their riot at the Kingston Armory, received a lecture on libertarianism from musical genius Frank Zappa, and were mentored by Delaney Bramlett—before cocaine ruined his life. Morphing into Dakota, and produced by Chicago’s Danny Seraphine and Rufus’s Hawk Woliinski, the band played on the same stage as the Beach Boys during the national Bicentennial Celebration. They were invited to replace the Pure Prairie League’s Vince Gill and joined Freddie Mercury and Queen on a sold-out 35-city tour ending in a three-day standing-room-only Madison Square Garden concert. Here is the story of an amazing American AOR band with more than ten recorded albums who, despite the infamous “Dakota Curse” and the Coal Region Hoodoo, achieved acclaim in Europe, Korea, and Japan. Their story also depicts a cautionary tale of substance abuse, the pitfalls of fame, and the true price of the rock and roll fantasy.

    Maxim W. Furek is among the first wave of regional Rock Journalists. He is founder of Timothy: Northeastern Pennsylvania's First Music Publication, created to promote Northeastern Pennsylvania's musical talent, and named after The Buoy's Timothy (1971), at the time, the region's most successful rock song. Curiously, through a strange sequence of events, Timothy Magazine evolved into the highly successful Pennsylvania Musician and Maryland Musician.

    • 50 min
    “Beethoven in Beijing” with Jennifer Lin

    “Beethoven in Beijing” with Jennifer Lin

    In 1973, Western music was banned in the People’s Republic of China. But in a remarkable breakthrough cultural exchange, the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted a tour of closed-off China, becoming the first American orchestra to visit the communist nation. Jennifer Lin’s "Beethoven in Beijing: Stories from the Philadelphia Orchestra's Historic Journey to China" provides a fabulous photo-rich oral history of this boundary-breaking series of concerts the orchestra performed under famed conductor Eugene Ormandy. Lin draws from interviews, personal diaries, and news accounts to give voice to the American and Chinese musicians, diplomats, journalists, and others who participated in and witnessed this historic event. "Beethoven in Beijing" is filled with glorious images as well as anecdotes ranging from amusing sidewalk Frisbee sessions and acupuncture treatments for sore musicians to a tense encounter involving Madame Mao dictating which symphony was to be played at a concert. A companion volume to the film of the same name, "Beethoven in Beijing" shows how this 1973 tour came at the dawn of a resurgence of interest in classical music in China—now a vital source of revenue for touring orchestras.

    Jennifer Lin is an award-winning journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker. She created and codirected the feature-length documentary Beethoven in Beijing, which premiered on PBS’s Great Performances in 2021. For 31 years, she worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer as a reporter, including posts as a foreign correspondent in China, a financial correspondent on Wall Street, and a national correspondent in Washington, DC. She is the author of "Shanghai Faithful: Betrayal and Forgiveness in a Chinese Christian Family," and coauthor of "Sole Sisters: Stories of Women and Running."

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
54 Ratings

54 Ratings

TildaJean ,

When I was White

Thank you for this engrossing interview! Well done.

seaxz ,

Was good now it just leans left

Like the title said there used to be all kinds of stuff on here. Now it seems like it all slants hard left. Whether it be historically or present day. And I like that every once and awhile but it just seems like your bludgeoning me with it. A little bit of balance or no slants at all could easy make this a five again

I-Am ,

Mine eyes have seen

Local author Anthony Moulton published a book this year, you should interview him! He is a Marine Corps veteran from Lincoln University. His book “mine eyes have see” is a great book describing consequences of how we treat each other and moral obigation.

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