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Our American “Empire” with Niall Ferguson

Note: This interview has been picked up by the public radio stations WGBH, in Boston, its affiliates WCAI and WNAN, and WCVE in Richmond, VA.

In some ways, the Scottish historian Niall Ferguson is the Russell Crowe of the academic world: charismatic, unconventional, and definitely controversial. He’s also a big fan of the British Empire — and wants the United States to follow in its footsteps. That means it’s our job to form colonies in hot climates, for years on end.
But are we up for this? While Niall would like that to be the case, he doesn’t really think so, because, he says, we’re an empire “in denial”
Click here: to listen to a 4 minute excerpt.
Click here: to listen to the entire interview (15:30 minutes).

And to listen to an interview with Niall Ferguson on the WGBH Forum Network, click here!

Posted on July 23, 2008 in Economics, Front Page, Harvard Luminaries, History, Politics
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The Peabody Sisters – with biographer Megan Marshall

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio’s “Arts and Ideas.” And here’s a review of the program on PRX!

Author Megan Marshall has recently written a well-received biography of the three Peabody sisters – Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia – who were key players in the founding of the Transcendentalist movement in the early to mid 19th century.

Elizabeth, the oldest, was intellectually precocious, learning Hebrew as a child so she could read the Old Testament. Mary was the middle sister, somewhat subdued by the dominant – and bossy – qualities of Elizabeth, and by the attention paid to the youngest, Sophia, who was practically an invalid. Nonetheless, Mary managed to become a teacher, writer and reformer. Sophia, beset by devastating migraines, spent most of her early years in bed. But when she had the strength, she painted. In an interview with ThoughtCast, Megan Marshall continues the tale…

Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).

Click here to listen to a lecture by Megan Marshall on the Peabody sisters on the WGBH Forum Network.

Posted on December 8, 2005 in History
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Carol Bundy, Civil War biographer

Note: this ThoughtCast interview was broadcast on WCAI/WNAN on Nov. 12, 2006 in honor of Veterans Day.

At a time when the country’s attention is focused on the ever-expanding list of American war dead, Carol Bundy’s biography of a Union officer who sacrifices his life in the Civil War is eerily apt.

Carol’s book tells the story of the short, heroic life of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., an elite young cavalryman who embodied the promise of his generation. An ardent abolitionist and reformer, Lowell was also a brilliant battlefield strategist, and he turned the tide at the Battle of Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley, a crucial victory for the North just two weeks shy of Lincoln’s re-election. Shot twice during the fighting, Lowell died at dawn the following day.
Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).
Click here to listen to a lecture by Carol Bundy on her biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. at the Harvard Book Store.

Posted on November 6, 2005 in Biography, History
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Virgil’s Georgics with award-winning Poet David Ferry

Note: This program was broadcast on April 8th 2007 on WGBH.

Click here to read a review of the interview on PRX.

Noted Cambridge poet David Ferry has recently translated Virgil’s Georgics, and on ThoughtCast he joins Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard’s Classics Dept., for a detailed examination of this beautiful and insufficiently known poem. It is said to have taken Virgil 7 years to write, from about 36 to 29 B.C.

 

As such, The Georgics was written during a period of political instability and chronic civil war, and inevitably reflects Virgil’s dark, often pessimistic outlook on human nature. But at the same time, The Georgics (which means “agriculture” in Greek), is a celebration of nature and its ceaseless beauty. As Virgil describes the cycles of crops, the seasons, the weather — the birth, death and rebirth that mark the natural world — he provides us with a complex, realistic, painful but enduringly uplifting poem.
Click here: to listen (29 minutes).


Click here  to listen to a lecture by David Ferry on his Georgics translation at the Harvard Book Store.

Posted on September 1, 2005 in Harvard Luminaries, History, Literature, Poetry
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Harvard Book Store author talks: Carol Bundy

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Cambridge author Carol Bundy’s first book is called “The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-1864.” It’s about her great-great-great uncle, who fought and died in the Civil War. Lowell was a reformer, a cavalryman, and perhaps also a dreamer.

Click here: (30 minutes) to hear Bundy’s talk, at the Harvard Book Store.
And you can also listen to a ThoughtCast interview with Carol Bundy, which was broadcast on public radio.

Posted on August 1, 2005 in Biography, History
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Harvard Book Store author talks: David Ferry

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
Virgil
A Reading with David Ferry, discussing his translation of Virgil’s Georgics. This recording was made at Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, in May 2005. The paperback of Virgil’s Georgics, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is now available.

Click here: (45 minutes) for the talk.

And you can also listen to a ThoughtCast interview with David Ferry and Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard’s Classics Dept.

Posted on June 22, 2005 in History, Literature, Poetry
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