Modern History

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Erik Larson, the bestselling nonfiction writer whose page-turning historical narratives include "The Devil in the White City," "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin," and (most recently) "Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania." This last named book -- exploring the events before, during, and after the 1915 sinking of the ocean liner Lusitania -- is the main thrust of our conversation, although Larson also speaks about how he locates, happens upon, researches, and writes his remarkable stories.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the popular historian whom H.W. Brands has called "a master of the historical moment" -- Jay Winik is our guest; he's the author of the bestselling "April 1865," among other books. Winik talks with us about his newest volume, which is just out: "1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History." As was noted of this work in a starred review in Kirkus: "An accomplished popular historian unpacks the last full year of World War II and the excruciatingly difficult decisions facing Franklin Roosevelt....

On this edition of ST, an interesting, big-ideas-driven conversation with Dr. Jim Norwine, the Regents Professor Emeritus of Geography at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Norwine is the editor of a textbook called "A World after Climate Change and Culture-Shift" from Springer Publishers. It's a collection of essays that's described like so at the Springer website: "An international team of environmental and social scientists explain two powerful current change-engines and how their effects, and our responses to them, will transform Earth and humankind into the 22nd-century....

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Kentucky-based writer and historian, Emily Bingham, who is the author of "Mordecai: An Early American Family" (2003) and co-editor of "The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal." Bingham tells us about her newest book, which is actually a biography of her own great-aunt: "Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham." As was noted of this volume in a starred review in Kirkus: "A colorful portrait of a daring woman....

One day in 1903, in the sandy, seaside Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed the direction of history. But it would take the world some time catch up with -- to both understand and appreciate -- what had happened that day. The age of flight had arrived, but its origin had been decidedly quiet, obscure, remote. And who exactly were Wilbur and Orville Wright, anyway? Our guest on ST is the distinguished American historian and biographer -- and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize -- David McCullough, who joins us to talk about his newest book.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that originally aired in June of last year. At that time, we had an interesting conversation with the British author and scholar Toby Wilkinson, a widely respected scholar of Egyptology.

It's been observed by many that disparity between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is now approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression. But how did we get here? On this edition of ST, a we offer a chat with Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

On this installment of ST, an interesting conversation with Anne Sarah Rubin, an associate professor of history at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who is also the author of "Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and American Memory." This book explores the stories as well as the myths about Sherman's infamous March to the Sea.

Our guest is the film historian and journalist Mark Harris, who's written for Entertainment Weekly, Grantland, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other publications.

(Note: This interview originally aired in late October.) We speak with author and journalist Kirstin Downey, whose new book is "Isabella: The Warrior Queen." It's an engrossing biography of Isabella of Castile, the powerful Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history.