2009-2010 History Series

in this series

James Reston, Jr.

Nina Burleigh

Edith Gelles

The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy
Adrienne Mayor 
Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reception 6:45 pm
Lecture: 7:30 pm

James Reston, Jr., is the author of fourteen previous books, including Warriors of God, Dogs of God, Galileo: A Life, and The Conviction of Richard Nixon. Winner of the Prix Italia and the Dupont-Columbia Award for his 1983 documentary, "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown," his books have been translated into thirteen languages.

For more on James Reston Jr., visit the Reston Books Website to find a short biography, information and reviews on some of his works, and a detailed list of his events attended, presentations, interviews and publications over the years. 

To view more of James Reston's books with brief overviews and reviews, go to Google Books.

Biblical Archaeology, the Limits of Science, and the Borders of Belief
Nina Burleigh 
March 9, 2010

Reception 6:45 pm
Lecture:  7:30 pm

Nina Burleigh, author of Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land.

In this lecture, journalist and author Nina Burleigh examines what Israeli authorities have called “the fraud of the century” — a scheme to modify archaeological objects or create entirely new ones to make them appear to verify biblical characters or stories. Burleigh will discuss these characters, the scheme to defraud high-end collectors, and the gullible religious public, and how the James Ossuary Case in a small courtroom in Jerusalem has put all of biblical archaeology on trial.

Nina Burleigh is an award-winning author and journalist, currently working in Italy on her fifth book, this one about the Amanda Knox case, to be published next year by Broadway Books.

She has been published in the New Yorker, Time, New York and People, among many others. She has appeared on Good Morning America, various programs on CNN, NPR and a host of national broadcast programs.

Her four books have been critically acclaimed. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East and lived in Italy and France. She has covered the White House for Time and covered human interest stories at People Magazine from New York for the past three years. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has lectured all over the United States and in Mexico on her work, including her most recent book, Unholy Business, a true tale of how modern science is being used to support the curious world of biblical relic trade and forgery. Her book Mirage, published in 2008 by Harper Collins, was selected by the New York Times as an editors’ choice and won the Society of Women Educators’ Award in 2008.

Nina Burleigh was born and educated in the Midwest and makes her home base now in New York City. She has lived a colorful life of adventure and travel, maintained a happy marriage and is raising two children. While researching the Knox book, she and her husband moved to the mysterious, ancient hill town of Perugia, Italy, and enrolled their children in the local school, a marvelous adventure in itself.

Much more information on Nina Burleigh, and her articles and books is available at her website

Abigail and John:  Portrait of a Marriage
Edith Gelles 
April 29, 2010

Reception 6:45 pm
Lecture:  7:30 pm

The story of Abigail and John Adams is as much a romance as it is a lively chapter in the early history of this country. Edith Gelles, who has written the first double biography of this fascinating couple, will discuss this remarkable marriage and also how each of them contributed to the founding of America. Gelles will speak as well about her research and the challenge of writing about a couple.

Edith Gelles, a historian of colonial America, has written two biographies of Abigail Adams, has edited and written an extended biographical introduction to The Letters of Abigail Levy Franks (1733-1748) in 2004 and has recently completed a double biography of Abigail and John Adams in 2009. In addition, Gelles wrote the centennial catalogue for the Libraries of Stanford University: "For Instruction and Research." She has published many articles and reviews and has taught in the Humanities as well as the Continuing Studies Programs at Stanford.