2016-2017 History Series

in this series

Thomas Childers

Edward O'Donnell

Suzanne Desan

Evenings begin with a 6:45 Reception. Talks begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Salisbury House Common Room.

Thursday, October 13, 2016, 7:30 pm
Dr. Thomas Childers, PhD.
Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II

“Facts don’t change, but we do, and our perspective on them changes. We learn new things, and as a result of this, it is necessary to reevaluate ... what we have known and how it looks different to us at this particular point.”

Dr. Thomas Childers is Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been teaching for over 25 years. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.

Professor Childers has held visiting professorships at Trinity Hall College, University of Cambridge, Smith College, and Swarthmore College. He is a popular lecturer abroad as well, in London, Oxford, Berlin, and Munich. Professor Childers has won several teaching awards, including the Ira T. Abrahms Award for Distinguished Teaching and Challenging Teaching in the Arts and Sciences, the Richard S. Dunn Award for Distinguished Teaching in History, and the Senior Class Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He has also done many lectures throughout the world in places like Oxford, Berlin, Munich, and London.

Professor Childers is the author and editor of several books on modern German history and the Second World War. He is currently completing a trilogy on the Second World War. The first volume, Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II, was praised by Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post as “a powerful and unselfconsciously beautiful book.”

Thursday, April 6, 2017, 7:30 pm
Dr. Edward O'Donnell, PhD.
Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age

Dr. O’Donnell is a professional historian, author, speaker, teacher, and podcaster. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA and his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. He is an Associate Professor of History at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA.

O’Donnell is the author of several books, including: Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age America (Columbia University Press, 2015); Visions of America: A History of the United States (co-author, Pearson, 2nd ed. 2012); Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum (Random House/Broadway Books, May 2003); and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History (Random House/Broadway Books, 2002).

O’Donnell is also a professional speaker, delivering history-themed presentations before thousands of educational and business and non-profit organizations since 1991. During his years in New York City, O’Donnell also led more than 1,200 walking tours through New York City’s ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem.

O’Donnell has provided historical insight and commentary for programs airing on PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, C-Span, ABC World News Now, National Public Radio, the BBC, and Bloomberg Radio, among others. O’Donnell is also active in the field of public history. He has curated several major museum exhibits on American history and appeared in several historical documentaries.

He also has created video lecture courses on American history for the Teaching Company, including "Turning Points in American History" (48 lectures) and "America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era" (24 lectures).

O'Donnell also writes a blog www.InThePastLane.com on all things American History.

Thursday, May 11, 2017, 7:30 pm.
Dr. Suzanne Desan, PhD.

Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon: The Great Courses

“I've devoted my career to studying the French Revolutionary era. This era--its actors, its dreams, its politics, its tragedies--it just won't let me go. I seem to be addicted to the French Revolution.”

Suzanne M. Desan is the Vilas-Shinners Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She specializes in the history of 18th-century France. She earned her B.A. in History from Princeton University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley. She has received several teaching awards, including the University of Wisconsin Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award (2007) and the UW - Madison Undergraduate History Association's Professor of the Year Award (2013), as well as fellowships, including Guggenheim and Fulbright research fellowships. She also received the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize of the American Historical Association for the Best First Book in European History. Professor Desan is the author of numerous articles about the French Revolution, popular politics, family, and religion. She is the coeditor of The French Revolution in Global Perspective, and she is the author of The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France and Reclaiming the Sacred: Lay Religion and Popular Politics in Revolutionary France. She is currently studying foreign radicals who came to France during the revolutionary era, their influence on French politics, and the international circulation of revolutionary ideas and practices.