Event Audio

To listen to an audio recording of a previous Library special event, click the icon. The audio file will launch the media player on your computer.

The most recent recording displays at the top. The Library offers recordings only with the permission of the presenter. Please allow 7-10 days for the recording to be posted.

  • Best-selling author Frank Schaeffer doesn’t unequivocally believe in God. But moved in part by the love for his children and grandchildren, he prays every day. In a discussion of his latest book he asks: What’s wrong with that paradox?
    Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God
    Thursday, August 21, 2014
    Central Library

    Caught between the beauty of his grandchildren and grief over a friend’s death, Frank Schaeffer found himself simultaneously not believing and believing in a higher power – an atheist turning to prayer.

    The bestselling author examines that conflict in a discussion of his latest book, Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God. Schaeffer casts himself as an imperfect son, husband, and grandfather whose love of family and art trump the ugly theologies of an angry God and the atheist’s vision of a cold, meaningless universe.

  • Former State Department and CIA intelligence analyst Mark Stout discusses the birth of modern American espionage during World War I, from aerial reconnaissance and battlefield code-breaking to the search for spies and saboteurs back home in the States.
    Intelligence and Espionage During World War I - Mark Stout
    Wednesday, August 20, 2014
    Central Library

    The vast U.S. intelligence operations of today have their roots in World War I, when the Army flew aerial photography missions and cracked German codes and the State Department carried out its own daring espionage missions. Back home, the military and Justice Department worked to secure the nation against spies and saboteurs – real and imaginary.

    Mark Stout, who worked for 13 years as an intelligence analyst with the State Department and CIA, examines this little-known period in American history and its lasting impact.

    Stout currently is director of Johns Hopkins University’s Global Security master’s program. He spent three years as historian at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.

  • Carl Weber continues the first season of the Library’s urban fiction series with a discussion of his sequel to the best-selling The Choir Director, further following the career and challenging personal life of title character Aaron Mackie.
    The Choir Director 2: Runaway Bride - Carl Weber
    Tuesday, August 19, 2014
    Central Library

    The behind-the-scenes lives of African American clergymen and their families make up a major sub-genre of contemporary urban fiction. To date, most of these novels have been written by women.

    Author Carl Weber offers a male point of view in books such as The Choir Director. In his latest novel, a sequel to that bestseller, title character Aaron Mackie’s nationally renowned success has him in line for a huge recording contract. But his private life comes crashing down when his fiancé leaves him at the altar with no explanation, and Mackie turns to his mentor, Bishop T.K. Wilson, for help. Unfortunately, the line Mackie asks him to cross will force the bishop to choose between friendship and faith.

  • Historian Petra DeWitt examines the suspicions and hostilities faced by Missouri’s sizable German American population during World War I, including questions about loyalty and an effort to ban the German language in the state.
    Missouri’s German Americans During World War I - Petra DeWitt
    Sunday, August 17, 2014
    Central Library

    How do you prove that you are a true American? Especially if you’re of German descent and your country is engaged in a desperate struggle with your ancestors’ homeland?

    Historian Petra DeWitt explores the dilemma of German Americans who, at the time of World War I, made up one of the largest and most prosperous ethnic groups in Missouri. But with America’s involvement in the war, the loyalty of those citizens often was called into question and they endured government attacks on their culture and history – including an effort to ban the German language in Missouri.

  • One day shy of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, Kansas City Southern President and CEO Dave Starling joins Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation about KC Southern's role in rebuilding the parallel Panama Canal Railway.
    A Man, A Plan, A Panama Canal Railway: A Conversation with Dave Starling
    Thursday, August 14, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    On this date 99 years and 364 days ago, the Panama Canal opened and revolutionized maritime trade.

    It also threw the Panama Railroad and its parallel, 47-mile track into near-disuse and decay – until it was taken over in 1998 and restored by the Panama Canal Railway Company, which is 50 percent owned by Kansas City Southern. The Panama line now provides continuous Atlantic-to-Pacific freight and passenger service.

    Kansas City Southern President and CEO Dave Starling oversaw that rejuvenation during his tenure as president and director general of the Panama Canal Railway from 1999-2008. He sits down with Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a conversation coinciding with the 8½-month run of the centennial exhibit on the canal, The Land Divided, The World United: Building the Panama Canal, at the Linda Hall Library.

  • John E. Miller discusses his book about how giants of American art, industry, and politics – the likes of Walt Disney, Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, and Ronald Reagan – were nurtured and shaped by their boyhoods in small Midwestern towns.
    Small-Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America
    Tuesday, August 12, 2014
    Central Library

    The Midwest’s small towns have produced the entrepreneurial likes of Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, and Walt Disney; artists and entertainers such as Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, Carl Sandburg, and Johnny Carson; and political titans William McKinley, William Jennings Bryan, and Ronald Reagan.

    In a discussion of his new book, Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America, author John E. Miller explores the lives of those and other notables and the small-town environments from which they came. In their stories, as Miller tells them, all appear in a new light – unique in their backgrounds and accomplishments, united only in the way their lives reveal the persisting, shaping power of place.

  • Thomas W. Devine discusses his book about the presidential candidate who was ahead of his time on many issues – including civil rights and universal government health insurance – but was branded a Communist dupe.
    Henry Wallace's 1948 Presidential Campaign and the Future of Postwar Liberalism
    Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Progressive Henry Wallace ran for president in 1948 on a platform that advocated an end to the Cold War (he thought domestic fascism was more dangerous than any threat from the USSR), a stop to racial segregation, full voting rights for blacks, and universal government health insurance. On many issues, he was decades ahead of his time.

    Yet Wallace could not shake his label as a Communist dupe. As Thomas W. Devine points out in a discussion of his book — winner of the Harry S. Truman Book Award — this was an issue that would trouble progressive and liberal politicians for decades to come.

  • In a discussion of his new book, Walter Kirn details his long friendship with the man he knew as banker and art collector Clark Rockefeller – but who turned out to be an imposter, child kidnapper, and murderer.
    Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade
    Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    Central Library

    For 15 years, aspiring novelist Walter Kirn was drawn into the fun-house world of Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector and an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege. Only later did Kirn realize that the purported member of the wealthy Rockefellers was a brazen impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

    In a discussion of his new book, Blood Will Out, Kirn reflects on his bizarre journey from the posh private clubrooms of New York City to the courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovered the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronted hard truths about himself.

    Kirn is the author of Thumbsucker and Up in the Air, both of which were made into films.

  • Author Tevi Troy combines research with witty observations  to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped  by pop culture, from Thomas Jefferson’s literary bent to Barack Obama’s fascination with HBO’s The Wire.
    What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted
    Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    America is a country built by thinkers on a foundation of ideas. Alongside classic works of philosophy and ethics, however, our presidents have been influenced by the books, movies, TV shows, viral videos, and social media sensations of their day.

    Thomas Jefferson famously said, “I cannot live without books.” Jimmy Carter loved movies. Abraham Lincoln loved theater. And Barack Obama has been known to kick back with a few episodes of HBO's The Wire.

    Author Tevi Troy combines research with witty observations to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by pop culture in a discussion of his new book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted.

    Troy is the former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the administration of George W. Bush.

  • John Hope Bryant discusses his “Marshall Plan for our times” – a call to invest in America’s least wealthy consumers, create financial opportunities, and extend hope to the country’s struggling economic majority.
    How the Poor Can Save Capitalism
    Tuesday, July 8, 2014
    Central Library

    In a discussion of his new book, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class, author John Hope Bryant presents “a Marshall plan for our times” that offers specific ways to increase financial inclusion, create economic opportunity, and give hope to America’s struggling economic majority.

    Bryant explains the history and psychology behind the three factors that perpetuate poverty — lack of self-confidence and self-esteem, lack of positive role models, and lack of opportunity — and makes a compelling economic argument for investing in America’s least wealthy consumers.