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.

  • 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.

  • Bestselling urban fiction writer Victoria Christopher Murray discusses and reads from her novel about three friends whose stable lives are thrown into chaos by the reappearances of their former husbands and lovers.
    Forever an Ex - Victoria Christopher Murray
    Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author Victoria Christopher Murray discusses and reads from her novel about three friends whose stable lives are thrown into chaos by the reappearances of their former husbands and lovers. It’s a yarn that, in the words of The Washington Post, “has the kind of momentum that prompts you to elbow disbelief aside and flip the pages in horrified enjoyment.”

    Among Murray’s novels are Scandalous, Destiny’s Divas, Sins of the Mother, and Temptation. She is the co-author (with ReShonda Tate Billingsley) of the “First Ladies” series of novels about rival preachers’ wives.

  • Fred Kaplan discusses his new biography of one of America’s most wrongly overlooked presidents, a leading abolitionist, fervent Federalist, and a leader of sweeping perspective whose progressive values helped shape the course of the nation.
    John Quincy Adams - Fred Kaplan
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) is among the most overlooked presidents in U.S. history even though his progressive values helped shape the course of the nation.

    In a discussion of his new book, John Quincy Adams: American Visionary, Fred Kaplan sheds light on a leading abolitionist and fervent Federalist who championed both individual liberty and the government’s role in driving progress and prosperity. Adams’ forward-thinking values, definition of leadership, and vision for the future are as much about 21st century America as his own time.

    This event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series co-presented by the Truman Library Institute and made possible by a Legacy Fund grant by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • Author Jennifer Senior focuses on parenthood rather than parenting in this honest, and sometimes humorous, examination of the way children deepen and add purpose to our lives. And in the process, she makes parents everywhere feel better about their lives, their relationships, and their children.
    All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
    Thursday, June 5, 2014
    Central Library

    Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But what are the effects of children on their parents? New York magazine’s Jennifer Senior digs into that question in a discussion of her new book.

    Senior examines the history and changing definition of what it means to be a parent, analyzing the many ways in which children reshape parents’ lives – their marriages, jobs, habits, hobbies, friendships, and internal sense of self. Her book follows mothers and fathers through parenthood’s deepest vexations and finest rewards.

  • Retiring Truman Medical Centers CEO John Bluford joins Library Director Crosby Kemper III for  a public conversation about the transformation of an urban hospital into one of the premier healthcare facilities in Kansas City.
    A Conversation with John Bluford
    Tuesday, June 3, 2014
    Central Library

    John Bluford, the chief executive officer of Truman Medical Centers, has been recognized by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the most influential people in health care. As he prepares to retire after 15 years at Truman, he looks back on his career and ahead to the future in a public conversation with Library Director Crosby Kemper III.

    Bluford has overseen major improvements in cardiology, radiology, emergency, diabetes, and operating facilities in his tenure at Truman, and he established the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute. He served as chairman of the American Hospital Association, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems and the Missouri Hospital Association.