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.

  • Journalist and author Guy Gugliotta discusses his new book about the raising of the U.S. Capitol, a project meant to symbolize national unity even as the country slid ever closer to secession and Civil War.
    Guy Gugliotta - Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War
    Thursday, March 22, 2012
    Central Library

    Guy Gugliotta discusses his new book about the raising of the U.S. Capitol, a process steeped in irony.

    Even as the majestic structure rose, the Union it represented was drifting toward Civil War. Among the historic characters in this drama was Jefferson Davis, a big supporter of the project – until he left Washington to become president of the Confederacy. (And the engineer in charge of construction, Montgomery Meigs, feuded bitterly with the architect, Thomas U. Walter).

  • Attica Locke discusses her novel Black Water Rising, about a Houston lawyer who saves a drowning woman and opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets that threaten the city’s power brokers.
    Attica Locke: Black Water Rising
    Wednesday, March 21, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Attica Locke discusses her novel Black Water Rising, set in Houston in the early 1980s. Former campus radical Jay Porter is now a lawyer running his practice out of a dingy strip mall. When he saves a woman from drowning, his act of heroism inadvertently opens a Pandora’s box of dangerous secrets that threaten the city’s corporate power brokers and place Jay at the center of a murder investigation.

  • Historian James N. Giglio reveals the latest research on Kennedy’s Presidency, from his deft handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis to his health problems and destructive sexual obsessions.
    James N. Giglio: John F. Kennedy
    Tuesday, March 20, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    James N. Giglio describes John F. Kennedy as “the most medicated, one of the most courageous, and perhaps the most self-absorbed of our presidents.” Giglio reveals the latest research on Kennedy’s presidency, from his deft handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis to his destructive sexual obsessions.

    Giglio is a distinguished professor of history at Missouri State University and author of Debating the Kennedy Presidency.

    Part of this year’s series on the U.S. presidency.

  • Landon Rowland examines the railroad-building efforts of Arthur Stilwell, which allowed Kansas City to enter the 20th century as one of the nation's most important transportation hubs.
    Landon Rowland: The Role of Railroads in Kansas City’s Development
    Sunday, March 18, 2012
    Central Library

    Landon Rowland discusses the achievements of 19th century railroad developer Arthur Stilwell, who forever changed the Kansas City area’s business landscape with an ambitious program of railroad construction that made the region an important transportation hub. This is the centennial year of Stilwell’s retirement – a year in which the Google Fiber network, a different kind of economic game-changer, arrives in Kansas City.

    Rowland is the former president and chief executive officer of Kansas City Southern Industries and chairman emeritus of the Janus Capital Group.

  • Carol Inge Hockett examines how artists reacted to the horrors of World War I with the Dada movement that rejected the old norms and paved the way for modern art.
    Carol Inge Hockett: WWI, Dada, and the Birth of the Modern
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Art educator Carol Inge Hockett examines how artists reacted to the values-shattering horrors of World War I with Dadism, an artistic/political movement that rejected the old norms of painting, literature, drama, and music. Rejecting bourgeois values, the Dadists embraced nontraditional forms such as collage, photomontage, assemblage, and “readymades” (everyday objects displayed as art).

  • Author Philip White examines Churchill’s 1946 address at Fulton, Missouri, and explains how it alerted a war-weary West to Communism’s growing control of Eastern Europe.
    Philip White - Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance
    Wednesday, March 7, 2012
    Central Library

    Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, warned that Communism was on the march. Historian Philip White relates how the address – encouraged and attended by Harry S. Truman – was met with skepticism but came to be seen as a Cold War prophecy.

  • University of Kansas historian Shawn Leigh Alexander looks at the forgotten men and women who in the late 19th century took up the cause of civil rights for African Americans.
    Shawn Leigh Alexander - An Army of Lions: The Civil Rights Struggle Before the NAACP
    Tuesday, March 6, 2012
    Central Library

    Historian Shawn Leigh Alexander looks at the forgotten men and women who in the late 19th century took up the cause of civil rights for African Americans. Creating groups such as the Afro-American League, the Afro-American Council, the Niagara Movement, the Constitution League, and the Committee of Twelve, these pioneers developed the methodology of boycotts, propaganda, lobbying, and moral suasion that would bear fruit only long after they had passed on.

    Alexander is an assistant professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas.

  • Historian Amity Shlaes finds hopeful lessons in the presidency of Calvin Coolidge, who left office with a smaller federal budget than when he came in.
    Amity Shlaes - Calvin Coolidge: The President Who Said “No”
    Wednesday, February 29, 2012
    Central Library

    President Calvin Coolidge gets a bad rap, says author Amity Shlaes, who notes that under his leadership the economy grew at a rate of four percent annually, taxation was low, and the budget was balanced.

  • Rebecca Solnit offers a guided tour of the Bay Area through her latest book, Infinite City, which reinvents the traditional atlas, expanding it from a mere collection of maps to a vibrant depiction of a city’s inner life.
    Rebecca Solnit - Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012
    Central Library

    Rebecca Solnit offers a guided tour of the Bay Area through her latest book, Infinite City, which reinvents the traditional atlas, expanding it from a mere collection of maps to a vibrant depiction of a city’s inner life.

  • Award-winning novelist and short story writer Jim Shepard reads from his works and dicusses his craft with Angela Elam of the New Letters on the Air radio program.
    Jim Shepard: You Think That’s Bad
    Monday, February 27, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Angela Elam, host of the New Letters on the Air radio program, conducts a public conversation with novelist and short story writer Jim Shepard as part of the 2012 Writers at Work series.

    Shepard has written six novels and four collections of stories including Like You’d Understand, Anyway, which won the Story Prize and was nominated for a National Book Award. He teaches at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.