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.

  • Douglas C. Waller examines the colorful life and career of William Joseph Donovan, director during World War II of America’s first national intelligence agency –  the OSS – and the intellectual father of today’s CIA.
    Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Tapped to be Franklin Roosevelt’s spymaster during World War II, William Joseph “Wild Bill” Donovan became a mythic figure in the history of espionage, directing the Office of Strategic Services — America’s first national intelligence agency — and becoming the intellectual father of today’s CIA.

    Biographer Douglas C. Waller looks at the man who introduced the U.S. to the dark arts of covert warfare while often risking his own life unnecessarily. Waller reveals a complex figure who won a Medal of Honor in World War II, earned millions as a Republican lawyer on Wall Street, and gave ammunition to his political enemies through a series of extramarital affairs.

  • Columbia University’s Robert Jervis maintains that though the United States is now unusually secure, there persists a widespread sense that the world is in fact deeply threatening.
    Why Does the U.S. Spend So Much Money on Security and Feel So Insecure?
    Wednesday, March 26, 2014
    Central Library

    In this year’s Park University Hauptmann Lecture, international policy expert Robert Jervis maintains that though the United States is now unusually secure, there remains a widespread sense among both policy elites and the general public that the world is in fact deeply threatening. How are we to resolve this puzzle?

    Jervis is the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University and past president of the American Political Science Association. Among his books are The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution and Perception and Misperception in International Politics.

  • Larry Tye discusses the first full biography of not only the fictional Man of Steel but also the real-world writers, artists, publishers, and performers who have kept the caped character an essential part of American culture for seven decades.
    Superman - Larry Tye
    Tuesday, March 25, 2014
    Central Library

    Larry Tye discusses his book Superman, the first full-fledged biography of not only the fictional Man of Steel but also the real-world writers, artists, publishers, and performers who have kept the caped character an essential part of American culture for seven decades.

    A former reporter for The Boston Globe, Tye now runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media cover critical health care issues. His books have addressed baseball legend Satchel Paige, the birth of the public relations industry, and how Pullman porters helped create a black middle class.

  • The National Review’s Kevin Williamson argues that innovative solutions to many of America’s problems are emerging from the failure of politics and government.
    The End Is Near and It’s Going to be Awesome
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014
    Central Library

    The U.S. government is disintegrating … and that’s a good thing, according to National Review contributor Kevin Williamson, whose new book sees innovative solutions to various social problems emerging from the failure of politics and government.

    Politics, he argues, cannot deal with crucial problems in education, health care, social security, and monetary policy. Meanwhile, those who don’t look to the state for goods and services — from home schoolers to Wall Street to organized crime — are experimenting with replacing the state’s outmoded social software with market-derived alternatives.

  • ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses her new novel, co-written with Victoria Christopher Murray, about two fan-favorite heroines that battle out their drama on reality TV.
    Fortune & Fame
    Tuesday, March 18, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author ReShonda Tate Billingsley discusses and reads from her new novel (written with Victoria Christopher Murray) about the rival wives of Baptist preachers who team up for a reality TV show that will expose their lives in uncomfortable detail. Fortune & Fame reunites the fictional Rachel Jackson Adams and Jasmine Larson Bush, heroines of previous best sellers Sinners and Saints and Friends & Foes.

    The author of almost two dozen books for adults and teens, Billingsley is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition.

  • Author Steven Watts discusses his new biography of Missourian Dale Carnegie, whose 1936 best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People helped launch the  self-help revolution.
    Self-Help Messiah: Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America
    Thursday, March 6, 2014
    Central Library

    Decades before Oprah, Dr. Phil, and today’s innumerable gurus peddling surefire plans for bettering ourselves, Missourian Dale Carnegie started the self-help revolution with his worldwide best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Life magazine named Carnegie one of its “100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.”

  • Angela Elam of New Letters on the Air, aired locally on KCUR 89.3 FM, holds a public conversation with Maija Rhee Devine about her new novel about an arranged marriage from the Japanese occupation of Korea to today’s economically advanced, high-tech South Korea.
    The Voices of Heaven - Maija Rhee Devine
    Wednesday, March 5, 2014
    Central Library

    Angela Elam of New Letters on the Air, aired locally on KCUR 89.3 FM, holds a public conversation with author and Independence resident Maija Rhee Devine about her new novel The Voices of Heaven. It follows the arranged marriage of a Korean couple from the final years of the Japanese occupation through the Korean War and into the economically advanced, high-tech South Korea of today.

    Winner of an Emily Dickinson Poetry Award, Devine is working on a book of poems about Korean women forced to provide sexual services to Japanese troops. She is a survivor of the Korean War.

  • Charles L. Cohen kicks off this year’s McKinzie Symposium with a discussion of the issues facing minority religions in a political landscape dominated by Christianity.
    Muslims and Jews in Christian America
    Thursday, February 27, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    To kick off this year’s McKinzie symposium—One Nation Under God: The Politics of America’s Religious Diversity—the University of Wisconsin’s Charles L. Cohen delivers a keynote address on the issues facing minority religions in America.

    Cohen is a professor of history and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian John B. Judis looks back to the Truman administration in an examination of the roots of the Arab/Israeli conflict and explains how it might be ended.
    Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict
    Tuesday, February 25, 2014
    Central Library

    John B. Judis, senior editor at The New Republic, examines the half-century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world.

    The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis says, can be traced back to the Truman administration. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century and explains why every subsequent attempt to stabilize the area has failed—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace by holding elections among Palestinians and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

  • In this one-man show, historic re-enactor Charles Everett Pace portrays the slave who fled to freedom and became one of America’s most eloquent voices for abolition and civil rights.
    An Evening With Frederick Douglass
    Wednesday, February 19, 2014
    Central Library

    Veteran re-enactor Charles Everett Pace brings his one man show to Kansas City to portray prominent abolitionist and social reformer Frederick Douglass.

    Born enslaved in 1818, Douglass successfully escaped from bondage in 1838 and quickly rose to the front ranks of leading abolitionists, becoming the most famous black American of his day. In the years leading up to the Civil War, his incisive anti-slavery writings and mesmerizing speeches reached broad audiences in the United States and the British Isles. Following emancipation, Douglass continued to lecture and write on civil rights issues, including women’s rights and desegregation. He wrote several versions of his autobiography between 1845 and 1892.