Nobody expected much of Sergio Leone’s 1964 Italian Western A Fistful of Dollars – not even its young American star, Clint Eastwood, who saw the project as a European vacation from his American TV series, Rawhide.
Bill Shaffer explores how the film became an international success, turning Eastwood into a major movie star and kicking off two decades of European-made “spaghetti” Westerns.
Half a century after Barry Goldwater ran for president as the 1964 Republican candidate, the late five-term U.S. Senator from Arizona remains an icon of American conservatism – and emblematic of the right’s deep mistrust of activist government and liberal-leaning reform movements.
But “Mr. Conservative” also had a lifelong interest in and commitment to environmental protection.
Fifty years to the day that Goldwater accepted his party’s presidential nomination, environmental historian Brian Allen Drake discusses Goldwater’s latent green streak and how it influenced all aspects of his life. Drake’s presentation recalls a time when environmental issues could cross partisan borders and attract the seemingly unlikeliest of champions, and suggests that today's deep political divisions need not be impassable ones.
Established in 2005, the Kansas City Fringe Festival has grown into an 11-day celebration of theater, visual arts, film, dance, and music. This year’s edition runs from Thursday, July 17, through Sunday, July 27, 2014, at 13 venues around the city.
You can get an advance look at what’s in store for Festival audiences at the Fringe Festival Preview event.
Edgar Allan Poe vividly recalled watching men mutilate the body of his mother, a terrifying but imaginary scene. It was a hallucination, part of his alcohol-induced delirium tremens – or DTs.
In a discussion of his new book, scholar Matthew Warner Osborn examines the medical and societal fascination two centuries ago with heavy drinking and drinkers, including Poe. Out of that grew the modern view of alcohol addiction as a psychic struggle with inner demons.
Osborn is an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Rum Maniacs is his first book.
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.
Former Kansas City Star columnist Bill Tammeus takes a Fourth of July week look at how our nation has been shaped by people he calls “Middle Americans” – citizens who came after the so-called “Greatest Generation” and who were often born in the Midwest.
Drawing on his new book, Woodstock: A Story of Middle Americans, Tammeus will point to what we can celebrate about the achievements of Midwesterners and to what they haven’t done so well. Midwesterners contributed to — and accommodated themselves to — astonishing change in the last 70-plus years. But what legacy are they leaving in such areas as race relations, politics, economics, and the question of confidence in our public and private institutions?
Watch in amazement as the Mad Scientist defies gravity in this energetic and spectacular special event. With fascinating science demonstrations – employing didgeridoo tubes, foaming hands, and steaming chemical reactions – youngsters are drawn into the exciting world of chemistry.
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.
As Scottish voters prepare for this autumn’s national referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, military historian Tony Mullis looks back on the country’s earlier, bloodier struggle for independence and a pivotal battle exactly 700 years ago.
In 1314, English King Edward II led an army north to quell the rebellious Scots and their king, Robert Bruce. At the Battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314, the Scots prevailed despite being outnumbered 2-1, forcing the English to formally concede Scotland’s independence.
A frequent speaker at the Library, Mullis is a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.