Event Video

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  • World War II veteran Dick Cole joins Park University professor Dennis Okerstrom for a discussion of the 1st Air Commando Group, a forerunner to modern special operations units. Cole was a member of the team.
    Project 9: Birth of the Air Commandos
    Monday, June 9, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    World War II veteran Dick Cole, 98, joins Park University professor Dennis Okerstrom for a discussion of the 1st Air Commando Group, a forerunner to modern special operations units such as SEAL Team Six and Delta Force.

    Cole and Okerstrom will discuss the first air commando raid as well as Cole’s other World War II experiences, including serving as Jimmy Doolittle co-pilot during the Tokyo Raid.

    The 1st Air Commando Group, whose ranks included former child actor Jackie Coogan, grew out of a top-secret project to invade Japanese-occupied Burma by glider.

    Okerstrom is the author of Project 9: The Birth of the Air Commandos in World War II.

  • 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.

  • Smithsonian marine biologist Nancy Knowlton discusses the wonders of Earth’s oceans, the negative impact of human activity, and what can be done to turn the tide of destruction.
    Why Healthy Oceans Matter
    Thursday, May 29, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Marine biologist Nancy Knowlton knows the wonders of our oceans and the weird and wondrous creatures that call it home. She also recognizes how ocean life is threatened by human activity and what is being done to turn the tide of destruction.

    Knowlton’s talk is the kickoff event of Conserving Our Dynamic Planet, a series presented by the Smithsonian Institution and co-sponsored by the Linda Hall Library.

  • William Least Heat-Moon discusses his new book which chronicles the writing of his 1982 best-seller, Blue Highways, the story of his travels through back-road America.
    Writing Blue Highways: The Story of How a Book Happened
    Wednesday, May 28, 2014
    Central Library

    In 1982-83, William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways, a chronicle of traveling America’s back roads, spent 42 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.

    Thirty years after his 14,000-mile, 38-state journey, Least Heat-Moon re-examines the making of the book in a discussion of Writing Blue Highways: The Story of How a Book Happened. He reflects on the stops and starts in his composition process, the numerous drafts and painstaking revisions, and the depressing string of rejections by publishers.

  • Historian Pellom McDaniels III discusses his biography of the African-American jockey who was the most popular athlete of the 19th century and whose 44-percent win rate has never been matched.
    Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy
    Tuesday, May 27, 2014
    Central Library

    Less than two weeks before Victor Espinoza tries to guide California Chrome to a Triple Crown-clinching victory in horse racing’s Belmont Stakes, Emory University professor Pellom McDaniels III looks back at a man who, more than a century earlier, set the standard of excellence for all jockeys. Isaac Burns Murphy was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times, and his 44 percent overall win rate — nearly three times higher than Espinoza’s — remains unmatched. He was the highest-paid U.S. athlete of his time. And he happened to be African American.

    McDaniels, a former Kansas City Chiefs lineman who now is faculty curator of African American collections at Emory, discusses his new biography of Murphy, whose life spanned the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the adoption of Jim Crow legislation. Before dying in 1896 at age 34, Murphy became an important figure not only in sports but also in the social, political, and cultural consciousness of African Americans.

  • John Nichols discusses his expose of fabulously wealthy individuals and corporations who he says are co-opting America’s political life in a way that could signal the end of our democracy.
    Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America
    Thursday, May 22, 2014
    Central Library

    Incredibly wealthy individuals and corporations are radically redefining our electoral process in a way that, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy.

    That’s the alarm raised by John Nichols in a discussion of his new exposé (co-written with Robert McChesney) of pay-to-play billionaires, election-buying corporations, activist judges who advance their agendas, and the media conglomerates that have blown off journalism for the sake of political advertising.

  • Best-selling urban fiction writer Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from her newest novel; the latest installment in her series based on the life of the Rev. Curtis Black.
    The Prodigal Son - Kimberla Lawson Roby
    Wednesday, May 21, 2014
    Central Library

    Best-selling urban fiction author Kimberla Lawson Roby discusses and reads from the latest novel in her popular series about the Rev. Curtis Black and his frequently dysfunctional family. Here the Reverend tries to win back his estranged son Matthew while dealing with long-hidden offspring Dillon, the result of a youthful dalliance.

    Roby self-published her first book 17 years ago. She has written almost two dozen novels, among them The Perfect Marriage, Be Careful What You Pray For, Changing Faces, and Casting the First Stone. She is the winner of a 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Fiction.

  • The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s Louis DiMarco explains how the Battle of Yellow Tavern in May 1864 changed the role of cavalry in the Civil War from one of reconnaissance to active participation in battle.
    The Cavalry of the American Civil War
    Thursday, May 15, 2014
    Central Library

    For most of the Civil War, the role of cavalry was limited to reconnaissance and screening infantry movements. But at the Battle of Yellow Tavern (Virginia) on May 11, 1864, a mounted federal force defeated the legendary rebel cavalry of J.E.B. Stuart, who was mortally wounded and died a day later. The North realized that cavalry could be an essential offensive tool.

    Observing the 150th anniversary of the battle, Louis DiMarco of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth examines the role of mounted combat in the Civil War.

  • National Book Critics Circle Award winner and 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist Leo Damrosch explores the enigmatic man behind Gulliver’s Travels and explains why the public version of Jonathan Swift’s life — the one accepted until recently — was deliberately misleading.
    Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World
    Wednesday, May 14, 2014
    Central Library

    Jonathan Swift is known today as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, the classic satiric fantasy. But during his lifetime, Swift was famous as a major political and religious figure and as a national hero who fiercely protested English exploitation of his native Ireland.

    In a discussion of his new book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography, Harvard’s Leo Damrosch shows how Swift’s public version of his life — the one accepted until recently — was deliberately misleading.