Event Video

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  • In the followup to her Booker Prize-winning The Gathering, Anne Enright gives us party girl Gina Moynihan, the center of a tale of illicit passion, self-love and unwanted responsibilities.
    Anne Enright: The Forgotten Waltz
    Monday, April 16, 2012
    Central Library

    Irish writer Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz is the followup to her international bestseller The Gathering, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize. She discusses her work with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

    As with The Gathering, Enright offers a momentous drama of everyday life: the volatile connections between people and a wry take on families, marriage, and brittle middle age. In Gina Moynihan she gives us yet another unforgettable heroine on a journey of the heart.

  • Biographer Justin Wolff examines the life and art of Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton, whose distinctive style and views made him the object of both veneration and scorn.
    Justin Wolff - Thomas Hart Benton: A Life
    Thursday, April 12, 2012
    Central Library

    Biographer Justin Wolff examines the life and art of Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton, whose murals bejewel many a public building. From the 1930s to his death in 1973, Benton’s distinctive visual style and nationalistic views made him the object of both veneration and scorn. The issues raised by his art and attitudes dominated debate in the post-war world of painting.

    Wolff is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Maine. He is the author of Richard Caton Woodville: American Painter, Artful Dodger.

  • The first vice president to assume the presidency on the death of an incumbent, John Tyler was called “His Accidency,” but historian Edward P. Crapol sees a bold leader who enhanced presidential power.
    Edward P. Crapol: John Tyler
    Wednesday, April 11, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    The first vice president to occupy the White House after the death of the incumbent, John Tyler was derided by critics as “His Accidency.” Yet historian Edward P. Crapol depicts Tyler as a bold leader who used the malleable executive system to his advantage and enhanced presidential power.

    Crapol, author of John Tyler: The Accidental President, is the William E. Pullen professor of American history, emeritus, at the College of William and Mary.

  • Nelson-Atkins conservator Paul Benson delves into the story behind some of Kansas City’s most popular fountains.
    Paul Benson - City of Fountains: Underneath the Water and Sculpture
    Thursday, March 29, 2012
    Plaza Branch

    Fountains delight our eyes and our ears with their beauty and calming effect. And in all the world, only Rome has more public fountains than Kansas City. Nelson-Atkins conservator Paul Benson – who has often worked as a consultant in preserving and maintaining these watery jewels – delves into the stories behind some of our town’s most popular fountains.

  • Harvard legal scholar Noah Feldman examines how Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert Jackson overcame rivalries, personality clashes, and individual approaches to constitutional thought.
    Noah Feldman - Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Justices
    Tuesday, March 27, 2012
    Central Library

    Noah Feldman examines how four of FDR’s Supreme Court appointees – Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, and Robert Jackson – juggled rivalries, personality clashes, and individual approaches to constitutional thought to decide landmark cases on race, business and politics.

    Feldman, professor of law at Harvard, has written about the Middle East, advised the writers of the new Iraqi constitution, and has been named one of “75 influential figures for the 21st century” by Esquire.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III returns for a conversation with Edgar Snow, as portrayed by actor Robert Gibby Brand, on the Lyric Opera set for Nixon in China.
    Meet the Past: Edgar Snow
    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Meet the Past with Crosby Kemper III returns for a conversation with Edgar Snow, as portrayed by actor Robert Gibby Brand, on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 7 p.m. on the Lyric Opera set for Nixon in China in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.