Event Video

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Historian Bud Bowie looks at how Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ miscalculations doomed the South economically even as it was winning on the battlefield.
    Bud Bowie: Jefferson Davis and His Cause
    Wednesday, February 22, 2012
    Central Library

    Historian Bud Bowie looks at economic miscalculations by Confederate President Jefferson Davis and other Southerners that in effect doomed their cause even as it was winning on the battlefield.

    Foremost among these was the belief that the North would never risk ruining the immensely important cotton trade by waging war on secessionist states.

    Bowie is a professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.