Drawing on his extensive work on White House tapes of President Lyndon B. Johnson, Marc Selverstone will explore the Johnson presidency through the lens of these extraordinary materials.
Please register to attend either in-person or online.
Marc Selverstone is associate professor in presidential studies and chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. He is the author of Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950 (Harvard, 2009), which won the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is also editor of A Companion to John F. Kennedy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), and general editor of The Presidential Recordings Digital Edition (Virginia, 2014–). His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post. His most recent work, The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam, is under contract with Harvard University Press.
"Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds offers an immersive, riveting look at one Bagogwe man’s singular journey from war in Congo to safety, in which good and evil are relative when war offers no good choices to anyone, when safety is an illusion, and when forgiveness is fraught." Jessica Goudeau
Hear about life as a refugee from Mondiant Dogon, a Bagogwe Tutsi born in Congo, when he talks with the Reverend John Morehouse.
Rarely do refugees get to tell their own stories. But through his writing, Mondiant took control of his own story and spoke up for forever refugees everywhere. As he once wrote in a poem, “Those we throw away are diamonds.”
Please register to watch the event at home or in the Trefz Forum. This event will be in-person. Signed copies of Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds will be available for pre-order and at the event.
Community Partners: CT Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, Westport/Weston Interfaith Clergy, Westport/Weston Interfaith Council,
UN Association of Southwest CT
Mondiant Nshimiyimana Dogon is a Congolese author, human rights activist, and refugee ambassador. Born in 1992 in to a Congolese Tutsi family in Bagogwe tribe in North Kivu province, he was forced to leave his home village, Bikenke, at the age of three because of the Rwandan genocide against Tutsis that spilled over into Congo. He has lived in refugee camps since 1996. In 2017, was able to leave Rwanda to attend New York University.
Rev. Dr. John Morehouse serves as Senior Minister of the Unitarian Church in Westport. Throughout his long career he has been an avid social activist, working with Interfaith organizations in Maryland and California on issues that impact under resourced communities. In Los Angeles, he worked with migrant communities protesting air pollution downwind from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Since coming to Westport, his congregation has partnered with CIRI and other communities supporting immigrant and refugee populations, including setting up apartment for newly arriving refugees. He is active in anti-racism work in Westport and Bridgeport.
"Mondiant Dogon takes us on a journey through a heartrending window into the lives of the humans that live in Congo, Rwanda and Gihembe. Besides the heartbreaking accounts in the story, Mondiant also gives us the positive and human stories that do exist in his story, his families and his fellow refugees. This book should be read world-wide to counter the rhetoric of refugees as nothing but helpless, unable to do anything for their lives. This book shows otherwise.”—Abdi Nor Iftin, author of Call Me American
"This incandescent book will transform you. Those We Throw Away Are Diamonds offers an immersive, riveting look at one Bagogwe man’s singular journey from war in Congo to safety, in which good and evil are relative when war offers no good choices to anyone, when safety is an illusion, and when forgiveness is fraught. It is an uncompromising study in colonial powers as the root cause of rising displacement after centuries of redrawing boundaries, fomenting ethnic crises, and robbing regions of natural resources. But even as it offers high-level, international context, the book remains focused on the people whose lives are destroyed by war and policies, by disinterest and pity. Mondiant Dogon writes the stories of his community with such candor, compassion, and love that they can never be erased. I know I will never forget them.”—Jessica Goudeau, author of After the Last Border
Migrant and Refugee Support
Discuss Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee with Bruce McGuirk and other history buffs at Pages Through the Ages. Read the classic native American history by Dee Brown or watch the film version.
Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was really won.
Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library. This meeting will be virtual, so please register.
Community Partner: Westport Museum for History & Culture
Scott Gottlieb, MD will discuss how COVID-19 was too much for the American pandemic preparations and what steps need to be taken to combat the next outbreak with CNN's Alisyn Camerota. As the pandemic unfolded, Gottlieb was in regular contact with all the key players in Congress, the Trump administration, and the drug and diagnostic industries. He provides an inside account of how level after level of American government crumbled as the COVID-19 crisis advanced. A system-wide failure across government institutions left the nation blind to the threat, and unable to mount an effective response.
Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic argues we must fix our systems and prepare for a deadlier coronavirus variant, a flu pandemic, or whatever else nature may threaten us with. Gottlieb outlines policies and investments that are essential to prepare the United States and the world for future threats.
Register to view the event and purchase a signed copy of Uncontrolled Spread.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, MD, is a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a regular contributor to the business and financial news channel CNBC and the CBS News program Face the Nation. Dr. Gottlieb is a healthcare investing partner at the venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates and a director of Pfizer Inc., and Illumina, Inc. Time magazine has named him one of its “Fifty People Transforming Healthcare,” and Fortune magazine recognized him as one of the “World’s Fifty Greatest Leaders.” Dr. Gottlieb is an internal medicine physician and a member of the National Academy of Medicine..
Alisyn Camerota is a journalist, author, and anchor of CNN’s morning show New Day. In her three decades in journalism, Camerota has covered stories nationally and internationally, earning an Emmy Award for her breaking news coverage of the arrest of Roger Stone and the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for her breaking news coverage of Hurricane Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico. Camerota has also anchored a number of primetime specials, including Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment in America and The Hunting Ground: Sexual Assault on Campus.
Alisyn’s debut novel, Amanda Wakes Up, was selected as one of the best books of the year, and by Oprah Magazine as “a must read.”
Discuss I, Claudius with Bruce McGuirk when Pages Through the Ages returns. Read the classic historical novel by Robert Graves or watch the series to learn more about ancient Rome. Scandals, family friction and a look at ancient historians writing history are all in this one!
For more about the book, read this review; you'll want to grab the book. Copies are available at the Westport Library.
This discussion will be virtual, please register to attend.
Community Partner: Westport Museum for History & Culture
History of the World
Join a discussion with the Westport Museum of History and Culture and Van Gosse, author and professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College. Gosse will discuss his book, The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War, which offers a sweeping reappraisal of the formative era of American democracy from the Constitution’s ratification through Abraham Lincoln’s election, chronicling the rise of an organized, visible black politics focused on the quest for citizenship, the vote, and power within the free states.
To watch live and ask questions, visit the museum's Facebook page or YouTube channel.
Community Partner: Westport Museum of History and Culture
This book is perfect for:
Writer Elon Green talks with writer Hugh Ryan about his book, LAST CALL: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York.
Told in depth for the first time, LAST CALL is the gripping true crime story of The Last Call Killer, who preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the murders at the hands of this notorious serial killer have been almost entirely forgotten. This socially important piece of history is a nuanced testament to the vibrant gay community and the challenges they faced in the post AIDs milieu of early 90s New York City.
If you missed this event, you can watch the recording anytime in our video gallery.
Community Partner: Westport PRIDE
"LAST CALL, Elon Green's stunner of a debut, scaffolds the gripping account of a serial killer stalking the bars and hangouts of early 1990s queer New York over a heartfelt elegy to the lost lives of the murdered men, of a community ravaged by AIDS, and of a city in perpetual ruin and revival. This is a book I will reread again and again and find new and astonishing insights every time."
-Sarah Weinman, award-winning author of THE REAL LOLITA and editor of UNSPEAKABLE ACTS: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit & Obsession
More than impersonal crime reporting, Last Call brings to life the rich and tragic lives of The Last Call Killer’s victims and exposes the system that allowed them to be silenced. Called “astonishing,” “powerful,” and “meticulously
reported” - David Grann (New York Times bestselling author of KILLERS of the FLOWER MOON)
Elon Green has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Columbia Journalism Review, and appears in the anthology Unspeakable Acts: True Tales of Crime, Murder, Deceit & Obsession. He is an editor at Longform.
Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator. His first book, When Brooklyn Was Queer, won a 2020 New York City Book Award and was a New York Times Editors' Choice in 2019, and was a finalist for the Randy Shilts and Lambda Literary Awards. His next book, The Prison on Christopher Street, explores NYC's Women's House of Detention and the queer case for prison abolition. @Hugh_Ryan / hughryan.org
This book is perfect for:
Princeton historian and CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer shares the history of the "new" Republican party with Bruce McGuirk, leader of Pages Through the Ages, Westport Library's history discussion group. In BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party, Zelizer pinpoints the moment when our country was set on a path towards the current era of bitterly partisan politics, arguing that Newt Gingrich’s ruthless political strategies in the 1980s inspired some of the most divisive episodes in contemporary American politics.
If you missed this event, you can watch the recording in our video gallery here.
Community Partner: League of Women Voters of Westport
Elected to Congress in 1978, Gingrich quickly became one of the most powerful figures in America through a calculated campaign of attacks against political adversaries. He weaponized newly introduced government reforms against corruption and used them to attack his opponents. At the same time, post-Watergate investigative journalism--meant to hold Washington accountable--became a partisan weapon, as Gingrich and his allies manipulated well-meaning reporters. Gingrich routinely mixed fact and fiction and smeared opponents through a new, brass-knuckles form of politics. Ultimately, Gingrich orchestrated the demise of the most powerful Democrat in the country, Speaker Jim Wright, and led Republicans to their first majority in Congress in decades.
Gingrich’s brand of warfare worked not as a strategy for governance but as a path to power. What Gingrich planted, his fellow Republicans reaped, and Democrats failed to take an effective stand against this turn. Partisanship came to define how elected officials dealt with almost every issue, ranging from who should lead the parties to mundane budgeting matters to decisions over war and peace. We see Gingrich’s legacy throughout US politics today: The Republican Party’s denial of the 2020 election results, the misinformation campaign that contributed to the January 6th insurrection, and the enduring triumph of partisanship over political ideals all have links to the sea change that Gingrich created in the 1980s. Like a narrative alarm bell, BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE rings with urgency as Zelizer both enlightens us about a pivotal time in American life and provides essential context for America’s current political crisis.
Julian E. Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University, a CNN political analyst, and a contributor to NPR’s Here & Now. His most recent books are Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974 (co-authored with Kevin Kruse) and The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society, winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for best book on Congress. Zelizer has been awarded fellowships from the New-York Historical Society, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and New America.
Powers of Congress
How a Bill Becomes a Law
Biographies of American Politicians
In her book, WE NEED NEW STORIES: The Myths that Subvert Freedom, Nesrine Malik will examine six political myths used to deflect and discredit demands for social justice with Catherine Lewis.
Exploring how political myths function, she breaks down how they are employed to subvert calls for equality from historically disenfranchised groups. Interweaving reportage with an incendiary analysis of American history and politics, she offers a compelling account of how calls to preserve "free speech" are used against the vulnerable; how a fixation with "wokeness," "political correctness," and "cancel culture" is in fact an organized and well-funded campaign by elites; and how the fear of racial minorities and their “identity politics” obscures the biggest threat of all—white terrorism. What emerges is a radical framework for understanding the crises roiling American contemporary politics in this "Publishers Weekly most anticipated book of Spring 2021."
This is a virtual event, please register.
Purchase a copy of WE NEED NEW STORIES.
Nesrine Malik is an award-winning British-Sudanese columnist and features writer for the Guardian. WE NEED NEW STORIES is her first book. She lives in London.
Catherine Lewis, LCSW, MS, is a member of the teaching faculty at Ackerman Institute for the Family and the Director of Ackerman's Foster Care and Adoption Project (FCAP). Catherine specializes in working with individuals and families impacted by interpersonal and systemic trauma. She maintains a small private practice in New York City and Westport, working with families, couples and children and is a member of TEAM Westport.
Read The Guardian's review.
Towards a More Perfect Union: Confronting Racism
Own Voice Booklist
Stop Racial Injustice
As Confederate monuments come down in U.S. cities, America is once again grappling with its racist past. For Ty Seidule, a retired Brigadier General in the U.S. Army and Professor Emeritus of History at West Point, this issue is personal. Brought up to revere Robert E. Lee, Seidule once believed that the Confederates were romantic underdogs who lost the Civil War with honor. Seidule will discuss his new book, ROBERT E. LEE AND ME: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause, with Maggie Mudd, former Westport Library trustee. Seidule describes how he confronted the racist legacy at the core of his identity and challenges the persistent myths of the Lost Cause.
If you missed this event, you can watch the recording here.
“Seidule openly confronts his own indifference to racism, and this absorbing book will be of value to anyone interested in how history informs our present.”—Library Journal, Starred Review
“A timely, powerful, compelling – and courageous – book. In Robert E. Lee and Me, Brigadier General Ty Seidule takes readers on a fascinating intellectual journey...This is a book of enormous importance and tremendous insight, a book that only a true southerner – and a true historian – could have written.”—General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA.
Ty Seidule is Professor Emeritus of History at West Point where he taught for two decades. He served in the U.S. Army for thirty-six years, retiring as a brigadier general in 2020. He is the Chamberlain Fellow at Hamilton College as well as a New America Fellow. He has published numerous books, articles, and videos on military history including the award-winning West Point History of the Civil War. Ty graduated from Washington and Lee University and holds a PhD from the Ohio State University.
Maggie Mudd moved from New York to Westport 26 years ago to start married life and raise a family. She served 12 years as a Trustee of the Board of the Westport Library, which she credits with curing her trepidation about moving to a small town. She grew up in big cities around the world and had an international career, principally in banking; she also worked at the Commerce Department, the I.M.F., and the non-profit, Financial Services Volunteer Corps. As the daughter of a career diplomat, and with 2 career Army officers among her close relatives who served in sensitive spots, she naturally developed an amateur interest in political-military relations and international conflict prevention.
The American Civil War
Towards a More Perfect Union: Confronting Racism
American Government: The Thirteenth Amendment
"Race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice. I can’t think of a case that more urgently dramatizes the need for reform than what has happened to Anthony Ray Hinton."
Join acclaimed filmmaker Trey Ellis as he sits down with Anthony Ray Hinton for a riveting conversation about race, wrongful incarceration, and social justice.
Please note: This is a virtual event. REGISTER HERE
Anthony Ray Hinton walked out of the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, Alabama, a free man for the first time in 30 years at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, April 3, 2015.
“The sun does shine,” he said as he was embraced by family and friends.
Trey Ellis is an American Book Award Winning novelist, Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker, playwright and Professor of Screenwriting in the Graduate School of Film at Columbia University. Most recently he was an Executive Producer, interviewer and co-field director for the HBO documentary True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight For Equality, and Executive Producer and interviewer for King in the Wilderness, also for HBO.
Community Partner: United Nations Association of Southwest Connecticut
Stop Racial Injustice
African American History
Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, Black athletes played in the Negro Leagues--on teams coached by Black managers, cheered on by Black fans, and often run by Black owners. Join Andrea Williams when she discusses her new book, BASEBALL'S LEADING LADY with Ramin Ganeshram, executive director of the Westport Museum for History and Culture. This is the riveting true story of the woman at the center of the Black baseball world: Effa Manley, co-owner and business manager of the Newark Eagles.
This event will be appropriate for all ages.
Andrea Williams is an author and journalist who worked in marketing and development for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, before turning to writing full-time. She now lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee.
If you missed the event, you can watch the recording here.
Community Partner: Westport Museum for History and Culture
Ramin Ganeshram is both an award-winning journalist and historian who is currently the Executive Director of the Westport Museum for History & Culture (formerly Westport Historical Society). Ganeshram’s area of study has been colonial-era African American history, particularly focused on enslaved African-Americans and mixed-race people and has been widely recognized for evolving the 131 year old Westport Museum toward an inclusive interpretation of local history as part of the larger American story by focusing on race, ethnicity and gender. In recognition for her work as curator of Westport Museum’s 2018-19 exhibit, Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport, Ganeshram received the prestigious award for Leadership in the Museum Field from the New England Museum Association (NEMA). Remembered won awards of merit from the Connecticut League of History Associations (CLHO) and the coveted Award of Excellence from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH). In 2019, Ganeshram was also awarded the Paul Cuffee Memorial Fellowship for the For the Study of Minorities in American Maritime History. A professional chef, Ganeshram is also the author of 10 books focused on food, cooking and food history.
The Newark Public Library created a short video the Library produced about the Newark Eagles based on the team's business papers.
Women's History Month
Pastime: Celebrating Baseball
Sports, Sports, Sports!