Pages Through the Ages is a book discussion group focused on both historical non-fiction and fiction. This month the group will discuss the Pulitzer Prize winning The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

Copies of the books are available at The Westport Library patron service desk or electronically.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, this #1 New York Times bestseller chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. An outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is on the cusp of womanhood — where greater pain awaits. And so when Caesar, a slave who has recently arrived from Virginia, urges her to join him on the Underground Railroad, she seizes the opportunity and escapes with him. In Colson Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor: engineers and conductors operate a secret network of actual tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight from one state to the next, encountering, like Gulliver, strange yet familiar iterations of her own world at each stop.

History 101
History of the World

 

 

Learn about rare and antique books with Kenneth Gloss, proprietor of Boston’s Brattle Book Shop. Ken, a rare book specialist and appraiser who is frequently seen on TV, will talk in part about the history of his historic bookshop, where he is a second-generation owner. Ken will discuss growing up in the book business, show some of his favorite finds while enjoying “the thrill of the hunt,” and explain how he appraises books and manuscripts. He will share fascinating anecdotes about private and institutional collecting as well as guidelines for building and maintaining a significant collection. Bring your family heirlooms, as there will be time for Ken to look at a few antiques during this event!

Please register to attend this in-person event.

The Brattle Book Shop is one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian bookstores. 2023 is the 74th year of Gloss family ownership. Ken succeeded his late father, George Gloss, a well-known figure both in Boston and national antiquarian circles. He had worked in the store since childhood and chose to go into the book business rather than pursue a doctorate in chemistry. He became the sole proprietor upon his father's death in 1985. "I found that books were in my blood and that I would never be really happy if I abandoned the business."

Ken is a member are the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the New England Antiquarian Booksellers of America, the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers Association, the Committee for the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, and the Boston Society. He also is a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as serving on the Board of Overseers of the USS Constitution Museum.

Community Partner: Westport Book Sales

 

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk comes to Westport with a perceptive and provocative history of Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic negotiations in the Middle East. Master of the Game presents the unique challenges Kissinger and his successors have faced in an attempt to broker peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Indyk will be in conversation with Maggie Mudd, former Westport Library trustee.

Please register to attend this in-person event.

More than 20 years have elapsed since the United States last brokered a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. In that time, three presidents have tried and failed. Indyk — former U.S. ambassador to Israel and special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2013 — has experienced these political frustrations and disappointments firsthand. Now, in an attempt to understand the arc of American diplomatic influence in the Middle East, he returns to the origins of American-led peace efforts and to the man who created the Middle East peace process: Henry Kissinger. Based on newly available documents from American and Israeli archives, extensive interviews with Kissinger, and Indyk’s own interactions with some of the main players, the author takes readers inside the negotiations. Indyk’s account is that of a historian poring over the records of these events, as well as an inside player seeking to glean lessons for Middle East peacemaking. He makes clear that understanding Kissinger’s design for Middle East peacemaking is key to comprehending how — and how not — to make peace.

***

Martin Indyk is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, and special assistant to President Bill Clinton. Previously, Indyk was executive vice president of the Brookings Institution, where he had also served as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy program and the founding director of its Center for Middle East Policy. He served as President Obama’s special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from July 2013 to June 2014.

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 on 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 nonprofit Financial Services Volunteer Corps. As the daughter of a career diplomat, and with two 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.

Community partner: Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County and Jewish Book Council

Pages Through the Ages is a book discussion group hosted jointly by the Westport Museum for History and Culture and the Library. This month the group will discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

Meetings will alternate between the buildings, so please check the venue prior to attending! Copies of the books are available at the Westport Library patron service desk or electronically.

Registration suggested for this in-person event.

 


History 101
History of the World

 

 

Ken Burns' new three-part documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust, directed and produced by Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to the horrors of the Holocaust and the rise of authoritarianism in Europe. Join us for a brief screening and panel discussion moderated by CPTV host Ray Hardman, tracing the parallels between the decline of democracy leading up to World War II and the current threat to democracy today.

IF YOU MISSED THE PROGRAM, YOU MAY VIEW THE RECORDING HERE

The U.S. and the Holocaust, delves into America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. Inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition and supported by its historical resources, the film examines the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south. The series, written by Geoffrey Ward, sheds light on what the U.S. government and American people knew and did as the catastrophe unfolded in Europe.

Combining the first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, The U.S. and the Holocaust dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews and other targeted minorities faced in Europe or that they looked on with callous indifference. The film tackles a range of questions that remain essential to our society today, including how racism influences policies related to immigration and refugees as well as how governments and people respond to the rise of authoritarian states that manipulate history and facts to consolidate power.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series “Where Art Thou?” Ray was also the local voice of “Morning Edition” for 12 years on Connecticut Public Radio, and later served as the host of “All Things Considered.” Ray started his career at WFSU Radio in Tallahassee, Florida while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Opera Performance. He now lives in West Hartford with his wife Kathleen, his two teenage boys, and Charlie, the naughty Black Lab

Sarah Botstein is one of the filmmakers of Florentine Films and has for more than two decades produced some of the most popular and acclaimed documentaries on PBS. Her work with directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, includes Hemingway (2020), College Behind Bars (2010), The Vietnam War (2017), Prohibition (2011), The War (2007) and Jazz (2001). Currently, she is producing an epic six-part 12- hour series on the American Revolution and a project on Lyndon Johnson’s life andpresidency. In addition to the television broadcasts, Botstein works on digital and education initiatives, in collaboration with PBS Learning Media and WETA-TV. She helps to oversee content for Ken Burns UNUM, a web-based platform and mini series which utilizes scenes from Florentine Films body of work to highlight historical themes relevant to our time.

Dr. Glenn Dynner is the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic Studies and Director of the Bennett Center at Fairfield University. Since 2014, Dynner has served as professor of Religion and chair of the Religion Department at Sarah Lawrence College. He received his BA with honors in Comparative History from Brandeis University, an MA with honors from McGill University in Jewish Studies, and his PhD from Brandeis University in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies in 2002. Dynner is the author of two acclaimed books published by Oxford University Press: Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society (2006), winner of the Koret Publication Prize and a National Jewish Book Award Finalist, and Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, & Life in the Kingdom of Poland (2013), which received honorable mention for the 2013 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award. The author of numerous journal articles and essays in edited volumes, he is currently working on a book titled The Light of Learning: The Hasidic Revival in Poland on the Eve of the Holocaust. Recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019-20, he was associate editor of the journal Jewish History from 2016-18 and currently serves as co-editor of Shofar: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies. Dynner is a member of the Scholarly Advisory Board of the YIVO Institute and is the YIVO representative on the Center for Jewish History’s Academic Advisory Council. He is a member of The Academic Advisory Board of the Yale Fortunoff Archive and serves on the editorial boards of POLIN and East European Jewish Affairs.

Chris Vials is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut-Storrs, where he is also the Director of American Studies. His broader research interests include class and racial formation, popular culture, ethnic studies, social movements (left and right) and working class cultural studies. Most of his work thus far has focused on class, race, and social movements in the 20th century United States. Since 2012, much of his work has been on antifascism and American fascist movements.  His second monograph, titled Haunted by Hitler: Liberals, the Left, and the Fight against Fascism in the United States (Massachusetts, 2014) traces the history of antifascist politics in the United States since the 1930s. He is also the editor of American Literature in Transition: 1940-1950 (Cambridge, 2017), and is the co-editor of  The U.S. Antifascism Reader with Bill Mullen (Verso, 2020). He has appeared on PBS, NPR, and CBC radio to discuss manifestations of fascism in the United States.

Community Partners: Jewish Federation of Greater Fairfield County, Connecticut Public Television

Pages Through the Ages is a book discussion group hosted jointly by the Westport Museum for History and Culture and the Library. Compare and contrast The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli and Robert Greene's The 48 Laws of Power.

Meetings will alternate between the buildings, so please check the venue prior to attending! Copies of the books are available at the Westport Library patron service desk or electronically.
Registration suggested for this in-person event.

There have been many political philosophies published throughout the time of literate man, but few have made such an impact in so few words as Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince. This eminently quotable treatise on the nature of rulers is unsettling in that it does not merely discuss the specific political geography of 16th century Europe, a world comprised of kings and nobles who ruled absolutely; it has endured for nearly 500 years because it is an all-encompassing understanding of men in power, and the common traits, motives and struggles which have characterized leaders from Roman emperors to modern-day presidents.

 


History 101
History of the World

 

 

Pages Through the Ages is a book discussion group hosted jointly by the Westport Museum for History and Culture and the Library. Discuss A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles with Bruce McGuirk and other history buffs. Meetings will alternate between the buildings, so please check the venue prior to attending! Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library patron service desk or electronically.

Registration suggested for this in-person event.

 


History

 

 

Pages Through the Ages is a book discussion group hosted jointly by the Westport Museum for History and Culture and the Library. Discuss Emma Southon's A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Bruce McGuirk and other history buffs. Meetings will alternate between the buildings, so please check the venue prior to attending! Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library patron service desk or electronically.

Registration suggested for this in-person event.

This is a cultural history of murder in Ancient Rome. In Ancient Rome all the best stories have one thing in common - murder. Romulus killed Remus to found the city; Caesar was assassinated to save the Republic. Caligula was butchered in the theatre, Claudius was poisoned at dinner and Galba was beheaded in the forum. In one fifty-year period, twenty-six emperors were murdered.

But what did killing mean in a city where gladiators fought to the death to sate a crowd? Emma Southon examines real-life homicides from Roman history to explore how perpetrator, victim and the act itself were regarded by ordinary people. Inside Ancient Rome's unique culture of crime and punishment, we see how the Romans viewed life, death, and what it means to be human.

Read a review.

Community Partner: Westport Museum for History & Culture

 


History
Non-Fiction 101

 

 

NOW A VIRTUAL EVENT!

Howard Blum returns to the Westport Library to discuss his newest history, The Spy Who Knew Too Much: An Ex-CIA Officer's Quest Through a Legacy of Betrayal with Maggie Mudd. A retired spy gets back into the game to solve a perplexing case—and reconcile with his daughter, a CIA officer who married into the very family that derailed his own CIA career—in this compulsive true-life tale of vindication and redemption, filled with drama, intrigue, and mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Goodnight, It’s a real-life thriller whose stunning conclusion will make headline news.

In these days of a new Cold War, the revelations in The Spy Who Knew Too Much are chilling. They warn that the past is never past – and that Putin’s Russia is locked in a deadly battle with the CIA, the consequences of which will continue to shake the world order. The invasion of Ukraine is an overt action in a long-running covert secret war of spy vs. spy, told here in headline-making detail.

IF YOU MISSED THE CONVERSATION, PLEASE WATCH RECORDING HERE.

Howard Blum is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner American Lightning, as well as Wanted!The Gold of ExodusGanglandThe Floor of Heaven, and, most recently, a 2018 New York Times Notable Book: In the Enemy’s House. His most recent book is Night of the Assassins. Blum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

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.

This book is perfect for:

 

View the film, FOUR WINTERS before its official release and join a discussion afterward between Julia R. Mintz, the film's writer/director/producer and Carin Savel, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County.

Deep within the forests of World War II Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the Ukraine, more than 25,000 Jews fought back against the Nazis and their collaborators. Many of these Jewish Partisans had witnessed the murders of their families and friends before escaping into the forest. Often based in mere holes in the ground and armed with whatever weapons they could build, trade or steal, Jewish men and women organized and fought, against the better-trained and better-equipped war machine that Hitler was rolling across Eastern Europe. The Jewish Partisans executed tactical missions including blowing up trains, bridges, police stations, and telegraph lines. They carried out dangerous assignments, whenever possible carrying two grenades, one for their target and one for themselves in case of capture. By 1944, Jewish Partisan vigilance had made the forests so dangerous that Nazi soldiers were afraid to enter. This film includes interviews with the last living Partisans and shares personal letters, journals, rare film footage and other artifacts to illuminate the many ways Jews resisted the Nazis.

"I set out to make this film in search of an answer to my long-lasting childhood question: “Why didn’t the Jews fight back?” What I discovered, through the survivors’ searing memories, were riveting stories of courageous and inspiring resistance – a chapter in our collective history about the Jewish Partisans that needed to be told.”   Julia Mintz, Director FOUR WINTERS

Please register for a seat at the screening.

World Festival Premiere at Lincoln Center, New York Jewish Film Festival, Winner of Best Documentary, David A. Stein Award at Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Featured as the “Centerpiece Documentary” at the Washington DC JxJ, Featured as the “Centerpiece Documentary” at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, Tied for Audience Award at Palm Beach Jewish Film Festival, invited for a theatrical run at the Film Forum in NYC, Invited for a theatrical run at the Laemmle Theater in LA, Awarded Stephen Spielberg’s Jewish Story Partners Grant 2022

Community Partner: Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County

Julia Mintz is a writer, producer and director whose work focuses on narratives of bravery and resistance against unimaginable odds. She has been on the producing team for films that have been shortlisted for the Academy Awards, have premiered at Cannes, Sundance and TriBeCa, and won Emmy, Peabody and festival awards. Her films can be seen on HBO, PBS, American Masters, NETFLIX and Amazon. Mintz has worked on many of the country’s most celebrated documentary films. Recent projects include Mr. SOUL!, which premiered at TriBeCa and was short-listed for an Academy Award®. She co-produced Joe Papp in Five Acts and post-produced Get Me Roger Stone, both premiered at TriBeCa. Mintz produced the Emmy-nominated California State of Mind, and post-produced Soundtrack for a Revolution, short-listed for an Academy Award® Best Documentary, premiered at Cannes, nominated for Writers Guild; Nanking, short-listed for Academy Award® which won Peabody®, Emmy®, and Editorial Award at Sundance; and Love Free or Die: Story of Bishop Gene Robinson, winner Sundance Jurors Choice. Additional projects include Muscle Shoals, premiered Sundance; Equity, premiered Sundance; Bing Crosby RediscoveredLife and Times of Frida Kahlo, Emmy® nominee; and Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual. Julia has also produced programming for Discovery, NASA, National Geographic, NHK and SONY. FOUR WINTERS is slated for theatrical release in Fall 2022.

Carin Savel is the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County. Carin recently completed service as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, where she led the organization’s fundraising, program initiatives and community outreach. Carin mentored a dedicated team that highlighted Federation’s relevancy and visibility, increased revenue, improved outreach efforts, and created meaningful collaborations, before and throughout the pandemic. A strong advocate for women’s philanthropy and meaningful community impact, Carin combines creative intelligence, a broad sense of changing social and economic environments with effective communication skills.

Westporters write books on a wide variety of subjects in all sorts of genres. Authors Gabi Coatsworth and Ted Aldrich will share their new books - a memoir and a history with our community. Saugatuck Scribes is a series  that showcases Westport writers and their newest books.

If you missed the event, you may watch recording here.

In her memoir Love's Journey Home, Gabi Coatsworth never meant to fall for the handsome American. And after walking away because he was married, the British single mother thought she'd go forever without seeing him again. But her move to Chicago five years later for a career opportunity led to their reunion, a rekindled romance, and a wedding. Forging a thirty-year life together through ups and downs, Gabi finally gave up when her husband's alcoholism became more than she could bear. But not long after, he received a devastating medical diagnosis. Knowing she would regret it if she stayed away, she returned home to care for him.  And unexpectedly learned it's never too late for a second chance…

 

The Partnership: George Marshall, Henry Stimson, and the Extraordinary Collaboration that Won World War II tells the story of how these two men worked together to win World War II and reshape not only the United States, but the world. The dual biography focuses on their sharply contrasting paths to power and how they transformed an outdated, poorly equipped army into a well-equipped modern fighting force of millions.

Award-winning writer Gabi Coatsworth was born in Britain and work brought her and her two children to America. She lives in Connecticut in a cottage that’s American on the outside, and English inside. If she’s not reading, writing, or traveling, she’ll be in her flower garden, wondering whether to weed, and holding a cup of her preferred beverage, strong English tea. The rest of the time she’s working on her next novel.

Edward “Ted” Aldrich’s love of history goes back to his early childhood in Rowayton, CT. After attending Colgate University and Boston College (MBA), he began a long career in banking working in New York, Zurich, and London (he currently works for Auramet Trading). The Partnership is his first book.  Like Gabi Coatsworth, Aldrich is also an avid tea drinker and enthusiastic gardener.

 

 

 

 

 


Biography & Memoir
History
Historical Fiction

 

 

 

Pages Through the Ages is a book discussion group hosted jointly by the Westport Museum for History and Culture and the Library. Discuss Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927 with Bruce McGuirk and other history buffs. Meetings will alternate between the buildings, so please check the venue prior to attending!

The summer of 1927 began with Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth was closing in on the home run record. In Newark, New Jersey, Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly sat atop a flagpole for twelve days, and in Chicago, the gangster Al Capone was tightening his grip on bootlegging. The first true “talking picture,” Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer, was filmed, forever changing the motion picture industry. One Summer transforms it all into narrative nonfiction of the highest order.   Read the New York Times Review. 

Registration suggested. If you wish to join via Zoom, please register here. 

Copies of the book are available at the Westport Library.

Community Partner: Westport Museum for History & Culture

 


History
Biography & Memoir

 

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