Biography

Biography

episodes

Interviews with memoirists and biographers about their new books.

Kerry Wallach, "Traces of a Jewish Artist: The Lost Life and Work of Rahel Szalit" (Penn State UP, 2024)

April 16, 2024

Traces of a Jewish Artist

Kerry Wallach
Hosted by Paul Lerner

Graphic artist, illustrator, painter, and cartoonist Rahel Szalit (1888-1942) was among the best-known Jewish women artists in Weimar Berlin. But afte…

Hume, the Epicureans, and the Origins of Liberalism: A Conversation with Aaron Zubia

April 10, 2024

Hume, the Epicureans, and the Origins of Liberalism

Aaron Alexander Zubia
Hosted by Annika Nordquist

Enlightenment philosopher David Hume enjoyed a tremendous influence on intellectual history. What did Hume believe, why was it so controversial at the…

Traian Sandu, "Ceausescu: The Ambiguous Dictator" (Perrin, 2023)

April 10, 2024

Ceausescu

Traian Sandu
Hosted by Roland Clark

Today I talked to Traian Sandu about his book Ceausescu: Le dictateur ambigu (Perrin, 2023). Born in January 1918, Nicolae Ceauşescu began his appre…

Sarah Horowitz, "The Red Widow: The Scandal That Shook Paris and the Woman Behind It All" (Sourcebooks, 2022)

April 5, 2024

The Red Widow

Sarah Horowitz
Hosted by Roxanne Panchasi

Sex. Lies. Murder. Sarah Horowitz's The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind It All (Sourcebooks, 2022) is a book I literally …

Patrick Olivelle, "Ashoka: Portrait of a Philosopher King" (Yale UP, 2024)

April 4, 2024

Ashoka

Patrick Olivelle
Hosted by Raj Balkaran

Ashoka: Portrait of a Philosopher King (Yale UP, 2024) is the first biography of the great Emperor Ashoka relying solely on his own words. Ashoka soug…

Marie de Vignerot, Richelieu's Forgotten Advisor and Heiress: A Conversation with Bronwen McShea

April 2, 2024

Marie de Vignerot, Richelieu's Forgotten Advisor and Heiress

Bronwen McShea
Hosted by Annika Nordquist

Despite being one of the most influential women of 17th century France, Marie de Vignerot has been largely forgotten. The niece, heiress, and advisor …

Paul Carter, "Richard Nixon: California's Native Son" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

March 29, 2024

Richard Nixon

Paul Carter
Hosted by Caleb Zakarin

Born in Yorba Linda and raised in Whittier, California, Nixon succeeded early in life, excelling in academics while enjoying athletics through high sc…

Jamie Goodall, "Daring Exploits of Pirate Black Sam Bellamy: From Cape Cod to the Caribbean" (History Press, 2023)

March 29, 2024

Daring Exploits of Pirate Black Sam Bellamy

Jamie Goodall
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

In 1717, the Council of Trade and Plantations received "agreeable news" from New England. "Bellamy with his ship and Company" had perished on the shoa…

Robin Waterfield, "Plato of Athens: A Life in Philosophy" (Oxford UP, 2023)

March 28, 2024

Plato of Athens

Robin Waterfield

The first ever biography of the founder of Western philosophy Considered by many to be the most important philosopher ever, Plato was born into a well…

Adam Lazarus, "The Wingmen: The Unlikely, Unusual, Unbreakable Friendship Between John Glenn and Ted Williams" (Citadel Press, 2023)

March 27, 2024

The Wingmen

Adam Lazarus
Hosted by Paul Knepper

It was 1953, the Korean War in full throttle, when two men—already experts in their fields—crossed the fabled 38th Parallel into Communist airspace ab…

Brent M. Rogers, "Buffalo Bill and the Mormons" (U Nebraska Press, 2024)

March 24, 2024

Buffalo Bill and the Mormons

Brent M. Rogers
Hosted by Joseph Stuart

In this never-before-told history of Buffalo Bill and the Mormons, Brent M. Rogers presents the intersections in the epic histories of William F. "Buf…

Paul Bew, "Ancestral Voices in Irish Politics: Judging Dillon and Parnell" (Oxford UP, 2023)

March 22, 2024

Ancestral Voices in Irish Politics

Paul Bew
Hosted by Charles Coutinho

The story of Charles Stewart Parnell, one of the greatest Irish leaders of the nineteenth century and also one of the most renowned figures of the 188…

David Ostrowsky, "Roberto Alomar: The Complicated Life and Legacy of a Baseball Hall of Famer" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2024)

March 22, 2024

Roberto Alomar

David Ostrowsky
Hosted by Paul Knepper

Roberto Alomar was not just a five-tool Hall of Famer; he was a magician on the diamond, a generational talent whose defensive wizardry left teammates…

Amy Absher, "Fritzie: The Invented Life and Violent Murder of a Flapper" (U Oklahoma Press, 2023)

March 21, 2024

Fritzie

Amy Absher

One January day in 1923, a young boy came across the dead body of a twenty-year-old woman on a San Diego beach. When the police arrived on the scene, …

Ashok Gopal, "A Part Apart: The Life and Thought of B.R. Ambedkar" (Navayana Press, 2023)

March 18, 2024

A Part Apart

Ashok Gopal
Hosted by Jessica Zu

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956) is perhaps the most iconised historical figure in India. Born into a caste deemed ‘unfit for human association’, he…

The Pioneering Life of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

March 18, 2024

The Pioneering Life of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Manu Bhagavan

Manu Bhagavan and Ellen Chesler discuss Bhagavan’s latest book on Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Penguin, 2023), admired sister of India’s founding Prime Mini…

Elizabeth B. White and Joanna Sliwa, "The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Woman Who Rescued Thousands of Poles During the Holocaust" (Simon & Schuster, 2024)

March 17, 2024

The Counterfeit Countess

Elizabeth B. White and Joanna Sliwa
Hosted by Piotr Kosicki

World War II and the Holocaust have been the subject of many remarkable stories of resistance and rescue, but The Counterfeit Countess: The Jewish Wom…

Rebecca Rego Barry, "The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells" (Post Hill Press, 2024)

March 12, 2024

The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells

Rebecca Rego Barry
Hosted by Miranda Melcher

The Vanishing of Carolyn Wells: Investigations into a Forgotten Mystery Author (PostHill Press, 2024) by Rebecca Rego Barry is the first biography of …

Ilyon Woo, "Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom" (Simon and Schuster, 2023)

March 9, 2024

Master Slave Husband Wife

Ilyon Woo
Hosted by Katrina Anderson

Ilyon Woo's Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom (Simon and Schuster, 2023) tells the remarkable true story of Ellen and…

Patrick Olivelle, "Ashoka: Portrait of a Philosopher King" (Yale UP, 2024)

March 8, 2024

Ashoka

Patrick Olivelle
Hosted by Kshitij Jain

There are few historical figures more integral to South Asian history than Emperor Ashoka, a third-century BCE king who ruled over a larger area of th…