Biographies & Memoirs

Great Lives Lecture Series: The Pacific Admirals of World War II

Cover to The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—The Five-Star Admirals Wh

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 26, with a lecture on the Pacific admirals of World War II by Walter R. Borneman, author of The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King—The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea.

"They were an unlikely quartet. All were graduates of the United States Naval Academy, but each came to display wildly different personality and leadership styles. Nimitz was the epitome of the stern but loving grandfather, but heaven help the man who let him down. Halsey was the hale-hearty fellow who through charisma and rough charm came to personify the American war effort in the Pacific. Leahy was the steady hand—almost invisible to the public but essential to Franklin Roosevelt’s decision-making. King was the demanding, hard-edged perfectionist who gave no quarter to superiors and subordinates alike and who was seemingly quite proud of his terrifying reputation.  These four Fleet Admirals played critical and occasionally controversial roles in the defining events, tactics, and developing weapons that won World War II, including submarines, aircraft carriers, and naval air power."
 
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.
 
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George
Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
 
For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:
 
Admiral “Bull” Halsey: The Life and Wars of the Navy’s Most Controversial Commander by John Wukovits
Economically and convincingly refurbishes a WWII hero inappropriately grown unfashionable. (Publishers Weekly)

The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King – the Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter R. Borneman
Drawing upon journals, ship logs, and other primary sources, he brings an incredible historical moment to life.  (Amazon.com)
 

Great Lives Lecture Series: Winston Churchill

Cover to The Last Lion by William Manchester

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, March 19, with a lecture on Winston Churchill by Jeremy Black, author of Rethinking Military History and War and the World: Military Power and the Fate of Continents, 1450-2000.

"Winston Churchill was, by any standards, one of the greatest lives of the 20th century.  During his half-century career as a military and political leader in Great Britain, Churchill endured numerous vicissitudes and controversies, reaching his zenith as Prime Minister during World War II.  His steadfastness in the face of Nazi aggression made him a heroic figure, not only in England, but in the United States, where he became the first person to ever be made an honorary citizen.  Jeremy Black’s lecture will focus on Churchill as wartime leader and will emphasize the role of the individual and the extent to which the outcome of WWII was far from inevitable.  He will also discuss Churchill in light of the complexities of a late imperial figure surviving into the age of the Cold War."
 
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.
 
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George
Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
 
For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Churchill by Paul Johnson (book and audiobook)
Acclaimed historian Paul Johnson shows how Churchill's immense adaptability combined with his natural pugnacity to make him a formidable leader for the better part of a century. Rich with anecdote and quotation, Johnson's narrative illustrates the British statesman's humor, resilience, courage, and eccentricity.  (catalog summary)

Great Lives Lecture Series: Walter Cronkite

Book cover of Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, March 12, with a lecture on Walter Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley, author of Walter Cronkite:

Drawing on unprecedented access to Cronkite's private papers as well as interviews with his family and friends, Douglas Brinkley now brings this American icon into focus as never before. (books.google.com)

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site. All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public. For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Cronkite Remembers by Walter Cronkite (audiobook and videocassette)
Cronkite recounts the journey of his life and his extraordinary career in broadcasting, including archival material and personal interviews.  (catalog summary)

From Cronkite to Colbert:  The Evolution of Broadcast News by Geoffrey Baym
In a time when increasing numbers of people are tuning out the nightly news and media consumption is falling, the late-night comedians have become some of the most important newscasters in the country. From Cronkite to Colbert explains why.  (catalog summary)

Great Lives Lecture Series: Marian Anderson

Book cover of The Sound of Freedom by Raymond Arsenault

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 28, with a lecture on Marian Anderson by Raymond Arsenault, author of The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert that Awakened America:

This is the dramatic story behind Marian Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial-an early milestone in civil rights history-on the seventieth anniversary of her performance. On Easter Sunday 1939, the brilliant vocalist Marian Anderson sang before a throng of seventy-five thousand at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington-an electrifying moment and an under appreciated milestone in civil rights history. Though she was at the peak of a dazzling career, Anderson had been barred from performing at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall because she was black. When Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR over the incident and took up Anderson's cause, however, it became a national issue. Like a female Jackie Robinson-but several years before his breakthrough-Anderson rose to a pressure-filled and politically charged occasion with dignity and courage, and struck a vital blow for civil rights. In the 1963 March on Washington, Martin Luther King would follow, literally, in Anderson's footsteps. (Publisher's description)
Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site. All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

Great Lives Lecture Series: Marilyn Monroe

Book cover of Fragments by Marilyn Monroe

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, February 26, with a lecture on Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe by Carl Rollyson, author of Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress.

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe
This work is a collection of Marilyn Monroe's written artifacts, notes to herself, letters, even poems, in her own handwriting, never before published, along with rarely seen intimate photos. These bits of text, jotted in notebooks, typed on paper, or written on hotel letterhead, reveal a woman who loved deeply and strove to perfect her craft.  (catalog summary)

Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe by Anthony Summers
Published in 1985.  “An important contribution to the literature that seeks to explain and understand the fragile psyche of this truly and tragically wounded soul.” (Amazon.com)

Great Lives Lecture Series: Houdini

Book cover of Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man by John Kasson

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 14, with a lecture on Houdini by John Kasson, author of Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man:

 Houdini, Tarzan, and the Perfect Man considers the surprisingly complex evolution in representations of the white male body in late-nineteenth-century America, during years of rapid social transformation. John F. Kasson argues that three exemplars of physical prowess - Eugen Sandow, an international vaudeville star and bodybuilder; Edgar Rice Burroughs's fictional hero Tarzan; and the great escape artist Harry Houdini - represented both an ancient ideal of manhood and a modern commodity. They each extolled self-development,self-fulfillment, and escape from the confines of civilization while at the same time reasserting its values. This liberally illustrated, persuasively argued study analyzes the thematic links among these figures and places them in their rich historical and cultural context.

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

For more on this topic, check out these items from the library:

Houdini!:  The Career of Ehrich Weiss:  American Self-Liberator, Europe’s Eclipsing Sensation, World’s Handcuff King & Prison Breaker by Kenneth Silverman
Pulitzer winning author Silverman delivers an entertaining biography with a multitude of photographs.

Houdini:  Unlocking the Mystery directed by Michael Meadows (DVD)
Explores the life and magic of the great escape artist through his most prized possessions – the Chinese Water Torture Cell, the Milkcan, his straitjackets, handcuffs, and lockpicks.  (catalog summary)

Great Lives Lecture Series: Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia by Malcolm Brown

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuessday, February 12, with a lecture on Lawrence of Arabia by Nabil Al-Tikriti.

Springing from a somewhat unorthodox and never legalized union between an Anglo-Irish petty lord and his governess, Thomas Edward Lawrence combined an elite Oxford education, wartime opportunity, and an impressive knack for self-promotion to emerge as one of the most famous characters of the Great War. Symbolic of Britain’s imperial ambitions in the Arab World, Lawrence successfully used his liberal arts education in history, archaeology, and Oriental Studies to provide key contributions to the negotiation process which shaped today’s Middle East. After the war, with the help of American journalist Lowell Thomas’ promotion efforts, Lawrence’s reputation grew steadily, until the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” ensured a continuing mythical status.

Find out more about this lecture on the University of Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.

Find out more about Lawrence of Arabia by checking out these items from the library:

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda
[T]he story of an epic life on a grand scale: a revealing, in-depth, and gripping biography of the extraordinary, mysterious, and dynamic Englishman whose daring exploits and romantic profile including his blond, sun-burnished good looks and flowing white robes made him an object of intense fascination, still famous the world over as "Lawrence of Arabia."  As this magisterial work demonstrates, Lawrence remains one of the most unique and fascinating figures of modern times, the arch-hero whose life is at once a triumph and a sacrifice and whose capacity to astonish still remains undimmed. (catalog summary)

Lawrence of Arabia produced by Flashback Television Ltd. for the Biography Channel (DVD)
Ride into the desert with the Briton who helped end centuries of Ottoman domination in the Arabian peninsula.  (catalog summary)

Great Lives Lecture Series: Brigham Young

Brigham Young, Pioneer Prophet

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Thursday, February 7, with a lecture on Brigham Young by John Turner author of Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet:

Brigham Young at age forty lived in western Illinois, was a faithful disciple of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, and had but one wife. He was known for his spiritual fire, collegial leadership, and tireless missionary service. Within ten years, much had changed. By then, Young had led thousands of religious refugees to the Salt Lake Valley, stood at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the governor of the newly created Utah Territory, and had been sealed in marriage to fifty-five wives. Young, moreover, had become a very different sort of leader: hyper-sensitive to criticism, vigilant against potential rivals within the church, and violent in his rhetorical responses to everything from criminality to U.S. interference in Utah affairs. In his talk, John Turner will follow Brigham Young from Illinois to Utah, explaining how that transition affected both Young’s personality and the place of his church within American society.

Find out more about this lecture on Mary Washington's web site.
 
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
 

The Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Revolutionized American Cuisine by Dave DeWitt

The Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Revolutionized Ame

The Founding Foodies, by Dave DeWitt, is an easy-going chat on matters historic and gastronomic in the Old Dominion and beyond. DeWitt dismisses some food writers’ contentions that colonial food was poor stuff.  Having attended Mr. Jefferson’s university and being thus familiar with the third president’s many accomplishments, he knew that this common opinion was surely an overgeneralization.  Jefferson, as well as Washington and Franklin, were trend-setters—learned men who easily absorbed and promulgated cultured styles of fashion, philosophy, architecture, and, yes, food, derived European trends, especially their French allies.

Besides these Founding Fathers’ culinary preferences, DeWitt also looks at curious historical periods of Virginia history where food, or lack of same, played a noteworthy role.  At Jamestown, the horrors of spoiled ships’ rations and the colonists’ inexperience with hunting and fishing made them very dependent on the native tribes’ shared knowledge. They did learn to hunt and fish which was well since the supply ship was delayed, nearly resulting in John Smith being hanged.  Desperate to turn a profit in the days before tobacco, the settlers took up fishing on a grand scale—thousands of pounds of salted cod to England and dried fish to Spain.

Great Lives Lecture Series: Cleopatra

Cleopatra: A Biography by Duane W. Roller

The University of Mary Washington's 2013 Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, January 29, with a lecture on Cleopatra by Duane W. Roller author of Cleopatra: A Biography:

Few personalities from classical antiquity are more famous-yet more poorly understood-than Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt. In the centuries since her death in 30 BC, she has been endlessly portrayed in the arts and popular culture, from Shakespearean tragedy to paintings, opera, and movies. Despite the queen's enduring celebrity, however, many have dismissed her as a mere seductress. In this major new biography, Duane Roller reveals that Cleopatra was in fact a learned and visionary leader whose overarching goal was always the preservation of her dynasty and kingdom. Roller's authoritative account is the first to be based solely on primary materials from the Greco-Roman period: literary sources, Egyptian documents (Cleopatra's own writings), and representations in art and coinage produced while she was alive. His compelling portrait of the queen illuminates her prowess as a royal administrator who managed a large and diverse kingdom extending from Asia Minor to the interior of Egypt, as a naval commander who led her own fleet in battle, and as a scholar and supporter of the arts. Even her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius-the source of her reputation as a supreme seductress who drove men to their doom-were carefully crafted state policies: she chose these partners to insure the procreation of successors who would be worthy of her distinguished dynasty.

Find out more about this lecture on Mary Washington's web site.

All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.