Public Programs

Book Talks

The Last Hill: The Epic Story of a Ranger Battalion and the Battle that Defined WWII

by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Thursday, March 16, 2023 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual


They were known as “Rudder’s Rangers,” the most elite attack unit in the United States Army. In December 1944, Lt. Col. James Rudder’s 2d Battalion would form the spearhead into Germany, taking the war into Hitler’s homeland at last. In the process, Rudder was given two objectives: take Hill 400 and hold it by any means possible. The battle-hardened battalion had no idea that several German regiments, who greatly outnumbered the Rangers, had been given the exact same orders. The clash of the two determined forces was one of the bloodiest and most costly encounters of World War II.

Learn from best-selling authors Bob Drury and Tom Clavin about the brutal fighting and heavy casualties in the Army’s assault on Hill 400 in a saga of World War II winter combat.

Bob Drury is a three-time National Magazine Award finalist as well as a Pulitzer Prize nominee. Drury honed his investigative skills writing for all four New York City newspapers as well as a variety of national publications. His journalism career has arced from sports to crime to adventure travel to foreign correspondence. He is also the author, co-author, or editor of ten non-fiction books, including “Blood and Treasure,” “Valley Forge,” and “Lucky 666.”

Tom Clavin is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has worked as a newspaper editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for The New York Times. He has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and National Newspaper Association. His books include the bestselling “Frontier Lawmen” trilogy―”Wild Bill,” “Dodge City,” and “Tombstone”―and “Blood and Treasure” with Bob Drury.

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Nazis on the Potomac: The Top-Secret Intelligence Operation that Helped Win World War II

by Robert K. Sutton

Thursday, April 20, 2023 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual


Now an open space enjoyed by the public, Fort Hunt, Virginia, about 15 miles south of Washington, D.C., was the site of one of the highest-level, secret operations during World War II. Here, the most senior Nazi prisoners were interrogated, and captured German documents were translated and analyzed. Another section helped American airmen evade capture and smuggled radios, maps, another contraband to Americans held in POW camps.

The American servicemen at Fort Hunt, codenamed PO Box 1142, were bright, hard-working, and dedicated. Many of them were Jews who had escaped Nazi Germany as children. They were perfect for the difficult and complex job at hand. They never beat German prisoners but used other tricks to gather information.

“Nazis on the Potomac” by Robert Sutton tells the previously untold story, based upon oral history interviews with the veterans who worked at Fort Hunt.

Robert K. Sutton recently retired as chief historian of the National Parks Service after 33 years in the service. He has published a number of books including “Stark Mad Abolitionists: Lawrence, Kansas, and the Battle Over Slavery in the Civil War Era” (2017).

Register for “Nazis on the Potomac” virtual book talk

The Lost Paratroopers of Normandy

by Stephen Rabe

Monday, May 15, 2023 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual


The days and weeks surrounding June 6, 1944 have been extensively documented in histories of the Second World War, but less attention has been paid to the tremendous impact of these events on the populations nearby. “The Lost Paratroopers of Normandy” tells the inspiring yet heartbreaking story of ordinary people who did extraordinary things in defense of liberty and freedom. On D-Day, when transport planes dropped paratroopers from the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions hopelessly off-target into marshy waters in northwestern France, the 900 villagers of Graignes welcomed them with open arms. These villagers – predominantly women – provided food, gathered intelligence, and navigated the floods to retrieve the paratroopers’ equipment at great risk to themselves. When the attack by German forces on June 11 forced the overwhelmed paratroopers to withdraw, many made it to safety thanks to the help and resistance of the villagers. Historian Stephen G. Rabe, son of one of the paratroopers, meticulously documents the forgotten lives of those who participated in this integral part of D-Day history.

Register for “The Lost Paratroopers of Normandy” virtual book talk

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