Public Programs

Book Talks

Divided on D-Day: How Leadership Failures Threatened the Normandy Invasion

by Edward E. Gordon

Thursday, June 20, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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Join co-author of “Divided at D-Day” Edward Gordon for a detailed look at the ways in which national rivalries and personality conflicts among Allied commanders adversely affected the 1944 D-Day invasion and its aftermath during World War II.

Edward E. Gordon, Ph.D., is a professional historian, researcher, writer, and speaker. For a twenty-year period he taught history courses at DePaul University Chicago and also business subjects at Loyola University Chicago and Northwestern. He is the author or co-author of 19 books and has written over 300 articles in journals and trade publications.

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Burnside’s Boys: The Union’s Ninth Corps and the Civil War in the East

by Darin Wipperman

Thursday, July 18, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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Author Darin Wipperman vividly reconstructs life — and death — in the Union Army’s IX Corps during the Civil War. These tough troops fought in an astounding number of eastern theater campaigns and battles, including the 1862 coastal expeditions in the Carolinas, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, and their final action at the Siege of Petersburg at the war’s end. And all the while they were led by their intriguing general, Ambrose Burnside.

Darin Wipperman is the author of “First for The Union: Life and Death in a Civil War Army Corps from Antietam to Gettysburg.” He served for 17 years as an employee of the U.S. Government, then was a reporter and editor for weekly newspapers in northern New Hampshire prior to retirement.

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Valiant Women: The Extraordinary American Servicewomen Who Helped Win World War II

by Lena Andrews

Thursday, August 15, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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“Valiant Women” is the story of the 350,000 American women who served in uniform during World War II as pilots, code-breakers, ordnance experts, gunnery instructors, chemists, translators, parachute riggers, truck drivers, pigeon trainers, and more. These incredible women served in every service branch, in every combat theater, and in nearly two-thirds of the available military occupations at the time. Historian Lena Andrews now offers the definitive account of these American servicewomen based on new archival research, firsthand interviews with surviving veterans, and a deep professional understanding of military history and strategy.

Lena Andrews is a military analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency. She has a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in international relations and security studies. She has spent more than a decade in foreign policy, having previously worked at the RAND Corporation and the United States Institute of Peace.

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No Sacrifice Too Great: The 1st Infantry Division in World War II

by Gregory Fontenot

Thursday, September 19, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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In telling the story of the U.S. Army’s 1st Division—”The Big Red One”—in World War II, Gregory Fontenot includes stories of individual Soldiers from high-ranking officers to enlisted men fresh off the streets of Brooklyn, both during and after the conflict. With an emphasis on D-Day in 1944, Fontenot shows how the division adapted to dynamic battlefield conditions throughout the course of its deployment during World War II by innovating and altering behavior, including tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Gregory Fontenot, a retired U.S. Army colonel, was lead author of “On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom.” He is also author of “The 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm, 1970–1991,” winner of the 2017 Army Historical Foundation award for Unit History.

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The Cutting-Off Way: Indigenous Warfare in Eastern North America, 1500-1800

by Wayne E. Lee

Thursday, October 17, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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Incorporating archeology, anthropology, cartography, and Indigenous studies into military history, Wayne Lee shows that fighting forces bring their own cultural traditions, values, and limitations onto the battlefield. He looks at a “cutting-off way of war” to show that Native Americans often tried to surprise their targets, “cut off” individuals found getting water, wood, or out hunting, and rarely attacked strong forts or towns. Lee shows that Indians also used these tactics during the American Revolution.

Wayne E. Lee, Ph.D. is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina. He is co-author of “The Other Face of Battle,” and more recently, “The Cutting-Off Way: Indigenous Warfare in Eastern North America, 1500–1800.” Lee was an officer in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 1992, and served in the 1991 Gulf War.

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On Great Fields: The Life and Unlikely Heroism of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

by Ronald White

Thursday, November 21, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain of Maine was a trained minister and professor at Bowdoin College before the Civil War. During the bloody conflict he entered the Union Army, and rose to the rank of major general. Historian Ronald White details Chamberlain’s remarkable career, including his regiment’s heroic actions at the 1863 battle of Gettysburg.

Ronald C. White is the New York Times bestselling author of biographies “A. Lincoln” and “American Ulysses,” as well as three other books on Lincoln. He earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University.

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George Washington in the French and Indian War

by Scott C. Patchan

Thursday, December 12, 2024 | 7 p.m. ET | Virtual
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George Washington has frequently been criticized for his first military campaign, which sparked the French and Indian War. In 1754 Washington was an ambitious yet inexperienced young officer, eager to carry out his orders on behalf of Virginia and the British king. While his campaign failed to meet its objectives, Washington experienced his first taste of military command, dealing with situations that ultimately proved beyond his control, and learned lessons that made him into the man who led the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War. Historian Scott Patchan delves deep into Washington’s correspondence to tell the story of his training as an officer.

Scott C. Patchan is the author of several military history books, including “Shenandoah Summer,” “Second Manassas: The Struggle for Chinn Ridge,” and “The Last Battle of Winchester.”

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