For the Ages: A History Podcast

For the Ages: A History Podcast

Explore the rich and complex history of the United States and beyond. Produced by the New-York Historical Society, host David M. Rubenstein engages the nation’s foremost historians and creative thinkers on a wide range of topics, including presidential biography, the nation’s founding, and the people who have shaped the American story. Learn more at nyhistory.org.

Episodes

May 15, 2022 27 min

Award-winning author and historian Joseph J. Ellis, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, sheds new light on the War for American Independence. Focusing on 1773 to 1783, Ellis illuminates how the nation’s founders—including George Washington and John Adams, among others—prudently but imperfectly established a new republic.
Recorded June 11, 2021

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Few historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln. From humble beginnings, Lincoln’s enduring desire for self-improvement and extraordinary ability to strike a balance between opposing forces led him to become one of the most consequential figures of the 19th century. Prize-winning author and historian David S. Reynolds illuminates the forces that shaped Lincoln and how our nation’s 16th president rose to the unprecedented c...

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Serving as Allied Commander during World War II and later as President of the United States, few people have made decisions as momentous and consequential as Dwight D. Eisenhower. Guided by his heritage and upbringing, as well as his strong character and his personal discipline, Eisenhower was a steadying force during some of the most tumultuous decades in human history. Susan Eisenhower discusses the life and legacy of her disting...

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Born in 1917 to a family destined to become one of the most influential in American politics, John F. Kennedy knew ambition from an early age. Focusing on Kennedy's first 39 years, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Fredrik Logevall, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, examines the coming-of-age of the nation's 35th president during a time of national turmoil and transformation.
Recorded on  November 6, 2020 

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Starting in the 1990s, Jeffrey Rosen met with Ruth Bader Ginsburg to discuss both her political and personal life, gleaning priceless observations from the Justice about topics ranging from the Constitution to how to be a good listener to the #MeToo movement. Join us to hear Rosen’s reflections on their three decades of conversations as well as Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.
Recorded on  November 13, 2022

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Bestselling author Walter Isaacson, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, discusses the life and work of the Nobel Prize-winning Jennifer Doudna who, with her collaborators, created a DNA-editing tool with the power to revolutionize human health.
Recorded on  February 19, 2021 

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April 3, 2022 27 min

Scholar Brenda Child sheds light on how America’s first inhabitants were impacted in a wide-ranging discussion that will include President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, efforts by the American government to expand rights and grant citizenship to native peoples, as well as the activism and grassroots advocacy that continue to this day.
Recorded on  April 16, 2021 

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The American experiment began with a revolutionary idea that a nation could be founded on the principles of democracy, equality, and liberty. In this talk, New-York Historical Society President and CEO Louise Mirrer speaks with David M. Rubenstein about the subject of his latest book: how the American experiment, in all its promise and imperfection, has evolved over the past 250 years. Discover the ingenuity, setbacks, and social m...

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March 20, 2022 34 min

Publisher Katharine Graham, one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, championed excellence in journalism. Under her leadership, the Washington Post evolved into one of the nation’s most respected news sources and forever changed American history with its groundbreaking investigative reporting into the Watergate scandal. In conversation with David M. Rubenstein, Graham’s children Donald E. Graham and Lally Graham Wey...

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At the height of World War I, a lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, spreading rapidly as it moved east with American troops. The influenza pandemic of 1918 ended up killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. Author John M. Barry joins David M. Rubenstein for a conversation on how the 1918 pandemic began and spread, as well as what was ultimately done to stop it.
Recorded on June 25, 2020 

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March 7, 2022 27 min

We live in a global era with events that happen hundreds or thousands of miles away having a direct impact on our lives. This is all too clear in recent months, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing individual countries to develop unique methods to contain the outbreak within their borders. Foreign policy expert Richard Haass, in a discussion with David Rubenstein, illuminates how we got here through the lens of his own life and work,...

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Originally published in 2012, science author David Quammen’s book Spillover hypothesized the increasing frequency of diseases spreading from animals to humans, coupled with the speed and ease of modern world travel, could be the recipe for a global pandemic. Recorded in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, Quammen discusses his work and unique insights into how, where, and why diseases emerge.
Recorded on June 25...

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February 21, 2022 43 min

Henry Louis Gates Jr. has helped reshape the nation’s collective understanding of the legacy of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality. The storied filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder discusses this important history and how his scholarly work has developed how we learn about and understand the American story.
Recorded on January 22, 2021

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During World War II, the Nazis bombed Great Britain relentlessly, killing 45,000 Britons and destroying two million homes. Drawing on recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries that are only now available, author Erik Larson, in conversation with David Rubenstein, offers fresh insight into the experience of the Blitz through the lens of the newly elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his family. ...

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February 7, 2022 36 min

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David W. Blight delves into the life of one of the most important figures of the 19th century: Writer, orator, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery, Douglass rose to become one of the most revered critical thinkers of his time, and his insights continue to shape contemporary understanding of the legacies of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.
Recorded on October ...

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The Electoral College has been a source of much debate throughout American history. The controversy was amplified following the 2000 and 2016 elections after the runners-up in the popular vote were able to claim the presidency. In a conversation with David M. Rubenstein, esteemed constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar uncovers the fascinating history of the nation’s electoral process.
Recorded on January 22, 2021 

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Overcoming formidable obstacles, including an assassination attempt, Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was fraught with danger before it even officially began. Ted Widmer provides a riveting account of Lincoln’s pivotal 13-day train ride to Washington for his inauguration, and how this fateful trip played a vital role in shaping him for his role as president of a rapidly fracturing nation.
Recorded on February 5, 2021

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January 17, 2022 32 min

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns Isabel Wilkerson examines an unspoken hierarchy that transcends race, class, and other lines of division in modern society. By comparing the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, explore how the nation can orient itself around common humanity instead of artificial and destructive separations between those who have power and those who do not.
Rec...

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January 10, 2022 27 min

Michael Beschloss, one of the most prominent presidential historians in the country, joins David M. Rubenstein for an intimate conversation on his life, career, and his 2018 book, Presidents of War, which is the culmination of 10 years of research. The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war, however throughout history presidents have waged conflicts across the globe–both with and without formal Congressiona...

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December 27, 2021 25 min

In celebration of 15 years of transformative support of New-York Historical, Bernard L. Schwartz highlights his fascinating life—from his youth and service during the Second World War to his life’s work in private investment, public policy, philanthropy, and industry. He also discusses his book, Just Say Yes: What I've Learned About Life, Luck, and the Pursuit of Opportunity, a memoir and primer for readers seeking their own op...

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