AMA I'm the head of video at France’s leading newspaper Le Monde. Our team recreated Charles De Gaulle's lost 1940 recording for France to resist the Nazis using historical sources and artificial intelligence. AMA about our investigation.
EDIT: Hi guys! Thanks for your interesting questions and kind comments about our work. It's the weekend here in France now, but we'll keep an eye out for any more questions that trickle in and respond early next week. Hope everyone has a good weekend too and talk to you soon!
-CH and Diana from Le Monde in English
Hello Reddit! My name is Charles-Henry Groult, and I lead the video investigations team at Le Monde, France’s leading newspaper, now also available in English.
On June 18, 1940, Charles de Gaulle gave one of the greatest speeches in French history from a BBC studio in London, where he called for the French to resist Nazi occupation. But no film or recording exists of it. With the help of historians, researchers in ethics, and artificial intelligence, our team pieced together de Gaulle’s famous appeal of June 18, 1940 and reconstructed it in his voice. You can watch the video here. I have directed Le Monde’s video department for three years, supervising high-impact visual investigations on subjects from Uyghur internment camps to Wagner mercenaries in Africa. Before joining Le Monde, I produced award-winning short documentaries about past and current wars for European media like Arte and France Télévisions. I discovered the fascinating story of De Gaulle’s lost speech ten years ago, while doing my post-graduate degree at Cardiff University. It then took me more than ten years to crack the code to telling this story.
AMA about our video investigation!
Twitter https://twitter.com/chgroultWatch our video recreating De Gaulle's lost 1940 call for France to resist https://www.lemonde.fr/en/videos/video/2023/01/19/how-le-monde-recreated-de-gaulle-s-lost-1940-call-for-france-to-resist_6012188_108.html
AMA I'm Michael Meyer, the author of "Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet," here to talk about the founder’s amazing last will and testament and 200-year wager on the working class. AMA!
I've really enjoyed this AMA; redditors rule! I'll be speaking and showing slides at the National Archives on Thursday, April 14, at 1pm EST. Tune in virtually here:https://museum.archives.gov/events/75277
Benjamin Franklin was not a gambling man. His first bet was on himself, his last was a wager on the survival of the United States: a gift of two thousand pounds to Boston and Philadelphia, to be lent out to tradesmen over the next two centuries to jump-start their careers. Each loan would be repaid with interest over ten years. If all went according to Franklin’s inventive scheme, the accrued final payout in 1991 would be a windfall. In "Benjamin Franklin’s Last Bet," I trace the evolution of these twin funds as they age alongside America itself, bankrolling woodworkers and silversmiths, trade schools and space races. Over time, Franklin’s wager was misused, neglected, and contested—but never wholly extinguished. Franklin’s inspiring stake in the “leather-apron” class remains in play to this day.
I took a wide route to this story, starting when I was sent to China in 1995 as one of its first Peace Corps volunteers. I wrote three nonfiction books set in China, as well as numerous stories for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other outlets. I'm a Guggenheim Fellow and Whiting Award winner, and currently a Fulbright scholar in Taipei and a fellow at Oxford University's Centre for Life-Writing, working on a biography of Taiwan. I'm also a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where I teach nonfiction writing and live in Mr. Rogers's real neighborhood, Squirrel Hill.
AMA We’re Axel, JC and Sandra, here to discuss the groundbreaking work of Budd ＆ Stuart Schulberg: two American officers tasked with sourcing film footage of Nazi atrocities to present at the 1st Nuremberg trial. Want to know about the U.S. involvement in compiling evidence of WW2 crimes? AMA.
Axel Fischer, formerly a research fellow at the universities of Wuppertal and then Marburg (Germany) is currently a research associate at the Memorium Nuremberg Trials. He was also previously a member of the International Research and Documentation Center for War Crimes Trials (ICWC, Marburg) for which he was engaged in the field of Transitional Justice and Media and worked on a research project about the U.S. film on the Nuremberg Trial.
Sandra Schulberg founded and runs IndieCollect, a non-profit organization whose mission is to rescue, restore, and reactivate significant American independent films. A longtime indie producer, film financier, and advocate for “Off-Hollywood” filmmakers, she founded the IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project), and co-founded First Run Features. IndieCollect has rescued, inventoried and archived thousands of abandoned film negatives since 2013. She also served as media consultant to Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, who is the subject of Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz, a film she helped to develop. In 2014, she completed a 10-year effort to restore Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today, written and directed by her father, Stuart Schulberg. This was completed for the U.S. department of war in 1948 and was widely circulated in Germany but suppressed in the U.S. The project asks the important question of why Schulberg’s work was banned for more than 60 years.
Jean-Christophe Klotz is the director of a documentary about Budd and Stuart Schulberg, two officers in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), inspired by Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today. In Klotz’s The Lost Film of Nuremberg we follow the story of how these two young American OSS officers located and assembled evidence of the horrors of the concentration camps to present at the Nuremberg trial of 1945-6. A journalist by training, Klotz's political reportage has led him to cover the genocide in Rwanda and to direct Mogadishu in Agony, a portrait of the Somali capital ravaged by civil war and threatened by famine, a few months before the intervention of the United Nations. Amongst his numerous projects, he has directed documentaries about American identity in cinema (e.g., John Ford, The Man who Invented America),The Routes of Terror, about 9/11 and China / United States: The Race for Black Gold, about the Sino-US rivalry for access to oil.
Ask us anything!
Memorium Nuremberg Trials: https://museums.nuernberg.de/memorium-nuremberg-trials/
Sandra Schulberg’s restoration of Stuart Schulberg’s 1948 Nuremberg Film: http://www.nurembergfilm.org/
Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today trailer: https://www.newday.com/film/nuremberg-its-lesson-today-schulbergwaletzky-restoration
Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nuremberglesson/
Nuremberg legacy of Benjamin Ferencz: https://www.facebook.com/nuremberglegacy
Jean-Christophe Klotz’s documentary The Lost Film of Nuremberg: https://www.arte.tv/en/videos/093014-000-A/nuremberg-on-film/ [available until March 20th / Europe-only]
The Lost Film of Nuremberg discussion is proudly hosted by ARTE. Other history documentaries currently streaming on ARTE: https://www.arte.tv/en/videos/history/
AMA Hi Reddit! I’m Ty Seidule, historian, army officer, southerner, and author of Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause. AMA!
Robert E. Lee chose treason to protect and expand slavery. I grew up, however, believing that Lee was the greatest man who ever lived. Now, as a retired US Army brigadier general and professor emeritus of history at West Point, I know I was wrong. Every part of my life led me to venerate enslavers and believe the Lost Cause Myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery and that Lee and his Confederate comrades were honorable gentlemen fighting for a righteous cause. Books, movies, my hometowns (Alexandria, VA and Monroe, GA), my college (Washington and Lee), the army, and West Point where I taught military history for two decades all glorified Confederates and supported white supremacy. Now, after years of study, I know that Confederates refused to accept a democratic election and chose treason and war to perpetuate human enslavement. Nothing honorable about traitors. After the war, white southerners created a series of myths and lies to maintain political power through terror, segregation, and disenfranchisement. Memorials in stone and on paper were part of the foundation for white supremacy. You may know me from a video I did six years ago on the cause of the Civil War (slavery BTW!). People sent death threats to me, an army officer at West Point, about history. Unbelievable. History is dangerous! It forces us to question our personal and national myths and identity and that really upsets some people. Yet, if we want to deal with racism, we must first understand its long history. The only way to prevent a racist future is to first understand our racist history. For more, find my book, Robert E. Lee and Me, visit my website, and follow me on Twitter. AMA!
AMA I’m Tara Roberts, Nat Geo Storytelling Fellow and I’ve been telling stories about Black scuba divers searching for slave shipwrecks—AMA
EDIT: Thank you all for your questions! Check out my RPAN that I just did here too: https://www.reddit.com/rpan/r/RedditMasterClasses/llzal5
Hi! I’m Tara Roberts, a Storytelling Fellow at National Geographic. I spent the last two years following and telling stories about a group of Black scuba divers searching for slave shipwrecks around the world. AMA.
I hitched a ride with the divers to Mozambique, then traveled to South Africa, Senegal, Benin, Togo, Costa Rica and St. Croix to learn more about their dive missions, understand why this search for slave shipwrecks is so important and what kind of impact they hope their discoveries will have on the world. Most of these divers are not professional divers or maritime archaeologists, btw. They are teachers, students, civil servants, retired military—just ordinary people who are passionate about scuba diving ... but who wanted to dive with a purpose.
I am also currently at work on a narrative podcast that will go into even deeper detail about my journey around the world. You can listen to a teaser here. You can also hear more about my work on the Overheard at National Geographic podcast here. And for more information about the divers and their incredible work, check out their website and the work of the Slave Wrecks Project.
If you want to follow me, you can do so on Instagram @storiesfromthedepths and @curvypath_tara and also on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sftdpodcast Thanks!
AMA I’m Chris DeRose, historian and author of The Fighting Bunch, the true story of the Battle of Athens, an armed uprising by WWII veterans against a corrupt political machine for their right to vote, and the only successful rebellion on US soil since the Revolution. AMA!
Hey everyone! I'm Chris DeRose, historian and author of The Fighting Bunch, the true story of the Battle of Athens, Tennessee, released this week. This is one of the great untold stories of American history, a “battle of ballots and bullets” and America’s only successful armed rebellion since the Revolution, shrouded in secrecy for over seven decades, now told in full for the first time. I’m looking forward to your questions.
I'm also the host of The Phantom Marine Podcast, and was formerly a professor of Constitutional law, Senior Litigation Counsel to the Arizona Attorney General (I'll be discussing a homicide I prosecuted on Investigation Discovery tonight (11/9) on "Till Death Do Us Part”) and Clerk of the Superior Court for Maricopa County.
My previous books include Founding Rivals, Congressman Lincoln, The Presidents' War, and Star Spangled Scandal. You can learn more on my website or follow me on Twitter.
AMA I'm Samuel P. Gillis Hogan, a PhD researcher studying the history of magic, and the creator of the new podcast "Arcane: The History of Magic" available everywhere - Ask Me Anything!
Initially from Canada, I am currently pursuing my PhD at the University of Exeter in England. My current research examines the surviving late medieval and early modern manuscripts that contain rituals intended to summon fairies (although people at the time conceptualized fairies very differently than we tend to today).
My interest in magic extends well beyond this particular research focus, however, and I have spent the last decade studying magic in various historical contexts, so feel free to ask me anything!My new podcast, Arcane, is meant for anyone who is interested in magic and its history. You can find it wherever you listen to podcasts, or follow this link: https://arcanehistory.podbean.com
For proof of my identity go here: https://twitter.com/ArcaneHistory/status/1322600340374650880?s=20
The AMA is officially over. However there are some wonderful questions that I do not have time to get to right now. I will return to answer more as I can and I welcome your further questions.
AMA I’m Thomas Moynihan, a historian, writer, and researcher who studies the history of ideas about human extinction and existential risk. AMA!
Hey everyone! I’m Thomas Moynihan and I’m currently working with Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. I completed a PhD at Oriel College on the history of human extinction and am about to publish a book (“X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction”) that charts how and when our species first became concerned about the fact that it might disappear forever. If that piques your curiosity, check out this expanded timeline from the book that revisits some of the most important milestones in this great, and ongoing, drama of human inquiry: https://thereader.mitpress.mit.edu/how-humanity-discovered-its-possible-extinction-timeline/.
I’m here today to answer any questions you may have about how humans came to contemplate their own extinction. Many of you will instantly be thinking ‘but haven’t humans been prophesying the end of the world since religions began?’, and you’d be right. But, as I contend in the book, the modern idea of human extinction distinguishes itself from the tradition of apocalypse as it is found across cultures and throughout history. Human extinction is a strangely new idea: one that I argue could not exist until a few centuries ago. And, what’s more, I think that our discovery of it is one of humanity’s most important accomplishments…
Want to know how our ideas about aliens have always influenced how we think about our own fate down here? Or how the surprise discovery of dolphin intelligence made us afraid of our own ingenuity and technology? Want to know about the writers who have argued that it is our duty to explode the world (and even the entire universe), or the scientists who boldly suggested that we reorganize not only the whole planet, but also the entire Solar System, so that we can escape that creeping cosmic cold?
I’m thrilled to be here (from 12 – 2ish EST) and looking forward to hearing your questions! AMA!
Edit: Thanks so much everyone for such brilliant and insightful questions! I'm going to sign off now, but will check back later and answer more... Thanks again. This was great fun!
AMA I am Christine Kinealy, an Irish historian. It is my job, but it is also my passion. Today I'm here to talk about why 27-year-old ‘fugitive’ slave, Frederick Douglass, visited Ireland in 1845 and how it put him on the path to becoming an international champion of human rights. AMA
I have a doctorate from Trinity College in Dublin, one of the best cities in the world, although I also love Belfast. Most of my research falls under the umbrella of social justice. I have written extensively on the tragedy that took place in Ireland in the 1840s—the Great Hunger—which wiped out one-quarter of the population. Ireland has never recovered. More recently, I have been working on the abolition movement in Ireland before the American Civil War. My main interest is in Frederick Douglass’s time in Ireland in 1845. He was only 27 years old and a self-educated, and self-emancipated, former slave. He described being in Ireland as ‘transformative’ and the ‘happiest times’ of his life. Join me at the AMA to find out more about his incredible journey of self discovery and liberation. Proof: https://i.redd.it/clkwkb7svjq51.jpg
AMA I am a black descendant of President James Madison and the author of a memoir, The Other Madisons: The Lost History of A President’s Black Family. AMA!
I am a retired pediatrician and my family’s oral historian. For more than 200 years, we have been reminded “Always remember—you’re a Madison. You come from African slaves and a president.” This guiding statement is intended to be inspiring, but, for me, it echoed with the abuses of slavery, so in 1990, I began a journey of discovery—of my ancestors, our nation, and myself. I traveled to Lagos, Portugal, where the transatlantic slave trade began, to a slave castle in Ghana, West Africa, where kidnapped Africans were held before being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, to Baltimore, Maryland, where a replica of a slave ship sits in a museum, to James Madison’s plantation in Virginia, where my ancestors were first enslaved on American soil, and to central Texas, where they were emancipated on the first Juneteenth. I learned that wherever slaves once walked, history tried to erase their footsteps but that slaves were remarkable people who used their inner strength and many talents to contribute mightily to America, and the world.
- Website: www.BettyeKearse.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/bettyekearse
- Twitter: @BettyeKearse
- LinkedIn: linked.com/in/bettye_kearse
AMA I'm Katherine Sharp Landdeck, author of THE WOMEN WITH SILVER WINGS about the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of WWII. AMA!
My name is Katherine Sharp Landdeck and I am the author of The Women With Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War Two. I first learned of the WASP in 1993 while I was in my first job after college, teaching history and government at the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, OK. At an airplane expo I happened to meet one of these legendary women, Caro Bayley Bosca, who I learned was a pilot with the WASP during WWII - and to my amazement, no one else I spoke to had ever heard of the WASP and what they accomplished during the war. I knew I needed to learn more about the WASP and to share their stories with others, and so I dove into research... soon discovering that if I wanted to tell their stories, I needed to speak to the women themselves. The Women With Silver Wings is the result of this extensive research and interviewing, from the WASP program's humble beginnings in the 1930s to the women's courageous fight to be recognized in the years following WWII. These women, I learned, are some of the most vital players from the war that you've likely never heard of, and they are among the most incredible and inspiring people I've ever met.
You can learn more about my book here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562041/the-women-with-silver-wings-by-katherine-sharp-landdeck/.
These are unprecedented times we are in, but reading books and looking to the past - especially to inspiring historical figures like the women of the WASP - is so important to staying grounded and finding hope amid the chaos. I'm here to answer any of your questions about my book, the incredible WASP women, my writing and research process and more... so ask me anything!
Edit: I'm logging off now, but thank you all for your questions!
Edit 2: Just wanted to let you know that the book talk I did for the National World War II Museum aired on C-Span on Monday, May 25th. I included a slide show with plenty of pictures of the women pilots. Have a good, safe, Memorial Day! Thanks for all your great questions! KSL https://www.c-span.org/video/?471832-1/the-women-silver-wings
AMA I’m Caroline Bruzelius, a Historian and Expert in Medieval Architecture. I Appeared in a Documentary Focusing on the Original Construction of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Ask Me Anything!
How did the Notre Dame cathedral emerge over the centuries as one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved buildings? Secrets of the Dead: Building Notre Dame takes viewers on a major historical and scientific investigation into the construction of Notre Dame de Paris, which began in the 12th century and was completed several hundred years later. Standing alongside the builders of yesterday and today, uncover the vast architectural, technical, human, financial and political challenges experienced throughout the cathedral’s turbulent history.
Watch the full episode here.
Answering your questions from u/SecretsPBS today is:
American Art Historian Caroline Bruzelius.
Recently retired from Duke University, Caroline Bruzelius is an American art historian and expert in medieval architecture. She has published books and articles on medieval architecture in France and Italy on topics as varied as the abbey St.-Denis, medieval Naples, women’s convents, and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Her most recent book, Preaching, Building and Burying: Friars in the Medieval City, is about the architecture and urban impact of the Franciscan and Dominican orders. For the past decade, she’s also been exploring how visualization technologies transform our understanding of historic monuments, and help us tell stories about art and the built environment. She co-founded the "Wired!" group at Duke University http://www.dukewired.org, a team that integrates visualization technologies with teaching, engaging undergraduate and graduate students in multi-year research initiatives, as well as two international interdisciplinary collaborations, Visualizing Venice: http://www.visualizingvenice.org/visu/ that models time and change in Venice, and The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database http://kos.aahvs.duke.edu, a virtual museum that collects images of historic sites in South Italy for researchers and travelers.
EDIT: Thanks everyone for the great questions! To learn more about this topic, watch “Building Notre Dame” here, and follow us on Facebook & Twitter for updates on our upcoming films!
I’m Evan Mawdsley, author of World War II: A New History 2nd Edition. (https://www.cambridge.org/academic/subjects/history/military-history/world-war-ii-new-history-2nd-edition?format=PB)
I have written a number of books on the history of World War II, and before I retired as Professor of International History at Glasgow University I taught a specialist course on the grand strategy of the war.
Ask me anything! I am especially interested in bigger ‘strategic’ questions’, but I would be glad to include strategic ‘hypotheticals’ – ‘what-ifs’. Given the short time available I would prefer to avoid too many questions on ‘hardware’ (T-34 tank versus Panther) or personalities (Rommel versus Montgomery); if necessary, however, I will give them a try!
My interpretation, developed in the ‘New History’, includes the following:  It is misleading to see the global conflict as ‘Hitler’s War’, although the role in Europe of Hitler and Nazi mind-set was extremely important.  This was a conflict between geopolitical 'haves' and 'have-nots'; the Axis leaders (not just Hitler) believing that they were in the latter category and that a 'new world order' in Europe and Asia was required.  World War began in July 1937 (in China), and the role of China in the war as a whole has been neglected; the war with Japan is more accurately thought of as the ‘Asia-Pacific War’ rather than just the ‘Pacific War’, although it was American power that eventually defeated Japan.  The British Empire was a much more powerful element in 1937-1945 than it is often seen from hindsight, although the eventual result for the UK was the loss of great power status.  The Eastern front was the most important single element in the outcome of the European war, but the cost of victory would be ruinous for Russia.  British-American strategic bombing was not of decisive importance until the very end of the war.  Maritime factors, especially British and American sea power were crucial to the Allied ability to fight and win a global war.
EDIT: Signing off for the evening! Thank you for the questions.
Disclaimer: this isn't a contest to "dick measure" dictators action, but is a contest for what historical claims are up for grabs.. So ill give a few examples:
The Articles of Conferadation were more inspired from the Iroquois Confederacy then Enlightenment Philosophers (Although it had a part)
The Khanates ravaging of China and Kiev Rus actually improved and solidified their nations.
The Roman Empires descent to destruction started with Commodus
Shakespeare was Francis Bacon.
1277BCE had a catastrophic series of events that destroyed the economies of the world.
The Toba Supervolcano actually happened
I think you guys get the point, but I'll reiterate the question...
What event in history is the most hotly debated for either occurring or impacting/influencing action?
AMA Have you ever wondered why someone would defect and join the other side during a war? I'm here to answer all of your questions about the Kit Carson Scouts during the Vietnam War (1966-1973)!
My name is Stefan Aguirre Quiroga and I am a historian currently affiliated with the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Some of you may know recognize me as one of the moderators over at /r/AskHistorians. I am here today to answer your questions about what I have been researching since 2016: The Kit Carson Scouts during the Vietnam War.
The Kit Carson Scouts was a name given to a group of defectors from the People's Army of Vietnam (also known as the North Vietnamese Army, NVA) and the armed wing of the FNL (The People's Liberation Armed Forces of South Vietnam, more commonly known in the West as the Viet Cong, VC) who volunteered to undergo training to serve alongside American and later Australian, New Zealand, Thai, South Korean and South Vietnamese forces in the field. The role of the Kit Carson Scouts was to serve as scouts, guides, and interpreters. Kit Carson Scouts often walked point, scouting for hidden booby traps, hidden weapon caches, and signs of the enemy.
The Kit Carson Scout Program (1966-1973) has long remained a curious footnote in the history of the Vietnam War, yet the presence of Kit Carson Scouts proliferate in accounts by American veterans. I was fascinated by the idea of understanding why soldiers from the PLAF and the PAVN would make the choice to not only defect, but also to volunteer to fight against their former comrades. In addition, I felt that investigating the motivations of the Kit Carson Scouts could nuance the otherwise monolith representation of the PLAF and PAVN soldier as faceless hardcore communist believers or nationalist freedom fighters. The agency of these South or North Vietnamese soldiers and the choices they made shows them as historical actors who were not passive and who actively made choices that shaped their own lives as well as that of the war that surrounded them.
My research into this question resulted in the article Phan Chot’s Choice: Agency and Motivation among the Kit Carson Scouts during the Vietnam War, 1966–1973 that was recently published online in the scholarly journal War & Society (with a print version to come shortly).
The abstract reads as follows:
Through a focus on agency and motivation, this article attempts to reach conclusions about the choices made by PLAF and PAVN defectors for continuing their lives as combatants in the employment of the United States Armed Forces as part of the Kit Carson Scout Program. Using predominantly fragmentary personal accounts found in divisional newspapers, this article concludes that Kit Carson Scouts joined for a variety of personal reasons that included the desire for better working conditions, the opportunity to support their family, the search for revenge, and political disillusionment. Additionally, the importance of the individual scout’s choice is emphasised.
I am very excited to share all of this with you. This is only a small part of my research into the subject and I am looking forward to keep writing about it. For those desiring a copy of the article, send me a PM and I will send you a link where you can download it. I am also happy to answer any other inquiries.
AMA about anything related to the Kit Carson Scouts!
AMA I'm Ted Widmer, historian, teacher, occasional journalist, former musician, and author of "Lincoln on the Verge”, about Abraham Lincoln's 13-day train trip to Washington. AMA
I'm the author of a new book about Abraham Lincoln's 13-day train trip to Washington, describing a lot of adversity he was facing as he traveled through a divided country, and giving readers a look outside the train window at all the fascinating places he was passing through. I spent years following Lincoln's train route, combing small-town newspapers, railroad maps, and photo collections for new insights into how this one long train journey changed America forever. My instragram is edward_widmer, Twitter is ted_widmer, and here are a few links to the book:
- Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476739439
- Bookshop (for indie bookstores) - https://bookshop.org/books/lincoln-on-the-verge-thirteen-days-to-washington/9781476739434
AMA I’m Erik Larson, author of six bestselling books, including The Devil in the White City and my newest, The Splendid and the Vile. AMA.
My name is Erik Larson and I am the author of eight nonfiction books, including The Devil in the White City, In the Garden of Beasts, Dead Wake, and my newly released, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. I write what is sometimes called “narrative nonfiction,” a fancy way of saying that I draw on a wide array of original sources to capture the real-life suspense and drama of past events. My latest book, The Splendid and the Vile, takes place during Churchill’s first year as prime minister, May 10, 1940, to May 10, 1941, and seeks to answer the question, how on earth did he, his family, and his “Secret Circle” of advisors manage to endure the German air war against Britain, which unfolded during that 12-month period. In these tense times of ours, I for one found a certain solace in learning how Churchill confronted that unfathomable challenge and how along the way he taught the British public the art of being fearless. If you’d like to learn more about my books, please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/225405/the-splendid-and-the-vile-by-erik-larson/. I’m here now to answer your questions, whether about the books, or my writing process, or the importance of Oreo cookies, or whatever else you choose. So…ask me anything!
EDIT: Well thanks all for checking in with your questions. Always a pleasure! Next time!
AMA During the 1930s, there was a race between British, Nazi, and American mountain climbers to summit one of the great peaks of the Himalayas. I just published a book about it. Ask me anything!
Greetings from Ann Arbor! My name is Scott Ellsworth, and I am the author of THE WORLD BENEATH THEIR FEET: Mountaineering, Madness, and the Deadly Race to Summit the Himalayas, which was published this week by Little, Brown. It's a book about obsession, courage, nationalism, tragedy, and triumph that takes places in the years just before and after World War II. Set in India, Tibet, Nepal, England, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States, it tells the story of the largely forgotten men and women who tried to climb to the summits of some of the highest mountains on Earth, including Mount Everest, K2, and Nanga Parbat.
I'm a writer and historian--and former climber--who spent four years researching this book on three different continents. Please feel free to reach out, and I'll do my best to answer any questions about what I believe is one of the great lost adventure stories of the past hundred years. Fire away! Proof: https://i.redd.it/y7mgwf7pgyh41.jpg
It's 4 pm here in Ann Arbor, and I'm going to call it a day with this AMA--my first ever. I want to thank all of you for all of the insightful comments and questions. It's been a real pleasure interacting with you today.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions or comments. You can find me on Twitter at @ScottEAuthor.
And for those who are going to give THE WORLD BENEATH THEIR FEET a whirl, I do hope that you like the book.
Cheers, Scott Ellsworth
AMA I’m Lucas Richert, an expert in the history of pharmaceuticals, the historical director for the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy at UW-Madison, and the author of “Break On Through.” AMA!
Hi Reddit –
I’m Lucas Richert, the historical director for the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy at UW-Madison, a nearly 80-year-old institute dedicated to advancing the knowledge and understanding of the history of pharmacy and medicines. I’m also co-editor in chief of Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal and author of a new book with the MIT Press called “Break On Through,” which draws on archives and government documents, medical journals, and interviews, and interweaves references to pop (counter)culture to historicize the radical mental health practices in the 1960s and 70s. I published another book (“Strange Trips”) earlier this year that focuses on the contentious relationship between scientific knowledge, cultural assumptions, and social concerns. My hope — particularly with “Break On Through” — is to promote the discussion of mental health by placing the histories of American mental health, pharmaceutical use, and intoxicant use in dialogue with one another, all within the context of mainstream and fringe therapies.
Questions about the history of drugs or pharmaceuticals? The field of psychiatry in the 1960s and 70s? Over the past few years, I've written and taught about how and why we control and regulate drugs in CANADA and the US. And I've tried to understand the major swings and struggles in modern mental health care. I’m here from 1 – 3 PM EST — ask me anything! (if you can’t make it then, you can find me on Twitter @LucRichert and @drughistory.)
Edit (1:15 pm): Dealing with a couple of technical difficulties but should be getting to your wonderful questions in a moment!
AMA I’m a documentary filmmaker from Austria, right now producing a film on how black people survived Nazi Germany. I'm doing an AMA on the project over on IAmA later today.
I’m Stefanie Daubek, a filmmaker from Austria. I’ve produced a number of TV shows and films, and I’m currently working on a project I’m fascinated by. It’s the story of black people in Nazi Germany and how they managed to survive. The project is currently under development at the Documentary Campus Masterschool and you can find a trailer on their YouTube channel here.
I'm doing an AMA session about the project over on /r/IAmA later today - do join if you want to discuss!
EDIT: Thank you Reddit, it’s been a really great AMA with a lot of interesting and challenging questions! Since this was a first sneak preview the teaser has been taken offline again. But send me a message if you want to see it so I can send a VIMEO link. :) I will come back checking in on new questions from time to time. Thanks again everyone. Looking forward to keeping you updated on the documentary development. Bye for now.
AMA We’re the team who restored NASA’s Apollo Mission Control Center to appear as it did originally in 1969. Ask us anything!
50 years ago, the world watched in wonder as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon. Flight controllers in Houston watched proudly – and anxiously -- from the Apollo Mission Control Room, a National Historic Landmark. Now, that room from which the Apollo missions were commanded has been restored to appear as it did in 1969, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.
The restoration team included representatives of the Apollo Mission Control teams that supported astronauts on their missions. These individuals ensured the authenticity of the control room and the artifacts inside – some being original artifacts that were cleaned and restored, such as the control consoles and displays, or items which have been recreated based on original samples.
Restoration team members answering your questions include:
- David Bucek, Lead Preservation Architect
- Adam Graves, Ph.D, Historic Preservation Lead
- Pooja Jesrani, Current Flight Director
- Jennie Keys, Restoration Contract Manager
- Gene Kranz, Apollo Flight Director
- Paul Konyha, Current Flight Director
- Jeff Radigan, Current Flight Director
- Sandra Tetley, Johnson Space Center Historic Preservation Officer
- Jim Thornton, Restoration Project Manager
AMA I’m Sarah Rose, journalist and author of D-DAY GIRLS: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II. AMA!
Hi Reddit – my name is Sarah Rose and I’m the author of D-DAY GIRLS, the true story of the extraordinary women recruited in WWII by Britain’s elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory.
The women in the very first class of female recruits for Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive (the SOE) were the very first women in combat. They were trained in everything from explosives to encryption, sharp-shooting and hand-to-hand silent killing—and were parachuted into France ahead of the D-Day landings to commit acts of sabotage, rally and train the resistance and cripple the Nazis before the Allied invasion of Europe. We all know the story of D-Day, and with the 75th anniversary this week, it’s important to examine what so many of us don’t know about the invasion through the stories of these incredible women who helped make it possible.
I’m here to answer your questions about these women, their impact today, and this fascinating moment in history – so ask me anything!
Learn more about my book here: www.prh.com/ddaygirls
And you can find my website here: www.sarahrose.com
AMA- finished We are Israeli Consul General Shlomi Kofman ＆ UC Berkeley Professor of Jewish History John Efron, here to answer questions about the Holocaust, European Jews in WWII, ＆ the Righteous Among the Nations. May 2nd is Yom HaShoah, a day of commemoration for those lost in the Holocaust - Ask Us Anything!
Until well into the nineteenth, and in many places into the twentieth century, the bulk of world Jewry was yet to be legally emancipated. However, by the 1860s and 1870s, legal emancipation throughout western and central Europe was a fact and Jews became increasingly secure and confident of their place in a secular, democratic, political order. Believing that they had succeeded in becoming European by adopting the languages and cultural mores of their gentile neighbors, Jews now expected that the reward for their efforts would be an end to Jew hatred. Quite the opposite happened. Jewish adoption of European culture coupled with the retention of Jewish group identity led to the emergence of a new European-wide discourse about Jews known as the “Jewish Question.” For many political actors and agitators, the mode of Jewish integration (long demanded of Jews by both friends and enemies alike) engendered a backlash, one fueled by hatred and envy. Antisemites believed that the successful project of Jewish acculturation was a product of the supposedly unique racial qualities of the Jews combined with a belief in their conspiratorial agenda.
Yom HaShoah is Israel's day of commemoration for the six million Jews and five million others who have perished in the Holocaust as a result of the actions carried out by Nazi Germany and its accessories. Given the important day and the "Lest We Forget" Holocaust survivor exhibit at San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco's Israeli Consul General Shlomi Kofman and UC Berkeley Professor of Jewish History John Efron are here to answer questions about the Holocaust, European Jews in World War II, the Righteous Among the Nations, and the importance of fighting anti-Semitism. Ask us anything!
Edit 2: Thank you all SO much for your very interesting and inquisitive questions. It was a pleasure to interact with all of you. Please keep listening to survivors and passing on their stories. Future generations will not be able to hear their stories, so it is our duty to keep telling them. Thank you again! - John and Shlomi
AMA We're two archaeologists who organized the Titangel Castle Research Project, Our findings changed our understanding of the Dark Ages in Britain-- and might also explain the legend of King Arthur. Ask us anything!
HEADLINE EDIT: We're two archaeologists who organized the Tintagel Castle Research Project, Our findings changed our understanding of the Dark Ages in Britain-- and might also explain the legend of King Arthur. Ask us anything!
After four centuries of occupation and leadership, the Romans left Britain in 410 AD and the island’s fate was left hanging in the balance. History teaches that in the 5th century, the country descended into a tumultuous and violent period knows as the Dark Ages, leaving the nation vulnerable to invading Angle and Saxon hordes from northern Europe. With a nation divided, great leader known as King Arthur emerged, uniting the lawless lands to fight off invaders – or at least that’s what the fragmentary historical texts suggest. The truth is, no one really knows what happened, and this pivotal moment in history has been shrouded in mystery – until now.
In Secrets of the Dead: King Arthur’s Lost Kingdom, a team of experts use new archaeological discoveries to decode myths from the Dark Ages and piece together a very different story of this turning point in Britain’s history that might also explain the legend of King Arthur.
Answering your questions from u/SecretsPBS today are:
- Jacky Nowakowski: A professional archaeologist, formerly Principal Archaeologist for Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council and now freelance. She has worked in Cornwall for the past 35 years and has worked on projects across the UK and abroad for the past 40 years. Am a prehistorian but has research interests in the post-Roman period. Additionally, she and has lectured and published widely in the UK and abroad. As the Project Director on the Tintagel Castle Research Project (TCARP), Jacky worked for English Heritage Trust and Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council, and directed the excavations. She is currently involved in writing up the results of the dig for publication.
Win Scutt: A seasoned archaeologist of 45 years and a Properties Curator with English Heritage, the non-profit trust that cares for England’s national monuments. Win is responsible for the conservation of 145 monuments in the West of England, including stone circles, medieval castles and abbeys. Three years ago, he commissioned the Cornwall Archaeological Unit to deliver a five-year Research Project led by Jacky Nowakowski. Following an evaluation excavation in 2016, a major excavation was carried out in 2017 which produced some fabulous results, which are still being analyzed. Before working for English Heritage, Win worked as a lecturer in Archaeology in Plymouth, England for many years, and before that as a museums curator. Win also works with the BBC to provide regular updates on world archaeology news. Follow him here:
- Twitter: @Archaeology_ws
- Facebook: Dem Bones – Archaeology with Win Scutt
EDIT: Thanks everyone for the great questions and for making this incredible! Let's do it again soon. A special thank you to Jacky Nowakowski and Win Scutt for giving us their time and expertise.
To learn more about this mission, watch King Arthur's Lost Kingdom on the Secrets of the Dead website, and follow us on Facebook & Twitter for updates on our upcoming films!
AMA We are experts from the PBS Nature documentary Wild Way of the Vikings, here to discuss how the wide range of wildlife encountered by the Vikings on their travels played a part in their society and culture. Ask Us Anything!
As the Vikings crossed the North Atlantic around 1000 AD, they encountered a wide range of diverse wildlife. Arctic foxes, gyrfalcons, reindeer, otters, ravens, humpback whales, gannets, and much more - each creature played a part in their society and culture, with some even ending up as figures in Norse mythology. The Vikings had a deep respect for the land and sea, as it served as their compass and guide.
For background, see the documentary “Wild Way of the Vikings” on the PBS Nature website.
Answering your questions today are:
- Albína H. Pálsdóttir, Zooarchaeologist at The Agricultural University of Iceland
- Ellen Hagen, falconer and museum educator at Arkeologisk Museum in Stavanger, Norway
EDIT: Thanks everyone for the insightful questions! This was a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy the documentary if you haven’t yet had a chance to check it out.