Brattleboro Literary Festival Brattleboro Literary Festival

Zoom Track 2 - Non-Fiction Events

Thursday, October 14, 2021

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Bob Woodward & Robert Costa--Peril

Join us for this special virtual event with #1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa as they discuss Peril, the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another. 

Mindy Marqués, Vice President and Executive Editor, Simon & Schuster, will moderate. 

Please register here-- Simon & Schuster Event: Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa --and a link will be sent to you later.

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Friday, October 15, 2021

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Banksy: Completed
Carol Diehl
Carol Diehl
Banksy: Completed

Banksy is the world's most famous living artist, yet no one knows who he is. For more than twenty years, his wryly political and darkly humorous spray paintings have appeared mysteriously on urban walls around the globe, generating headlines and controversy. Art critics disdain him, but the public (and the art market) love him. In her new illustrated book, Banksy: Completed, artist and art critic Carol Diehl is the first to explore the Banksy mystery in depth, revealing unexpected roots in such diverse sources as Greek mythology and post-Holocaust political theory.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

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One Mighty Irresistible Tide
Jia Lynn Yang
Jia Lynn Yang
One Mighty and Irresistible Tide

The idea of the United States as a nation of immigrants is at the core of the American narrative. But in 1924, Congress instituted a system of ethnic quotas so stringent that it choked off large-scale immigration for decades, sharply curtailing arrivals from southern and eastern Europe and outright banning those from nearly all of Asia. 

Jia Lynn Yang’s book, One Mighty Irresistible Tide, is a riveting narrative filled with a fascinating cast of characters, from the indefatigable congressman Emanuel Celler and senator Herbert Lehman to the bull-headed Nevada senator Pat McCarran, Jia Lynn Yang recounts how lawmakers, activists, and presidents from Truman through LBJ worked relentlessly to abolish the 1924 law.

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Culture and The Cold War
Michael Gorra
Michael Gorra
The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War.
Louis Menand
Louis Menand
The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War

The Cold War was not just a contest of power. It was also about ideas, in the broadest sense―economic and political, artistic and personal. In The Free World, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar and critic Louis Menand tells the story of American culture in the pivotal years from the end of World War II to Vietnam and shows how changing economic, technological, and social forces put their mark on creations of the mind. In this, his follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Metaphysical Club, Louis Menand offers a new intellectual and cultural history of the postwar years. 

Menand will be in conversation with one of America’s most preeminent literary critics, Michael Gorra

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Jimmy Carter, A Life
Jonathan Alter
Jonathan Alter
His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life.
Megan Mayhew Bergman
Megan Mayhew Bergman
Almost Famous Women

From one of America’s most-respected journalists and modern historians comes His Very Best, Jimmy Carter, A Life, the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and Nobel Prize–winning humanitarian. 

Jonathan Alter tells the epic story of an enigmatic man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon. Alter paints an intimate and surprising portrait of the only president since Thomas Jefferson who can fairly be called a Renaissance Man, a complex figure—ridiculed and later revered—with a piercing intelligence, prickly intensity, and biting wit beneath the patented smile. 

Alter will be in conversation with author Megan Mayhew Bergman, who has written about Jimmy Carter and his legacy for the Guardian.

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Washington’s Washington
Robert Watson
Robert Watson
George Washington’s Final Battle

George Washington is remembered for leading the Continental Army to victory, presiding over the Constitution, and forging a new nation, but few know the story of his involvement in the establishment of a capital city and how it nearly tore the United States apart. 

In George Washington's Final Battle, Robert P. Watson brings this tale to life, telling how the country's first president tirelessly advocated for a capital on the shores of the Potomac. Washington envisioned and had a direct role in planning many aspects of the city that would house the young republic. In doing so, he created a landmark that gave the fledgling democracy credibility, united a fractious country, and created a sense of American identity.


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New York, New York, New York
Thomas Dyja
Thomas Dyja
New York, New York, New York

Dangerous, filthy, and falling apart, garbage piled on its streets and entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble; New York’s terrifying, if liberating, state of nature in 1978 also made it the capital of American culture. Over the next thirty-plus years, though, it became a different place—kinder and meaner, richer and poorer, more like America and less like what it had always been. 

New York, New York, New York, Thomas Dyja’s sweeping account of this metamorphosis, shows it wasn’t the work of a single policy, mastermind, or economic theory, nor was it a morality tale of gentrification or crime. Instead, three New Yorks evolved in turn. 

Dyja will be in conversation with photographer, political activist, and part-time New Yorker Jenny Altshuler.

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Legends of the West
Bryan Burrough
Bryan Burrough
Forget the Alamo
Jude Joffe-Block
Jude Joffe-Block
Driving While Brown: Sheriff Joe Arpaio versus the Latino Resistance

There's no piece of history more known to Texans than the Battle of the Alamo, when Davy Crockett and a band of rebels went down in a blaze of glory fighting for independence from Mexico, losing the battle but setting Texas up to win the war.

 However, that version of events, as Bryan Burrough shows in his Forget the Alamo, owes more to fantasy than reality. Just as the site of the Alamo was left in ruins for decades, its story was forgotten and twisted over time, with the contributions of Tejanos--Texans of Mexican origin, who fought alongside the Anglo rebels--scrubbed from the record, and the origin of the conflict over Mexico's push to abolish slavery papered over. Arizona has border issues of its own, many created by policies put in place by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was actually born and raised in Hartford, CT. 

In Driving While Brown, journalist Jude Joffe-Block and her co-author Terry Greene Sterling spent years chronicling the human consequences of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s relentless immigration enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona. They tell the tale of two opposing movements that redefined Arizona’s political landscape—the restrictionist cause embraced by Arpaio and the Latino-led resistance that rose up against it.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

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Unlikely Spies & Saboteurs
Arthur Magida
Arthur Magida
Code Name Madeleine
Judy Batalion
Judy Batalion
The Light of Days

In Judy Batalion’s book The Light of Days, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland—some still in their teens—helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis after witnessing the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town’s water supply. 

Arthur Magida’s book Code Name: Madeleine tells the story of Sufi spy Noor Inayat Khan. She was an introspective musician and writer, dedicated to her family and to her father’s spiritual values of harmony, beauty, and tolerance. She did not seem destined for wartime heroism. Yet, faced with the evils of Nazi violence and the German occupation of France, Noor joined the British Special Operations Executive and trained in espionage, sabotage, and reconnaissance. She became a high-value target for the Nazis and when she was eventually captured, attempted two daring escapes before she was sent to Dachau and killed just months before the end of the war.

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The Clock Mirage
Joseph Mazur
Joseph Mazur
The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time

What is time? This question has fascinated philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists for thousands of years. Why does time seem to speed up with age? What is its connection with memory, anticipation, and sleep cycles?  

In his book The Clock Mirage, award‑winning author and mathematician Joseph Mazur provides an engaging exploration of how the understanding of time has evolved throughout human history and offers a compelling new vision, submitting that time lives within us. With a narrative punctuated by personal stories of time’s effects on truck drivers, Olympic racers, prisoners, and clockmakers, Mazur’s journey is filled with fascinating insights into how our technologies, our bodies, and our attitudes can change our perceptions. 

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Life’s Edge
Carl Zimmer
Carl Zimmer
Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world—from protocells to brains, from zygotes to pandemic viruses—the harder they find it is to locate life’s edge. 

In his new book, Life’s Edge, Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it. Is the apple sitting on your kitchen counter alive, or is only the apple tree it came from deserving of the word? If we can’t answer that question here on earth, how will we know when and if we discover alien life on other worlds? Life's Edge is an utterly fascinating investigation that no one but one of the most celebrated science writers of our generation could craft. 

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Ariana Huffington
Leah McGrath Goodman
Leah McGrath Goodman
Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is one of the world's most prominent business leaders in media. In her biography, Ariana Huffington: Media Visionary and Wellness Evangelist, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman provides us with a concise but richly detailed overview of Huffington's life and career As co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, Ariana Huffington built the first internet newspaper, which eclipsed the traffic of The New York Times and won the Pulitzer Prize. Creating a digital media empire from an investment of just over $1 million, she sold HuffPost to AOL in 2011 for more than $300 million. Considered to be one of the most influential women on earth, Huffington went on to establish Thrive Global, a wellness and technology start-up that aims to end the stress and burn-out epidemic.

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The Agitators
Dorothy Wickenden
Dorothy Wickenden
Nothing Daunted and The Agitators

From the executive editor of The New Yorker, Dorothy Wickenden, comes a riveting, provocative, and revelatory history of abolition and women’s rights, The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights. In the 1850s, tells the story of America before the Civil War through the lives of three women Harriet Tubman rescued some seventy enslaved people from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and shepherded them north along the underground railroad. One of her regular stops was Auburn, New York, where she entrusted passengers to Martha Coffin Wright, a Quaker mother of seven, and Frances A. Seward, the wife of William H. Seward, who served over the years as governor, senator, and secretary of state under Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, Tubman worked for the Union Army in South Carolina as a nurse and spy, and took part in a spectacular river raid in which she helped to liberate 750 slaves from several rice plantations.

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Festival Days

When “The Fourth State of Matter,” her now famous piece about a workplace massacre at the University of Iowa was published in The New Yorker, Jo Ann Beard immediately became one of the most influential writers in America, forging a path for a new generation of young authors willing to combine the dexterity of fiction with the rigors of memory and reportage, and in the process extending the range of possibility for the essay form. 

Now, with Festival Days, Beard brings us the culmination of her groundbreaking work. In these nine pieces, she captures both the small, luminous moments of daily existence and those instants when life and death hang in the balance, ranging from the death of a beloved dog to a relentlessly readable account of a New York artist trapped inside a burning building. She will be in conversation with retired CBS News Executive Producer of Face the Nation, Carin Pratt.

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