Where We Were When FDR Passed Away

By: Sunday April 13, 2014 6:52 pm

Ray Owings, age 91, and Letty Owings, age 89, recall their memories before and after April 12, 1945, when US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) passed away. FDR was elected for four consecutive terms, and remains the only president ever to serve more than eight years.

 

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Hugh Wilford, America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East

By: Saturday February 1, 2014 1:59 pm

One of the most enduring changes in American government occurred in the years after the Second World War, when the United States created its first permanent foreign intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Authorized by the National Security Act of 1947 and built from the bones of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the CIA had an immediate impact on American activities in all regions of the globe, especially the Middle East.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mary L. Dudziak, War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences

By: Saturday October 19, 2013 1:59 pm

In War Time we are shown how the Cold War years and the development of the Military-Industrial-Complex moved us into a period (which continues today) of grossly disproportionate spending on the military, permanent infringement on civil rights, and so used to war and militarism that we now accept it as the norm. Terrorism is the new communism and must be defended against at all costs. She also discusses other factors that affect the public’s perceptions of wartime and peacetime, such as the roles of government propaganda, the media, citizen sacrifice, proximity of the conflict, and the number of Americans killed.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Mark Blyth, Austerity: History of a Dangerous Idea

By: Sunday August 18, 2013 1:59 pm

By now, it’s been thoroughly proven by events that austerity policies backfire. Cut public spending in a deep downturn, and you only worsen the slump. Europe is the more extreme version of the proof, but even the United States, which is technically out of recession, faces a needlessly slow recovery. We’ve reduced deficits by slashing spending, raising taxes, and making sequester deals, but the supposed reward in the form of restored business confidence never arrives. Austerity, as Mark Blyth writes, neither restores growth not reduces the debt ratio, because slow growth (and in some cases negative growth) makes the debt loom that much larger.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Richard Lingeman, The Noir Forties: The American People From Victory To Cold War

By: Sunday March 17, 2013 1:59 pm

If Richard Lingeman, a longtime senior editor at The Nation, found similarities between the early 1940s and the years after 9/11, it does not take a stretch of the imagination to assume there may be some parallels between the years after World War II and the years ahead of us right now, as the wars in Iraq and now Afghanistan begin to finally wind down to an indecisive, belated close. Lingeman doesn’t pursue such inquiries in The Noir Forties, but they are just below the surface of his well-crafted and exceptionally well-researched—and surprisingly personal—new book.

Though Lingeman does an excellent job of defending the thesis behind his title—a topic which we’ll explore in our discussion today—the book is about much more than film noir. It can perhaps be summed up as an extended meditation on Raymond Chandler’s quip that “the story of our time is not the war nor atomic energy but the marriage of an idealist to a gangster and how their home life and children turned out.” We are those children and The Noir Forties goes a long way towards documenting our family history.

Seventy Years of Nuclear Fission: Short on Confidence; Long on Waste

By: Tuesday January 29, 2013 12:55 pm

On December 2, 1942, a small group of physicists under the direction of Enrico Fermi gathered on an old squash court beneath Alonzo Stagg Stadium on the Campus of the University of Chicago to make and witness history. Uranium pellets and graphite blocks had been stacked around cadmium-coated rods as part of an experiment crucial to the Manhattan Project–the program tasked with building an atom bomb for the allied forces in WWII.

Late Night: Take Five for Dave Brubeck

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 8:00 pm

Brubeck wasn’t just a crusader for rhythm. During his service in World War II, Brubeck was spotted playing a Red Cross show and ordered to form a band. Brubeck chose a racially integrated lineup, a rarity for military acts. During the 1950s and ’60s, Brubeck is reported to have canceled appearances at venues that balked at the mixed racial makeup of his quartet.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Thomas E. Ricks, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today

By: Saturday November 24, 2012 1:59 pm

There are two key words to keep in mind when reading Thomas Ricks’s important and eminently readable new book, “The Generals”: accountability and relief. Accountability is what set Ricks out on his investigation of America’s military leaders from World War II to the present, as in the missing accountability of our generals for the failures of the post-9/11 decade of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. And relief is what Ricks believes has been too often missing, as in the old-fashioned sense of the word and one that is hardly ever used anymore, certainly by the U.S. military: firing.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond

By: Sunday July 8, 2012 1:59 pm

The Dissent Papers is that rare treat of scholarship that reflects careful research and close attention to lively, elegant prose. I recommend it highly to all interested readers. If this afternoon’s exchange is only half as rich as the book itself, we’ll all still walk away having been deeply enriched.

FDL Movie Night: “The Man Nobody Knew”

By: Monday October 31, 2011 5:00 pm

“Your father is a murderer”

Was he? Or did William Colby act for what he saw as the highest good for America and the the world? Are the two mutually exclusive? Can we ever really know our families? These questions and more are at the center of The Man Nobody Knew, a portrait of William Colby, by his son and Emmy-award winning director, Carl Colby, our guest tonight.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, August 30, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It
Chat with John Dean about his new book. Hosted by James Robenalt.

Sunday, August 31, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Imagine: Living In A Socialist USA
Chat with Paul LeBlanc and Dianne Feeley about the book. Hosted by Deena Stryker

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