Book Breaks

Book Breaks

Sundays at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) on Zoom


Upcoming Session: July 21, 2024
Author: Amanda Bellows, The New School
Book: The Explorers: A New History of America in Ten Expeditions

Stack of books with colorful covers
  • Free

  • All Audiences

  • Every Sunday

About Book Breaks

Every Sunday at 2:00 pm ET (11:00 am PT) on Zoom

Books leaning against each other

Each week our hosts interview renowned scholars and discuss their acclaimed and frequently award-winning works, followed by a Q&A with the at-home audience. Please click any of the upcoming episodes to register. You can purchase any of the books featured on our page, for which we receive an affiliate commission.

Browse Past Episodes

Upcoming Episodes

Student Competition

Students: Submit your question for the upcoming Book Breaks guest. If your question is chosen, it will be answered live on the show and you will be named History Scholar of the Week! You and your teacher will win a $50 gift certificate to the Gilder Lehrman Gift Shop. 

*Your question can be about the book or the topic in general. Please submit only one question per program. Students should be in middle or high school and at least 13 years old.

Two students near bookshelf holding books

In Case You Missed It: Last Week's Episode

Alan Taylor

American Civil Wars: A Continental History, 1850-1873

About the book: What was happening in Mexico and Canada while the Civil War ripped apart the United States? In this retelling of American Civil War history, Alan Taylor depicts three nations in existential crises, each monitoring their neighbors’ struggles. Despite different political circumstances and institutions, each advanced the possibility of free government, majority rule, and the protection of human rights.

Browse Past Episodes

What Our Fans Say

As a High School History teacher, I love Book Breaks for so many reasons. It allows my students to listen to some of the world’s preeminent History scholars from the comfort of their own homes. The History Scholar of the Week contest adds an element of excitement and recognition that I think young people in particular, can look forward to. In so many ways, Gilder Lehrman has made the latest and greatest scholarship so much more accessible to ordinary teachers and learners.

—Martina Madden, Stuyvesant High School in New York

Book Breaks is an important and novel instructional modality that high school history teachers should embrace. I see each Book Breaks author as a co-teacher for my class and a way for students to feel more connected to the historians who wrote their textbook–Give Me Liberty!–or helped them understand historical people, sources, and events.

—Glenn Whitman, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland

I’m a retired teacher, now serving as a volunteer researcher for several local historical societies. I know of no other Internet offering that compares in scope to Book Breaks. I look forward to an author interview every Sunday afternoon. It’s like attending a one-hour graduate seminar each week where viewers can ask questions via the chat. It would be a shame if I had to miss a Book Breaks broadcast, but no worries . . .  they’re all there on the Gilder Lehrman website to view again anytime.

-Don Gallagher, Jr., Retired Teacher in Pennsylvania


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The Institute thanks Citizen Travelers, the nonpartisan civic engagement initiative of The Travelers Companies, Inc., for its support of Book Breaks