Gilder Lehrman Book Breaks: Live Discussions with Eminent Historians on Sunday Afternoons

Gilder Lehrman Book Breaks is a new program that features the most exciting history scholars in America discussing their books with host William Roka live, followed by a Q&A with home audiences.

Programs will take place on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. ET.

Register for the Sunday, May 24 Book Breaks with John Barry here and find the books below here.


"Disciplined, powerful and moving.… [An] important book," says Lincoln Caplan, <i>New York Times Book Review</i>May 10, 2020 - Eric Foner discusses his 2019 book, The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution.

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, specializes in the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and nineteenth-century America. He is one of only two people to serve as president of the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians. His book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery won the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Lincoln Prizes for 2011. Other books include Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad and the widely used textbook Give Me Liberty! An American History.

Order The Second Founding at the Gilder Lehrman Institute's Bookshop Store.

May 17, 2020 - Annette Gordon-Reed discusses her Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Hemingses of Monticello.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Annette Gordon-ReedAnnette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. She won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, a subject she had previously written about in Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy. She is also the author of Andrew Johnson. Her most recent book (with Peter S. Onuf) is “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.

Order The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family at the Gilder Lehrman Institute's Bookshop Store.

May 24, 2020 - John M. Barry discusses The Great Influenza

John M. BarryJohn M. Barry is a prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author whose books have won multiple awards. The National Academies of Sciences named his 2004 book, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, a Study of the 1918 Pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine. His earlier book Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, won the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of American history and in 2005 the New York Public Library named it one of the 50 best books in the preceding 50 years.

Order The Great Influenza at the Gilder Lehrman Institute's Bookshop Store.

"As a celebrated journalist who moved into the frontlines of this fight, Richard Stengel sheds new light on how bad actors leverage technology to undermine trust, and helps us better understand what must be done to protect our democracy.”—Madeleine K. AlbrightMay 31, 2020 - Richard Stengel discusses his 2019 book, Information Wars

Richard Stengel was the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 2013 to 2016. Before working at the State Department, he was the editor of TIME for seven years. He collaborated with Nelson Mandela on the South African leader’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Stengel later wrote Mandela’s Way, a New York Times best-seller, on his experience working with Mandela. He is the author of several other books, including January Sun, about life in a small South African town, as well as You’re Too Kind: A Brief History of Flattery. He is an NBC/MSNBC analyst and lives in New York City.

Order Information Wars at the Gilder Lehrman Institute's Bookshop Store.

Coming soon

Professor Peniel Joseph, LBJ School of Public Affairs and the History Department in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at AustinHenry Louis Gates, Jr., Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow

Elizabeth Varon, Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War

Peniel Joseph, The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

David Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Gilder Lehrman Institute Education Coordinator William RokaDiscussion moderator William Roka is an independent researcher focusing on the history of travel and ocean liners in the early twentieth century. He has presented at conferences in the UK, Argentina, Australia, and across the US. He was the historian and public programs manager at the South Street Seaport Museum from 2016 to 2018, and curated the exhibition Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900–1914. His paper on ocean liners and travel in the early twentieth century was published in the inaugural edition of the Yearbook of Transnational History in 2018. He currently is an education coordinator for the Hamilton Education Program at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He studied history at University College London and international relations at King’s College London.