Book Breaks

Book Breaks is a weekly interview series with historians held every Sunday at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) on Zoom. Scroll down to see our upcoming programs!

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. Our guests have included Jon Meacham, Ken Burns, David Blight, Eric Foner, Annette Gordon-Reed, Clint Smith, Peniel Joseph, and Elizabeth Varon. 

How do I attend Book Breaks?

Book Breaks is completely free for Affiliate School K–12 teachers and students, college students, and college professors. 

  • K-12 students, simply log in or create an account
  • College students, professors, and K–12 educators, log in, return to this page, and click the button to subscribe for access to all future programming and the Book Breaks archive. 

Members of the general public can purchase a one-year subscription for $25. The subscription includes

  • Full access to one year of weekly live programs
  • Unlimited access to our ever-expanding Book Breaks archive, featuring more than ninety sessions with the nation’s leading historians. View the full archive of past sessions. 
  • Log in and make your purchase

Can I watch a program before deciding to subscribe? 

Yes! First-time viewers can watch a Book Breaks program for free. Simply log in or create an account and you will see a link at the top of this page to access the week’s historian lecture and Q&A.

Questions?

Email us at bookbreaks@gilderlehrman.org.

Every Sunday at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT)


Upcoming Book Breaks

February

 February 25 - Bruce Henderson on Bridge to the Sun: The Secret Role of the Japanese Americas Who Fought in the Pacific in World War II 

After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the US military was desperate to find Americans who spoke Japanese to serve in the Pacific war. They soon turned to the Nisei—first-generation US citizens whose parents were emigrants from Japan. Eager to prove their loyalty to America, several thousand Nisei—many of them volunteering from the internment camps where they were being held behind barbed wire—were selected by the Army for top-secret training, then were rushed to the Pacific theater. They served as translators and interrogators. After the war, many of these Nisei played critical roles in war crime trials and helped rebuild Japan as a modern democracy and a pivotal US ally. 

Bruce Henderson is the author of more than twenty books including the New York Times best seller And the Sea Will Tell (with Vincent Bugliosi).

March 3 - David Blight on Yale and Slavery: A History

March 10 - Brooke Barbier on King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father

History Scholar of the Week

Middle and high school students (age 13 and up), submit your questions for one of the historians being featured on Book Breaks! If your question is chosen, you will be named History Scholar of the Week, and it will be announced live on the program! In addition, both 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.

Submit your question here.

The deadline to submit a question for the upcoming Book Breaks is Thursday.


Book Breaks Archive

The Book Breaks archive contains more than three years of past programs featuring historians such as David Blight, Eric Foner, Annette Gordon-Reed, H. W. Brands, Peniel Joseph, Jon Meacham, Elizabeth Varon, Ken Burns, and more. Still deciding whether to subscribe? You can watch Ada Ferrer’s talk on Cuba: An American History (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) below to help you make up your mind.

View the full archive of past sessions


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

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