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

March

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

What happens when a university turns its formidable powers of investigation upon itself? Yale and Slavery is the culminating work of the Yale and Slavery Research Project, led by David W. Blight. As the book traces how Yale profited from enslaved people’s labor, it brings into focus the enslaved and free Black people who have been part of the university’s history from the beginning. These individuals and their descendants worked at Yale; petitioned and fought for freedom and dignity; built churches, schools, and anti-slavery organizations; and were among the first Black students to transform the university from the inside. 

David W. Blight is Sterling Professor of History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at the MacMillan Center at Yale. He was awarded the Bancroft Prize and Frederick Douglass Book Prize for Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, and the Pulitzer Prize and Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize for Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.

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

March 17 - Sarah Keyes on American Burial Ground: A New History of the Overland Trail 

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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