Book Breaks

Book Breaks is a weekly interview series with historians held every Sunday at 2 pm ET (11 am 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 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 all K-12 teachers and students. 

  • Simply log in or register here to create a free account. 
  • Once you log in you will see a button on this page asking you to subscribe, which will grant you 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 here.
  • Log in and make your purchase here 

Can I watch a program before deciding to register? 

Yes! First-time viewers can watch a Book Breaks program for free. Simply log in or register 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.

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


Upcoming Book Breaks

May

May 22, 2022 - Marcia Chatelain discusses her book Franchise

Just as The Color of Law provided a vital understanding of redlining and racial segregation, Marcia Chatelain’s Franchise investigates the complex interrelationship between Black communities and America’s largest, most popular fast-food chain. Taking us from the first McDonald’s drive-in in San Bernardino to the franchise on Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014, Chatelain shows how fast food is a source of both power—economic and political—and despair for African Americans. As she contends, fast food is, more than ever before, a key battlefield in the fight for racial justice.

Marcia Chatelain is a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University and is a leading public voice on the history of race, education, and food culture. The author of South Side Girls, Chatelain lives in Washington, DC.


Coming Soon

May 29 - Doris Kearns Goodwin on Leadership: In Turbulent Times


Student Question Submission Competition

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, it will be announced live on the program and 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, only one submission 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 over eighteen months of past programs from historians such as David Blight, Eric Foner, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peniel Joseph, Elizabeth Varon, and more. Still deciding whether to subscribe? You can watch David Blight’s talk on Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom below to help you make up your mind.

View the full archive of past sessions