Every Sunday at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT)
Upcoming Book Breaks
June 4, 2023 - South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War
When preparing for escape, enslaved people started with a single decision: Should they run north or south? They knew that northern states promised only “doubtful liberty,” as Frederick Douglass described it. But in Mexico, federal law had abolished slavery in 1837 and made all people free as soon as they touched the soil. In South to Freedom, Alice Baumgartner centers the thousands of people from Louisiana and Texas who escaped slavery and illuminates the anxieties their success provoked in southern enslavers. Her book is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand the relationship between westward expansion and the Civil War.
Alice L. Baumgartner is an assistant professor of history at the University of Southern California. South to Freedom was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award
June 11 - Gwendolyn Mink and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu on Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress
June 18 - Chole Melas on Luck of the Draw My Story of the Air War in Europe
June 26 - R. J. M. Blackett on Samuel Ringgold Ward: A Life of Struggle
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 two years of past programs from historians such as David Blight, Eric Foner, Annette Gordon-Reed, Peniel Joseph, 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.