Category Archives: Books

Colonial Port Cities and Slavery


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ben_franklins_worldThe histories of early North America and the Caribbean are intimately intertwined. The same European empires we encounter in our study of early America also appear in the Caribbean. The colonies of these respective empires often traded goods, people, and ideas between each other.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Marisa Fuentes, an associate professor of history and women and gender studies at Rutgers University and author of Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), joins us to explore some of the connections mainland North America and the British Caribbean shared in their practices of slavery in urban towns. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/173

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Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War


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ben_franklins_worldIntelligence gathering plays an important role in the foreign policies of many modern-day nation states, including the United States. Which raises the questions: How and when did the United States establish its foreign intelligence service?

To answer those questions, in this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History we’ll journey back to the American Revolution.

Our guide is Kenneth Daigler, an intelligence professional with 33 years experience managing human sources and collection and the author of Spies, Patriots, and Traitors: American Intelligence in the Revolutionary War (Georgetown university Press, 2014)will facilitate our mental time travel and exploration of this topic. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/172

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Native Americans, British Colonists and Trade in North America


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ben_franklins_worldHistory books like to tell us that Native Americans did not fully understand British methods and ideas of trade. Is this really true?

Did Native Americans only understand trade as a form of simplistic, gift exchange?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Jessica Stern, a Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton and the author of The Lives in Objects: Native Americans, British Colonists, and Cultures of Labor and Exchange in the Southeast (UNCPress, 2017), takes us on a journey into the southeast during the early 18th century to show us how trade between Native Americans and British colonists really took place. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/171

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New England Bound: Slavery in Early New England


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ben_franklins_worldNew England was a place with no cash crops. It was a place where many of its earliest settlers came to live just so they could worship their Puritan faith freely. New England was also a place that became known for its strong anti-slavery sentiment during the 19th century. So how did New England also become a place that practiced slavery?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Wendy Warren, an Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-finalist book New England Bound: Slavery and Colonization in Early America (Liveright, 2016)joins us to explore why New Englanders practiced slavery and just how far back the region’s slave past goes. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/170

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Russell Shorto Named To NYS Writers Hall of Fame


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The Center for the Book has announced that noted historian Russell Shorto is among the six members of the 2018 Class of Inductees for the NYS Writers Hall of Fame.

Author, historian, and journalist Russell Shorto is best known for his book The Island at the Center of the World about the Dutch origins of the City of New York.

Also being inducted are Colson Whitehead, Jacqueline Woodsonand three deceased writers: Ira Gershwin, E. L. Konigsburg, and Jose Marti.

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History of Here: Pine Hills Neighborhood in Albany


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the history of hereAlbany writer Akum Norder’s new book, The History of Here: A House, the Pine Hills Neighborhood, and the City of Albany (Excelsior Editions, 2018) follows Albany’s Pine Hills neighborhood through more than one hundred years of change.

At its heart is the story of Norder’s 1912 house and the people who built and lived in it. As Norder traced their histories, she came to see the development of her house, her street, and her neighborhood as a piece of Albany’s story. In the lives of its residents, their struggles and triumphs, she saw a reflection of twentieth-century America. Continue reading

Religious Life of Benjamin Franklin Podcast


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ben_franklins_worldWe remember Benjamin Franklin as an accomplished printer, scientist, and statesman. Someone who came from humble beginnings and made his own way in the world. Rarely do we remember Franklin as a man of faith.

Benjamin Franklin spent more time grappling with questions of religion, faith, virtue, and morality in his writing than about any other topic.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Thomas S. Kidd, a Professor of History at Baylor University and author of Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2017), leads us on a detailed exploration of the religious life of Benjamin Franklin. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/169

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Colonists and Animals in North America


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ben_franklins_worldWhen we study the history of colonial North America, we tend to focus on European colonists and their rivalries with each other and with Native Americans. But humans weren’t the only living beings occupying North America during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

Rivalries existed between humans and animals too. And these human-animal rivalries impacted and shaped how European colonists used and settled North American lands.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Andrea Smalley, an associate professor of history at Northern Illinois University and author of Wild By Nature: North American Animals Confront Colonization (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), joins us to explore the many ways wild animals shaped colonists’ ideas and behavior as they settled and interacted with North American lands. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/168

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The Early History of New Orleans


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ben_franklins_worldThe French established New Orleans and the greater colony of Louisiana in 1717. By 1840, New Orleans had become the 3rd largest city in the United States. How did that happen?

How did New Orleans transform from a sleepy, minor French outpost into a large and important early American city with a thriving, bustling port?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’ World podcast, Eberhard “Lo” Faber, an assistant professor of history at Loyola University, New Orleans and the author of Building the Land of Dreams: New Orleans and the Transformation of Early America (Princeton University Press, 2015), leads us on an exploration of the early history of New Orleans. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/167

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