History

The year is 1956. The place is a village outside Moscow. Boris Pasternak, Russia’s greatest living poet, hands a copy of his unpublished novel “Doctor Zhivago” to an Italian book scout intent on smuggling it out of the country. Understanding the risks of his action, Pasternak reportedly comments, “You are hereby invited to my execution.”

In the annals of journalism, there is a long tradition of newsfolks — reporters, writers, broadcasters — pulling April Fools' Day tricks on readers and listeners. Sometimes the prank prevails; sometimes it fails.

This interview with Dan Fagin was originally broadcast in September of 2014.

When the chemical company Ciba purchased a huge swath of forested land in Toms River, New Jersey, back in 1949 and laid plans to build a major factory on the site, the local citizenry mostly thought it was a good thing.

According to Sue Paul, the Executive Director of the Warhawk Air Museum, Vietnam veterans never got the respect they deserved. Paul says it’s time to put things right and look at the war as a military action, without all the politics and the Hollywood myths that have sprung up over time.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war, Warhawk teamed up with the Department of Defense to host a series of educational talks on the history of Vietnam.

Cuba is a mere 90 miles from the United States, a puddle-jump flight or a long swim across the straits of Florida. Yet, for more than a half-century, that distance at times has loomed much greater, as U.S.-Cuba tensions played out across the world stage and here at home. That situation is changing – and dramatically so.

Last December, after 18 months of secret talks, President Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the opening of an embassy in Havana. The news sparked intense reactions and a flurry of speculation.

This interview was originally broadcast in September, 2014

The rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest is dotted with historic cities and sea ports. But today’s well-established metropolises belie the imagination and tenacity that it took to settle this wild and remote region.

Dave Frazier, Adam Cotterell, Emilie Ritter Saunders

During the Vietnam War, few people had an experience quite like Boise resident Dave Frazier. He served as a public relations specialist for the Traffic Management Agency (TMA) of the Military Assistance Command, the military outfit in charge of moving supplies, equipment and people around Vietnam by land, sea and air. In his PR role, Frazier traveled throughout Vietnam taking pictures and writing stories about the work of the TMA while fighting was going on around the country.    

Frazier tells the story in his new memoir “Drafted! Vietnam at War and Peace.”

New ownership is giving new hope to a decrepit, unseaworthy fishing boat with a notable literary pedigree.

Courtesy of Frank Aden Jr.

Boise’s skyline has morphed over time, as buildings from early in the last century made way for newer, more modern structures. Those changes were captured in picture postcards and have been published in a new book.

Frank Aden Junior is an amateur Boise historian and a member of the Idaho Historical Society. His interest in Boise history grew out of his hobby of collecting old picture postcards that showed the city from different locations.

Samantha Martin

For three weeks this winter, Samantha Martin spent her days inside a freezing-cold house ripping apart the walls, doors, and windows. She was salvaging whatever she could because the house was set for demolition.

Martin and her group Buffalo Heart Homes have been trying for two years to save a group of historic homes in downtown Boise.

This interview was originally broadcast in May of 2014.

It’s no secret that the zero-sum game of Cold War politics often led U.S. policymakers into global alliances that had more to do with anti-communist expediency than lofty democratic ideals. One relatively unknown Cold War episode involves the 1971 atrocities against the Hindus of Bangladesh that led to war between India and a U.S.-supported military dictatorship in Pakistan.

Idaho Fish and Game

More than 60 years ago, Idaho Fish and Game dropped beavers out of a plane and parachuted them into the state's backcountry. This little-known piece of Idaho history stars a crafty Fish and Game officer and a plucky male beaver named Geronimo.

This is an encore broadcast of part 2 of the interview with Scott W. Berg, it was originally aired in October of 2013.

This interview with Isabel Wilkerson was originally broadcast in October of 2014.

For decades after slavery ended, African Americans continued a mighty struggle against a caste system grounded in racism. Pervasive discrimination kept many blacks from building decent lives in the southern states they called home. Faced with few choices, they undertook one of the largest migrations in our nation’s history, with more than 6 million making their way to Midwestern, Western and Eastern cities between 1915 and 1970.

Back in the early 1930s, Chicago had the distinction of being the fourth largest metropolis in the world. The city was a melting pot of race, ethnicity and culture, and a place where some of the world’s most celebrated architects, writers, musicians and entrepreneurs would find their inspiration.

In his book, The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, Thomas Dyja makes the case that much of what defined America, particularly from the end of World War II until 1960, came from Chicago.  

ITD

The agency that oversees Idaho's highways spent part of Tuesday taking a trip down Memory Lane.

The Idaho Transportation Department opened a time capsule buried in Boise in 1989. The 3-foot piece of conduit had been glued shut and buried near the department's East Annex. The burial was part of a dedication of a grove of trees given to the state by the University of Idaho.

The contents included newspapers of the era, license plates, advertisements and more.

stonebraker
University of Idaho Library

William Allen Stonebraker worked and played in the rugged central Idaho wilderness at the turn of the 20th century and he's left behind a unique legacy of photographs to tell his story. That photo collection has just been released by the University of Idaho Library.

As America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, it’s a fitting time to remember the man who helped lay the early groundwork for the idea of wilderness as a national treasure.  President Theodore Roosevelt’s dedication and perseverance led to the preservation of some of our greatest national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife sanctuaries.

This Reader's Corner interview originally was broadcast in July of 2013

When President Franklin Roosevelt selected mild-mannered University of Chicago history professor William Dodd to serve as America’s ambassador to Nazi Germany in 1933, neither man had an inkling of the coming terror. In fact, Dodd accepted the post in part because he believed his light duties would allow him time to complete his exhaustive history of the American South.

art.thewalters.org

A Boise State University professor is trying to solve a historical mystery.

Darryl Butt is trying to figure out who was buried in an Egyptian sarcophagus.  Butt, however, is not an archeologist or historian. He’s a materials scientist and associate director of Idaho’s Center for Advanced Energy Studies. He mostly works with nuclear fuels. Butt says his involvement started with a chance meeting with someone from the Walters Museum in Maryland.

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