For the Ages: A History Podcast

Explore the rich and complex history of the United States and beyond. Host David M. Rubenstein engages the nation’s foremost historians and creative thinkers on a wide range of topics, including presidential biography, the nation’s founding, and the people who have shaped the American story.

Episode 37:
The Cause: The American Revolution and Its Discontents, 1773–1783

Release Date: May 16, 2022
Award-winning author and historian Joseph J. Ellis, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, sheds new light on the War for American Independence. Focusing on 1773 to 1783, Ellis illuminates how the nation’s founders—including George Washington and John Adams, among others—prudently but imperfectly established a new republic. Recorded June 11, 2021

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Episode 36:
Abraham Lincoln in His Times

Release Date: May 9, 2022
Featuring: David Reynolds, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Few historical figures are as revered as Abraham Lincoln. From humble beginnings, Lincoln’s enduring desire for self-improvement and extraordinary ability to strike a balance between opposing forces led him to become one of the most consequential figures of the 19th century. Prize-winning author and historian David S. Reynolds illuminates the forces that shaped Lincoln and how our nation’s 16th president rose to the unprecedented challenges of the time. Recorded April 30, 2021

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Episode 35:
How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower’s Biggest Decisions

Release Date: May 2, 2022
Featuring: Susan Eisenhower, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Serving as Allied Commander during World War II and later as President of the United States, few people have made decisions as momentous and consequential as Dwight D. Eisenhower. Guided by his heritage and upbringing, as well as his strong character and his personal discipline, Eisenhower was a steadying force during some of the most tumultuous decades in human history. Susan Eisenhower discusses the life and legacy of her distinguished grandfather and what we can learn from him today. Recorded on April 30, 2021

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Episode 34:
JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917–1956

Release Date: April 25, 2022
Featuring: Frederick Logevall, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Born in 1917 to a family destined to become one of the most influential in American politics, John F. Kennedy knew ambition from an early age. Focusing on Kennedy's first 39 years, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Fredrik Logevall, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, examines the coming-of-age of the nation's 35th president during a time of national turmoil and transformation. Recorded on November 6, 2020

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Episode 33:
A Conversation with Jeffrey Rosen: The Life and Legacy of Justice Ginsburg

Release Date: April 18, 2022
Featuring: Jeffrey Rosen, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Starting in the 1990s, Jeffrey Rosen met with Ruth Bader Ginsburg to discuss both her political and personal life, gleaning priceless observations from the Justice about topics ranging from the Constitution to how to be a good listener to the #MeToo movement. Join us to hear Rosen’s reflections on their three decades of conversations as well as Justice Ginsburg’s legacy. Recorded on November 13, 2022

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Episode 32:
The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Release Date: April 11, 2022
Featuring: Walter Isaacson, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Bestselling author Walter Isaacson, in conversation with David M. Rubenstein, discusses the life and work of the Nobel Prize-winning Jennifer Doudna who, with her collaborators, created a DNA-editing tool with the power to revolutionize human health. Recorded on February 19, 2021

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Episode 31:
A Conversation with Brenda Child

Release Date: April 4, 2022
Featuring: Brenda Child, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Scholar Brenda Child sheds light on how America’s first inhabitants were impacted by the arrival of colonial settlers in a wide-ranging discussion that will include President Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, efforts by the American government to expand rights and grant citizenship to native peoples, as well as the activism and grassroots advocacy that continue to this day. Recorded on April 16, 2021

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Episode 30:
The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream

Release Date: March 28, 2022
Featuring: David M. Rubenstein, Louise Mirrer (moderator)
The American experiment began with a revolutionary idea that a nation could be founded on the principles of democracy, equality, and liberty. In this talk, New-York Historical Society President and CEO Louise Mirrer speaks with David M. Rubenstein about the subject of his latest book: how the American experiment, in all its promise and imperfection, has evolved over the past 250 years. Discover the ingenuity, setbacks, and social movements that continue to define what America is—and what it can be. Recorded on December 7, 2021

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Episode 29:
Cover Story: Katharine Graham, CEO

Release Date: March 21, 2022
Featuring: Lally Graham Weymouth, Donald Graham, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Publisher Katharine Graham, one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, championed excellence in journalism. Under her leadership, the Washington Post evolved into one of the nation’s most respected news sources and forever changed American history with its groundbreaking investigative reporting into the Watergate scandal. In conversation with David M. Rubenstein, Graham’s children Donald E. Graham and Lally Graham Weymouth discuss their mother’s life and legacy. Recorded on January 7, 2021

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Episode 28:
A Conversation with John M. Barry: The Great Influenza

Release Date: March 14, 2022
Featuring: John M. Barry, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
At the height of World War I, a lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, spreading rapidly as it moved east with American troops. The influenza pandemic of 1918 ended up killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. Author John M. Barry joins David M. Rubenstein for a conversation on how the 1918 pandemic began and spread, as well as what was ultimately done to stop it. Recorded on June 25, 2020

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Episode 27:
The World: A Brief Introduction

Release Date: March 7, 2022
Featuring: Richard N. Haass, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
We live in a global era with events that happen hundreds or thousands of miles away having a direct impact on our lives. This is all too clear in recent months, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing individual countries to develop unique methods to contain the outbreak within their borders. Foreign policy expert Richard Haass, in a discussion with David Rubenstein, illuminates how we got here through the lens of his own life and work, including his most recent book, The World: A Brief Introduction. Recorded on July 9, 2020

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Episode 26:
Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Release Date: February 28, 2022
Featuring: David Quammen, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Originally published in 2012, science author David Quammen’s book Spillover hypothesized the increasing frequency of diseases spreading from animals to humans, coupled with the speed and ease of modern world travel, could be the recipe for a global pandemic. Recorded in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, Quammen discusses his work and unique insights into how, where, and why diseases emerge. Recorded on June 25, 2020

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Episode 25:
A Conversation with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Release Date: February 21, 2022
Featuring: Henry Louis Gates Jr., David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. has helped reshape the nation’s collective understanding of the legacy of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the ongoing struggle for racial equality. The storied filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder discusses this important history and how his scholarly work has developed how we learn about and understand the American story. Recorded on January 22, 2021

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Episode 24:
The Splendid and the Vile: Churchill, Family, and Defiance during the Blitz

Release Date: February 14, 2022
Featuring: Erik Larson, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
During World War II, the Nazis bombed Great Britain relentlessly, killing 45,000 Britons and destroying two million homes. Drawing on recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries that are only now available, author Erik Larson, in conversation with David Rubenstein, offers fresh insight into the experience of the Blitz through the lens of the newly elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his family. The Splendid and the Vile will be available in paperback in bookstores nationwide starting February 15. Recorded on Thursday, July 9, 2020

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Episode 23:
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Release Date: February 7, 2022
Featuring: David W. Blight, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David W. Blight delves into the life of one of the most important figures of the 19th century: writer, orator, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Born into slavery, Douglass rose to become one of the most revered critical thinkers of his time, and his insights continue to shape contemporary understanding of the legacies of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Recorded on October 30, 2020

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Episode 22:
A Conversation with Akhil Reed Amar: The Electoral College

Release Date: January 31, 2022
Featuring: Akhil Reed Amar, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
The Electoral College has been a source of much debate throughout American history. The controversy was amplified following the 2000 and 2016 elections after the runners-up in the popular vote were able to claim the presidency. In a conversation with David M. Rubenstein, esteemed constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar uncovers the fascinating history of the nation’s electoral process. Recorded on January 22, 2021

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Episode 21:
Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington

Release Date: January 24, 2022
Featuring: Ted Widmer, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Overcoming formidable obstacles, including an assassination attempt, Abraham Lincoln’s presidency was fraught with danger before it even officially began. Ted Widmer provides a riveting account of Lincoln’s pivotal 13-day train ride to Washington for his inauguration, and how this fateful trip played a vital role in shaping him for his role as president of a rapidly fracturing nation. Recorded on February 5, 2021

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Episode 20:
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Release Date: January 17, 2022
Featuring: Isabel Wilkerson, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns Isabel Wilkerson examines an unspoken hierarchy that transcends race, class, and other lines of division in modern society. By comparing the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, explore how the nation can orient itself around common humanity instead of artificial and destructive separations between those who have power and those who do not. Recorded on May 7, 2021

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Episode 19: 
A Conversation with Michael Beschloss 


January 10, 2022 
Featuring: Michael Beschloss, David M. Rubenstein (moderator) 
Michael Beschloss, one of the most prominent presidential historians in the country, joins David M. Rubenstein for an intimate conversation on his life, career, and his 2018 book, Presidents of War, which is the culmination of 10 years of research. The U.S. Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war, however throughout history presidents have waged conflicts across the globe–both with and without formal Congressional approval. In this conversation, Beschloss traces presidential leadership and executive power in times of conflict from the founding to the 21st century, including the actions Lincoln took during the Civil War and Lyndon B. Johnson’s approach to the Vietnam War. Recorded on April 17, 2019

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Episode 18:
A Conversation with Bernard L. Schwartz

December 27, 2021
Featuring: Bernard Schwartz, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
In celebration of 15 years of transformative support of New-York Historical, Bernard L. Schwartz highlights his fascinating life—from his youth and service during World War II to his life’s work in private investment, public policy, philanthropy, and industry. He also discusses his book, Just Say Yes: What I've Learned About Life, Luck, and the Pursuit of Opportunity, a memoir and primer for readers seeking their own opportunities. Recorded on March 25, 2019

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Episode 17:
A Conversation with Walter Isaacson

December 20, 2021
Featuring: Walter Isaacson, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Walter Isaacson discusses his career as a preeminent historian and biographer, how he chooses the people he writes about, and why he is fascinated by them. This includes his books Steve Jobs, the authorized biography of the Apple Inc. co-founder written by Isaacson at the subject’s request, and Leonardo da Vinci. Recorded on December 18, 2018

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Episode 16:
Churchill: Walking with Destiny

December 13, 2021
Featuring: Andrew Roberts, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Andrew Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, discusses the life of one of the most venerable personalities of the Second World War: including why one of the most oft-written about figures in history needed a new biography. Recorded on May 8, 2019

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Episode 15:
Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism

December 6, 2021
Featuring: Bhu Srinivasan, David M. Rubenstein (moderator) 
Entrepreneur and author Bhu Srinivasan explores the surprising intersections of democracy and capitalism throughout history, from the days of the Mayflower and Virginia Company through Silicon Valley start-ups. Recorded on September 18, 2020

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Episode 14:
One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965

November 29, 2021
Featuring: Jia Lynn Yang, David M. Rubenstein (moderator) 
In 1924, Congress put in place strict quotas that impacted national immigration policy for decades. Interweaving her own family’s story, New York Times deputy national editor Jia Lynn Yang uncovers how presidents from Harry S. Truman through LBJ and a coalition of lawmakers and activists fought to transform the American immigration system. Recorded on September 11, 2020

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Episode 13:
Shakespeare in a Divided America

November 15, 2021
Featuring: James Shapiro, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
James Shapiro, Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at the Public Theater in New York City, discusses his book Shakespeare in a Divided America, connecting the American story, from politics to pop culture, with those of history’s most famous playwright. Recorded on December 4, 2020

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Episode 12:
An Evening with Drew Gilpin Faust

November 8, 2021
Featuring: Drew Gilpin Faust, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Esteemed American historian Drew Gilpin Faust, 28th President of Harvard University, discusses her work as a Civil War historian and uncovers the pivotal role universities play in modeling cultural and political understanding and strengthening American society. Recorded March 20, 2018

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Episode 11:
An Evening with Robert A. Caro: Working

November 1, 2021
Featuring: Robert A. Caro, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Robert A. Caro, who has twice won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, and in 2010 was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, discusses his experiences as a researcher and writer, offering a first-hand perspective on the process that produced his award-winning book The Power Broker and multi-volume series The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Recorded on April 22, 2019

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Episode 10:
An Evening with Jill Lepore


October 18, 2021
Featuring: Jill Lepore, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Jill Lepore discusses her prolific career, her contribution to the study of American history, and her books: the New York Times bestseller These Truths: A History of the United States and This America: The Case for the NationRecorded on October 7, 2019

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Episode 9:
A Conversation with Ron Chernow


October 4, 2021
Featuring: Ron Chernow, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow discusses his work as a biographer, including how he came to be involved in the production of the hit musical Hamilton, based on his book Alexander Hamilton, and his sweeping biography of the often misunderstood Union general and American president Ulysses S. Grant. Recorded on December 18, 2018

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Episode 8: 
Silver, Sword, and Stone: A History of Latin America


September 20, 2021
Featuring: Marie Arana, David M. Rubenstein (moderator)
Asylum-seeking refugees at the southern border often dominate national headlines and ignite contentious debates on how to address the crisis. But why and what are they fleeing? Award-winning author Marie Arana examines the critical forces—including exploitation, violence, and religion—that have shaped Latin America for the past millennium and continue to reverberate today. Recorded on July 23, 2020 

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Episode 7:
The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom


September 6, 2021
Featuring: H.W. Brands, David M. Rubenstein (host)
Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands discusses the early days of the American struggle to end slavery using the stories of two men who were at its forefront: Abraham Lincoln and John Brown. Recorded September 4, 2020 

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Episode 6:
A Conversation with Joanne Freeman: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War


August 19, 2021
Featuring: Joanne Freeman, David M. Rubenstein (host)
Esteemed historian and Yale University professor Joanne B. Freeman illuminates the tensions and conflicts in U.S. Congress in the decades leading up to the Civil War, when legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats and physical altercations. Recorded January 7, 2021 

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Episode 5:
The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency


August 5, 2021
Featuring: John Dickerson, David M. Rubenstein (host)
60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson delves into the history of presidential campaigns in the United States, focusing on some of the best stories of memorable moments from past election runs. Recorded November 13, 2020

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Episode 4:
The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III

July 26, 2021
Featuring: Peter Baker, Susan Glasser, David M. Rubenstein (host)
Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times, and Susan Glasser, a staff writer at the New Yorker, examine the life and lasting legacy of James A. Baker, one of the most influential political power brokers in American history. Recorded December 3, 2020

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Episode 3:
A Conversation with Philip Deloria: America’s First Inhabitants


July 12, 2021
Featuring: Philip J. Deloria, David M. Rubenstein (host)
Harvard University professor Philip Deloria discusses the social, cultural, and political histories of the relations among American Indian peoples and the United States and how these relationships impacted indigenous peoples throughout history. Recorded September 4, 2020

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Episode 2:
A Conversation with Cokie Roberts

June 28, 2021
Featuring: Cokie Roberts, David M. Rubenstein (host)
The late Cokie Roberts illuminates her family’s legacy in public service, her career as a journalist and political commentator, and the importance of highlighting the oft-forgotten stories of women and the integral role they played in the shaping of American history. Recorded December 18, 2018

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Episode 1:
The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle

June 14, 2021
Featuring: Lillian Faderman, David M. Rubenstein (host)
The fight for LGBTQ civil rights is long and hard-fought—and it still continues today. Award-winning author and renowned scholar Lillian Faderman discusses the history of the movement, from the 1950s up through the fight for marriage equality and beyond. Recorded September 25, 2020

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