For the Ages: A History Podcast

Explore the rich and complex history of the United States and beyond with this podcast produced by the New-York Historical Society. 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 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 the Second World War 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 VinciRecorded 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Nation. Recorded on October 7, 2019

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Episode 9:
A Conversation with Ron Chernow

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

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

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

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

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

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
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. 

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Episode 2:
A Conversation with Cokie Roberts

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

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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Photos: David M. Rubenstein by Don Pollard. New-York Historical Society by Jon Wallen.

Creative: Tronvig Group