Blog

Can Assembling Immigrant Stories Bring Change?

Can Assembling Immigrant Stories Bring Change?

Jun 20 2019

Recently I got a letter in the mail from former U.S. Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal. This was not completely out of the…

Honoring D-Day’s 75th Anniversary

Honoring D-Day’s 75th Anniversary

Jun 06 2019

On the morning of June 6, 1944 American soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy to retake Europe, unsure of what lay…

Cork Wars in BookStory

Cork Wars in BookStory

May 31 2019

One of my favorite history podcasts, BackStory, selected my book Cork Wars for its monthly book club, BookStory. So the other day…

Q&A: History, Cork Wars, and How Stories Sometimes Find Me

Q&A: History, Cork Wars, and How Stories Sometimes Find Me

May 20 2019

Not long ago I had the pleasure of talking with the fine writer Cathy Alter for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Uncovering the Secret History of a Brooklyn Businessman

Uncovering the Secret History of a Brooklyn Businessman

May 14 2019

My essay on Literary Hub explores how writing about families can lead you down twisting paths.

WW2 Podcast – Cork Wars and the Arsenal of Democracy

WW2 Podcast – Cork Wars and the Arsenal of Democracy

May 05 2019

In a new episode, Angus and I discuss Cork Wars and the circumstances that set up one small industry’s unexpectedly critical importance during the war.

BackStory podcast: 20th-century Industrial Disasters Still Affect Us

BackStory podcast: 20th-century Industrial Disasters Still Affect Us

Apr 19 2019

Our conversation ranged across the fears of sabotage in America, the role of cork in American industry, innovation, and wartime intelligence.

Commonplace to Critical: Cork and Soy – podcast

Commonplace to Critical: Cork and Soy – podcast

Mar 31 2019

At the Virginia Festival of the Book’s panel “Commonplace to Critical” Matthew Roth and I spoke with moderator Nina Earnest about everyday items that became sensations. They either went big overnight in wartime, or over the course of a century. Who gets caught in the middle?

Dawn of the Age of Plastics

Dawn of the Age of Plastics

Mar 08 2019

In the closing months of World War II, Americans talked about how and when the war would end, and about how life…

From Microalgae, These Mardi Gras Beads Are Biodegradable

From Microalgae, These Mardi Gras Beads Are Biodegradable

Mar 02 2019

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a famously unholy mess. After the 2018 celebration, some wondered if it had gone too far.…