Monday, December 8, 2014

Historian Dan McMillan To Speak at January Meeting

Dan McMillan, Ph.D.
The New Jersey World War II Book Club, a Not for Profit New Jersey Corporation, is pleased to announce a lecture by historian, Dan McMillan, author of the acclaimed How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust (Basic Books, 2014). McMillan will speak on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7 p.m., at the Millburn Library, 200 Glen Avenue, next to the Millburn train station. Dr. McMillan's talk is titled: "The Holocaust and Humanity's Moral Progress: An Argument against Pessimism." The lecture is free and open to the public.

What does the Holocaust say about humankind's capacity for moral progress? What does it say about our nature? The Holocaust has inspired considerable pessimism. If the most advanced human society could perpetrate history's most monstrous crime, is our civilization morally bankrupt?

Dr. McMillan will approach these vital questions from three perspectives:  first, Dr. McMillan will analyze the many ca ses of the Holocaust and the complex ways that they came together to produce this catastrophe. Then he will ask: could this happen again? That is, could one of the world's established emocracies, such as Germany ar the United States, perpetrate another genocide? Finally, Dr. McMillan will ask why the Holocaust frightens us like no other historical event. He contends thal the Holocaust was unique among historical occurrences in the way that it onfronts us with existential questions, inspiring fear that clouds our judgment about what this tragedy tells us — and does not tell us about human nature.

Dan McMillan holds a Ph.D. in German history from Columbia University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and has worked as a prosecuting attorney and as a history professor. Dr. McMillan began his lifelong engagement with the Holocaust as a teenager growing up in Millburn. After reading Simon Wiesenthal's The Murderers Among Us, Dan needed to understand how such a catastrophe could have been possible, and this need shaped much of the course of his life: he learned German from Frau Spier at Millburn High School, studied German and History at Stanford University and at the Freie Universität in Berlin, earned a Ph.D. in German history at Columbia, and worked constantly to understand the many causes of the Holocaust.

An acclaimed public speaker, Dr. McMillan has spoken at, among other venues, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, the University of Chicago. and the National Archives in Washington.

For more information, contact Dr. John J. McLaughlin, Director and Moderator of the Book Club. Dr. McLaughlin can be reach d at (973) 467-3313 or at NJ WW2BookCIub@aol.com.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Harvey Kaye Lecture Video Available

Harvey Kaye's October lecture, The Fight for the Four Freedoms, is now available for those who missed the presentation.  Thanks, as always, to our two videographers, Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, students at Millburn High School, for filming and editing the lecture.  View the video »

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Breitman in the New York Times

Our May speaker, Richard Breitman was quoted yesterday in an article in the New York Times, regarding his role as a member of a government-appointed team that declassified war-crime records.

The article, "In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis," quoted Breitman as saying:
“This all stemmed from a kind of panic, a fear that the Communists were terribly powerful and we had so few assets,” he said."  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Winston Churchill Is Topic of Next Meeting

The next meting of the World War II Book Club will be on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, as usual at the Millburn Library commencing at 7 p.m.

"Churchill V sign HU 55521" by British Government - This is photograph HU 55521 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521.jpg
From the collections
of the Imperial War Museums.
Our speaker will be Richard G. Osborne. Mr. Osborne is a former classmate of John J. McLaughlin at Columbia High School, Maplewood, New Jersey. Like many high school graduates, they depart school, do not keep in touch, and often do not see each other for many years. Such is the case with Richard Osborne. Recently, John was privileged to be at an event where Richard was the guest speaker. The subject of the lecture was Winston S. Churchill. Richard gave a remarkable speech about Mr. Churchill, without notes, and without the ubiquitous teleprompter, the absence of which render most modern day politicians speechless. 

We learned that after graduation from high school, Richard served a tour in the United States Army with the A.S.A., the forerunner of the N.S.A. He earned a B.A. from Rutgers University followed by a law degree also from Rutgers. He spent 50 years as a professional manager of various privately held companies, traveled extensively and lived for a time in Greece and the U.K. All during this time he read widely in history, and became fascinated with the career of Winston Churchill, becoming as much of an expert about Churchill as many authors and historians.   

He is a founding member of the Churchill Center and a member of the Churchillian N.E. Chapter. Richard maintains a private library of over 3,000 books. By any definition, Mr. Osborne is truly a historian, and we are honored to have him as our guest.  Richard is traveling from Boston to give us this lecture. We look forward to a wonderful evening. Please mark the date.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Boyer Video Available

Barbara Boyer at New Jersey World Word II Book Club, Millburn, NJ
Barbara Boyer
The video recording of Barbara Boyer's September lecture is now available on Youtube, thanks to Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, Sophomores at Millburn High School, who filmed and edited the lecture.  
Proceed to the video »

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Professor Kay to Speak at Next Meeting

Harvey J. Kaye the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will speak about his book, The Fight For The Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great.   Professor Kay is an award winning author of numerous books, including Thomas Paine and the Promise of America.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Harvey Kaye to Present at October Meeting


Cover image for Harvey Kaye's The Fight for the Four Freedoms

The next meeting of the World War II Book Club will be Tuesday October 21, 2014, as usual at the Millburn Library, 200 Glen Avenue Millburn, NJ. The lecture will commence at 7 p.m.

Our speaker will be Harvey J. Kaye, the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Professor Kaye is an award winning author of numerous books, including Thomas Paine and the Promise of America.  He is also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast and a repeat guest on radio and television programs such as To the Best of Our Knowledge, the Thom Hartmann show, and Bill Moyers Journal.

Harvey Kaye will talk about his award winning book, The Fight For The Four Freedoms-What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great. Steve Lomazow and John McLaughlin heard him speak at the FDR Library June 21, 2014. Describing the lecture as "spellbinding" may seem an exaggeration, but not in this case and Steve and John immediately booked Kaye to present for the Book Club. Harvey asked them what he should talk about and they both said, "...just repeat what you said today, and don't change anything!"

Praise for the book has been forthcoming from many sources: Bill Moyers said he "...tells a spirited story...", and we agree. His book will be offered for sale and signature at the bargain price of $20.

Dues Reminder

Dues are now one price, $35 for the season, and this includes the entire family. For those who have not yet paid for this season, please pay by check made payable to the NJ World War II Book Club and mail to John McLaughlin at 10 Farmstead Road, Short Hills, New Jersey 07078.