Should schools cultivate patriotism? It's one question among many about patriotism in schools and society addressed in a new book called “Patriotic Education in a Global Age.”

The co-author is University of Rochester professor Randy Curren. He joins us to discuss his research, the difference between patriotism and nationalism, and the role patriotism might play in civic education.

Tom Nichols is the author of The Death of Expertise, a book that has become a smash success. It explores the decline in respect for experts in American culture.

Nichols was invited to speak at the College at Brockport, and he sits down with us to discuss the strong reaction his book has sparked. Nichols is also an expert in Russian affairs, so he weighs in on the Mueller investigation as well.

When we discuss the Holocaust and Nazi Germany’s tactics to create a so-called master race, we frequently talk about the atrocities committed in concentration camps. Holocaust survivors have come forward over the years to share their stories, with the hope that by understanding history, we can prevent it from repeating itself. But until recently, there were a number of stories that remained untold or at least, hidden. Those belong to the women who lived under Nazi rule — women whose reproductive rights were stripped away, and who became part of the Nazi Party’s systematic efforts to create an Aryan race.

Scholar Beverley Chalmers spent a decade researching sterilization, sex abuse, rape, and extermination in Nazi Germany for her book, Birth, Sex and Abuse: Women's Voices Under Nazi Rule. She says as difficult as those stories are to hear, we don’t have the right to tune them out. Chalmers is in Rochester this week for several lectures, but first, she’s our guest on Connections. 

It's a pair of whodunits! We discuss the true stories behind a couple iconic things around the holidays, and they are not what they appear.

We hear the creation stories of the poem, "The Night Before Christmas," and the board game, Monopoly. Our guests:

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is the author of many books, and she coined the phrase "Well behaved women seldom make history." She's a feminist historian who is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in American history and women’s studies.

Thatcher Ulrich is in Rochester for an event titled “Curiosities: History in Odd Things” at the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library. But first, she's our guest on Connections.

What truly makes someone happy? SUNY Geneseo psychology professor Jim Allen collected the data and produced a new book called The Psychology of Happiness in the Modern World.

We discuss the impacts of economic systems, income inequality, and more.

A new book from longtime Washington Post journalist Amy Goldstein tells the true story of a Midwestern town whose foundation was rocked with the closing of auto giant GM's plant during the Great Recession.

In Janesville, Goldstein illustrates the domino effect the closing of a major factory can have on the lives of individuals. As the New York Times reports, the book also offers "sobering takeaways" about how ineffective job retraining can be for workers forced to reinvent their careers. Goldstein will be a guest of MCC next week, but first, she joins us to share her intimate portrait of a working class town and what policymakers today can learn from a community like Janesville.

Author Todd Moss draws on his experiences as a former State Department employee to drive the narratives of his Judd Ryker series. He newest book, The Shadow List, involves scam emails, a Nigerian corruption scandal, and a Russian master criminal.

Moss, a Pittsford native, will be a guest at the JCC’s Jewish Book Festival, but first, he joins us on Connections to discuss the parallels between his fiction and his former career.  

How do Americans view the racial divide in this country? According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans say racism is a “big problem” in society. That’s up eight percentage points since 2015. But it leads to the question, why isn’t that number higher? 

Debby Irving is a white woman from New England who says she didn't fully understand the racial divide in this country until her adult life. Growing up in a wealthy Massachusetts family, she says she couldn’t see outside of her privileged bubble. That all changed when she took a graduate level course about racism and explored her own bias. Now, she’s a racial justice educator and author of the book, Waking Up White. Irving is in Rochester to share her story and offer workshops, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

*Note: Debby Irving's event has been rescheduled. Please find details here.

Heather Ann Thompson won the Pulitzer Prize for her book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy. Thompson uncovered stories, documents, and information that the state kept suppressed for decades.

We talk to her about the years she spent researching the true stories of what happened at Attica -- before, during, and after the uprising.