June 4: Leila Fawaz lecture: “A Land of Aching Hearts”

  • Thursday, June 4, 7 pm: Leila Fawaz, author of “A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War”

The Great War transformed the Middle East, bringing to an end four hundred years of Ottoman rule in Arab lands while giving rise to the Middle East as we know it today. Among those who suffered were the people of Greater Syria—comprising modern Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine—as well as the people of Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt. Beyond the shifting fortunes of the battlefield, the region was devastated by a British and French naval blockade made worse by Ottoman war measures. Famine, disease, inflation, and an influx of refugees were everyday realities. But the local populations were not passive victims. The war’s aftermath proved bitter for many survivors. Nationalist aspirations were quashed as Britain and France divided the Middle East along artificial borders that still cause resentment. The misery of the Great War, and a profound sense of huge sacrifices made in vain, would color people’s views of politics and the West for the century to come.Leila Fawaz chronicles the initiative and resilience of civilian émigrés, entrepreneurs, draft-dodgers, soldiers, villagers, and townsmen determined to survive the war as best they could. The right mix of ingenuity and practicality often meant the difference between life and death.

Walking Tours of Falmouth: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 am, June through October

A Walk Through Falmouth’s History!  Join us on this 90 minute walk which starts and ends at our Hallett Barn Visitors’ Center, 55 Palmer Avenue. Each guided walk takes the visitor past a variety of structures and neighborhoods from Falmouth’s historic past. Visitors are asked to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring drinking water with them. Cost is $ 5 per walker and reservations are requested. Please come to the Visitors’ Center by 9:45.

Walks will happen each week if weather permits.

2015 schedule: Walks begin Tuesday, June 9th and go until Thursday, October 8th.

June 9: Greg Flemming, “At the Point of a Cutlass”

Tuesday, June 9, 7 pm: Greg Flemming, author of “At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton”

Based on a rare manuscript from 1725, At the Point of a Cutlass uncovers the amazing voyage of Philip Ashton — a nineteen-year old fisherman who was captured by pirates, escaped on an uninhabited Caribbean island, and then miraculously arrived back home three years later to tell his incredible story.

     Taken in a surprise attack near Nova Scotia in June 1722, Ashton was forced to sail across the Atlantic and back with a crew under the command of Edward Low, a man so vicious he tortured victims by slicing off an ear or nose and roasting them over a fire. Ashton barely survived the nine months he sailed with Low’s crew — he was nearly shot in the head at gunpoint, came close to drowning when a ship sank near the coast of Brazil, and was almost hanged for secretly plotting a revolt against the pirates. Like many forced men, Ashton thought constantly about escaping. In March of 1723, he saw his chance when Low’s crew anchored at the secluded island of Roatan, at the western edge of the Caribbean. Ashton fled into the thick, overgrown woods and, for more than a year, had to claw out a living on the remote strip of land, completely alone and with practically nothing to sustain him. The opportunity to escape came so unexpectedly that Ashton ran off without a gun, a knife, or even a pair of shoes on his feet. Yet the resilient young castaway — who has been called America’s real-life Robinson Crusoe — was able to find food, build a crude shelter, and even survive a debilitating fever brought on by the cool winter rains before he was rescued by a band of men sailing near the island. Based on Ashton’s own first-hand account, as well trial records, logbooks, and a wealth of other archival evidence, At the Point of a Cutlass pieces together the unforgettable story of a man thrust into the violent world of a pirate ship and his daring survival and escape.

June 17: David Diamond lecture: “Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Haunted Mind”

  • Wednesday, June 17, 7 pm: David Diamond, “Nathaniel Hawthorne and the Haunted Mind”

In commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, we examine a different part of his writings. Hawthorne’s tales and romances exert intense psychological force. Driven by desire, Hawthorne’s characters face painful conflicts with each other, their community and an inescapable conscience. Their troubled past is always threatening to overtake them.  Anticipating Freud by a half a century, Hawthorne exposes the intricate workings of the haunted mind.

June 24: Jeanne Carley lecture: “Folk Art on Cape Cod”

  • Wednesday, June 24, 7 pm: Jeanne Marie Carley, author of “Folk Art of Cape Cod and the Islands”

Jeanne Carley recounts the histories of the hard working, entrepreneurial people of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket and their role in this nation, as told through the folk art primitives the residents produced from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. The art displayed includes the works of itinerant painters, domestic weavers and quilters, seminary school watercolorists, and carvers in wood, metal, and stone. Among these fascinating items are: paintings including portraits and silhouettes, landscapes and genre paintings; maritime art such as sculpture and scrimshaw; trade figures and signs; carousel art; wood carvings; weathervanes and whirligigs; religious and decorative art; textiles, including quilts and samplers; and gravestones. All of these beautiful and compelling works of art speak eloquently of the human aspirations sparked by the freedom and prosperity offered by the coasts and the bold, clear visual language that ordered these craftsmen’s world.

Thursday, June 25, 7 pm: Jonathan Horn, “The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War”

On the eve of the Civil War, one soldier embodied the legacy of George Washington and the hopes of leaders across a divided land. Both North and South knew Robert E. Lee as the son of Washington’s most famous eulogist and the son-in-law of Washington’s adopted child. Lee was a brilliant soldier bound by marriage to Washington’s family but ultimately turned by war against Washington’s crowning achievement, the Union. Former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn follows Lee through married life, military glory, and misfortune. The story that emerges is more complicated, more tragic, and more illuminating than the familiar tale. More complicated because the unresolved question of slavery—the driver of disunion—was among the personal legacies that Lee inherited from Washington. More tragic because the Civil War destroyed the people and places connecting Lee to Washington in agonizing and astonishing ways. More illuminating because the battle for Washington’s legacy shaped the nation that America is today. As Washington was the man who would not be king, Lee was the man who would not be Washington.

June 30: Allegra Jordan Lecture: “The End of Innocence”

  • Tuesday, June 30, 7 pm: Allegra Jordan, author of “The End of Innocence”

Based on the true story behind a mysterious and controversial World War I memorial at this world-famous university, The End of Innocence sweeps readers from the elaborate elegance of Boston’s high society to Harvard’s hallowed halls to Belgium’s war-ravaged battlefields, offering a powerful and poignant vision of love and hope in the midst of a violent, broken world.