October 5, 7 pm: William J. Mann, “The War of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of America’s Greatest Political Family”

war-of-the-rooseveltsThe award-winning author presents a provocative, thoroughly modern revisionist biographical history of one of America’s greatest and most influential families—the Roosevelts—exposing heretofore unknown family secrets and detailing complex family rivalries with his signature cinematic flair.

Drawing on previously hidden historical documents and interviews with the long-silent “illegitimate” branch of the family, William J. Mann paints an elegant, meticulously researched, and groundbreaking group portrait of this legendary family. Mann argues that the Roosevelts’ rise to power and prestige was actually driven by a series of intense personal contest that at times devolved into blood sport. His compelling and eye-opening masterwork is the story of a family at war with itself, of social Darwinism at its most ruthless—in which the strong devoured the weak and repudiated the inconvenient.

Mann focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt, who, he argues, experienced this brutality firsthand, witnessing her Uncle Theodore cruelly destroy her father, Elliott—his brother and bitter rival—for political expediency. Mann presents a fascinating alternate picture of Eleanor, contending that this “worshipful niece” in fact bore a grudge against TR for the rest of her life, and dares to tell the truth about her intimate relationships without obfuscations, explanations, or labels.

Mann also brings into focus Eleanor’s cousins, TR’s children, whose stories propelled the family rivalry but have never before been fully chronicled, as well as her illegitimate half-brother, Elliott Roosevelt Mann, who inherited his family’s ambition and skill without their name and privilege. Growing up in poverty just miles from his wealthy relatives, Elliott Mann embodied the American Dream, rising to middle-class prosperity and enjoying one of the very few happy, long-term marriages in the Roosevelt saga. For the first time, The Wars of the Roosevelts also includes the stories of Elliott’s daughter and grandchildren, and never-before-seen photographs from their archives.

October 7, 2 pm: Noah Isenberg, “We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend and Afterlife of America’s Most Beloved Movie”

CasablancaCasablanca was first released in 1942, just two weeks after the city of Casablanca itself surrendered to American troops led by General Patton. Featuring a pitch-perfect screenplay, a classic soundtrack, and unforgettable performances by Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and a deep supporting cast, Casablanca was hailed in the New York Times as “a picture that makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap.” The film won Oscars for best picture, best director, and best screenplay, and would go on to enjoy more revival screenings than any other movie in history. It became so firmly ensconced in the cultural imagination that, as Umberto Eco once said, Casablanca is “not one movie; it is ‘movies.’ ”

We’ll Always Have Casablanca is celebrated film historian Noah Isenberg’s rich account of this most beloved movie’s origins. Through extensive research and interviews with filmmakers, film critics, family members of the cast and crew, and diehard fans, Isenberg reveals the myths and realities behind Casablanca’s production, exploring the transformation of the unproduced stage play into the classic screenplay, the controversial casting decisions, the battles with Production Code censors, and the effect of the war’s progress on the movie’s reception. Isenberg particularly focuses on the central role refugees from Hitler’s Europe played in the production (nearly all of the actors and actresses cast in Casablanca were immigrants).

Finally, Isenberg turns to Casablanca’s long afterlife and the reasons it remains so revered. From the Marx Brothers’ 1946 spoof hit, A Night in Casablanca, to loving parodies in New Yorker cartoons, Saturday Night Live skits, and Simpsons episodes, Isenberg delves into the ways the movie has lodged itself in the American psyche.

Filled with fresh insights into Casablanca’s creation, production, and legacy, We’ll Always Have Casablanca is a magnificent account of what made the movie so popular and why it continues to dazzle audiences seventy-five years after its release.

October 11, 7 pm: Tom Schachtman, “How the French Saved America”

Americans today have a love/hate relationship with France, but author Tom Shachtman shows that without France’s aid during the American Revolution, there might not be a United States of America today. To the rebelling colonies, French assistance made the difference between looming defeat and eventual triumph.

This aid, however, is often downplayed in history’s retelling of the event as we often like to think of our forefathers as achieving independence by themselves. Even before the Declaration of Independence was issued, King Louis XVI and French foreign minister Vergennes were aiding the rebels. After the Declaration, that assistance broadened to include:

 Wages for our troops

 Guns, cannon, and ammunition

 Engineering expertise that enabled victories and prevented defeats

 Diplomatic recognition

 Safe havens for privateers

 Battlefield leadership by veteran officers

 The army and fleet that made possible the Franco-American victory at Yorktown.

Nearly ten percent of those who fought and died for the American cause were French. Those who fought and survived, in addition to the well-known Lafayette and Rochambeau, include François de Fleury, who won a Congressional Medal for valor, Louis Duportail, who founded the Army Corps of Engineers, and Admiral de Grasse, whose sea victory sealed the fate of Yorktown. HOW THE FRENCH SAVED AMERICA captures the outsize characters of our European brothers, their battlefield and diplomatic bonds and clashes with Americans, and the monumental role they played in America’s fight for independence and democracy.

Saturday, October 28 : A Visit from the Night Watchman

NightWatch10Friday, October 30, 2015 6:00‐9:00 pm

Strange spirits haunt the town of Falmouth, and those that visit will be treated to interactions all throughout the 1790 Dr. Francis Wicks House as this mildly scary haunted experience comes to life.

Recommended for families with children age 6 and higher.

Admission Prices: Adults, $ 10, Children (12 and younger), $ 7, Families of 4: $ 25

Reservations NOT required but visitors should expect a short wait before touring.