In this episode, Joe interviews Romulus Hillsborough about his recent book, Samurai Revolution: The Dawn of Modern Japan Seen Through the Eyes of the Shogun’s Last Samurai (Tuttle Publishing, ISBN 978-4805312353). Hillsborough writes a lively account of the painful transformation of Japan during the Meiji Restoration of the 19th century. Well-documented, Hillsborough had done extensive research in Japan, translating his own sources which had never been published in English. The “Last Samurai” as seen in the subtitle refers to Katsu Kaishu whose accounts form a critical part of the research. The work is divided into two books, the first covers the fall of the Shogunate. The second book covers the rise of Imperial Japan up to the famous Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, a revolt of disgruntled samurai against the new order.
In this episode, Joe interviews New York Times bestselling author, Stacy Perman about her latest book, A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch (Atria Books). She discusses the rivalry between gilded age tycoons, Henry Graves, Jr. and James Ward Packard, who commissioned some of the world’s most complicated watches. The informal but intense rivalry between these two collectors resulted in the manufacture by Patek Philippe of the “Supercomplication.” Delivered to Graves in 1933, it sealed his victory. The “Supercomplication” itself was sold for auction at Sotheby’s for $11 million!
An interview with Matthew Algeo, author of Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport (Chicago Review Press). In this interview, Mr. Algeo recounts the origins of epic multi-day, nonstop footraces that captured the public imagination in 19th century Great Britain and the United States.
An interview with Terry Golway, author of Machine Made: Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics. Golway’s book is a new revisionist history of New York City’s political machine, Tammany Hall, which seeks to look at other aspects of the organization aside from corruption.
An interview with Steven Ujifusa, author of A Man and His Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the S.S. United States.