Presented by Maryville University
and Left Bank Books

Maryville Talks Books features lectures by noted authors. Admission is  free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. Seating is open on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Ashlee Brockenbrough; 314.529.9349.


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Fierce Urgency of NowJulian E. Zelizer

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society

Tuesday, Feb. 24
7 p.m.
Maryville University Auditorium
Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing


Between November 1963, when he became president, and November 1966, when his party was routed in the midterm elections, Lyndon Johnson spearheaded the most transformative agenda in American political history since the New Deal, one whose ambition and achievement have had no parallel since. In just three years, Johnson drove the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, the War on Poverty program, Medicare and Medicaid, immigration liberalization, a raft of consumer and environmental protection acts, and major federal invest­ments in public transportation. Collectively, this group of achievements was labeled by Johnson and his team the Great Society. A watershed moment for the country, the Great Society not only transformed the American social landscape; it invented modern American politics.

In The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society, Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, takes the full measure of the entire story in all its epic sweep.

BettyvilleGeorge Hodgman
Bettyville: A Memoir

Thursday, March 19
7 p.m.
St. Louis Public Radio Community Room – UMSL at Grand Center
3651 Olive Street
Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing


When George Hodgman left Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, to care for his aging mother Betty, he expected to be away for only a few weeks. But life conspired to keep him there, armed with not much more than a (mostly) willing heart, a broken past to sort out, and two irascible personalities: his own, and Betty’s. In his hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, BETTYVILLE, Hodgman shares their unforgettable mother-son journey, capturing truths about family, identity and our current American landscape.

Great Leader and the Fighter PilotBlaine Harden
Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom

Tuesday, March 31
7 p.m.
Maryville University Auditorium
Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing


Blaine Harden, the New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Camp 14, returns this spring with Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom.  This important new book explains how North Korea came to be the totalitarian state it is today, told through parallel stories of the rise of Kim Il Sung and the brave North Korean fighter pilot who escaped and delivered the first MiG-15 into American hands.

DeadWaketoChris.inddErik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Thursday, April 9
7 p.m.
Ethical Society of St. Louis
Ticketed event:
Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing


New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson is known for expertly transporting readers to past worlds. With his remarkable new work of nonfiction, Dead Wake (on sale March 10), he ushers us aboard the Lusitania as it begins its tragic and final crossing. It is a timely trip, as 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the disaster.

“I first started reading about the Lusitania on a whim,” Larson writes. “What I learned both charmed and horrified me. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the incident, but quickly realized how wrong I was. Above all, I discovered that buried in the muddled details of the affair—deliberately muddled, in certain aspects—was a very good story.”

Dead Wake switches between hunter and hunted, allowing readers to experience the crossing, and the disaster itself, in real time. Along the way, Larson paints a portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era, and brings to life a rich cast of characters, including President Woodrow Wilson, awash in grief after the loss of his wife, awakening with the blush of new love; famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat, a passenger carrying an irreplaceable literary treasure; Captain William Thomas Turner, who took the safety of his  passengers very seriously, but secretly thought of them as “bloody monkeys;” and Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, whose ultra-secret spy group failed to convey crucial naval intelligence that might have saved the Lusitania and its passengers.

In The Unlikely Event.webJudy Blume
In the Unlikely Event

Friday, June 19
7 p.m.
Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, Chaminade College Preparatory Academy
Ticketed event:
One $31 ticket gets you in the event and a copy of the book. One $36 ticket gets you two tickets to the event, one book and a $5 rebate toward the purchase of a second book.


Lecture, Q&A, and Book Signing

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, within a three-month period in 1951-1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. We see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent’s love, a widower’s hope, and everything in between. In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of readers of all generations.


2013-2014 Author Visits


Andy Cohen 11.25.14
Patricia Cornwell * 11.15.14
Reza Aslan * 9.18.14
Piper Kerman * 9.10.14
Mark Epstein, MD * 8.4.14
Jean Kwok * 6.27.14
Garrison Keillor 6.15.14
Daniel James Brown * 5.28.14
Austin Kleon * 4.24.14
Ishmael Beah 3.6.14
Dave Barry * 3.18.14
Lacks Family (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot) 11.23.13
Ann Patchett 11.14.13
Jared Diamond * 11.12.13
Sue Grafton * 9.18.13

2012-2013 Author Visits

Khaled Hosseini * 5.30.13
Michael Pollan * 5.9.13
Elizabeth Strout * 4.12.13
Daniel H. Pink * 3.6.13
Lisa Gardner * 2.10.13
David Von Drehle * 1.18.13
Jon Meacham * 12.5.12
Mark Bowden * 11.12.12
Chitra Divakaruni * 11.1.12
William H. Chafe 10.17.12
Eric Greitens * 10.16.12
Bill Donius * 9.12.12
Buzz Bissinger * 6.11.12
Douglas Brinkley 6.4.12

2011-2012 Author Visits

Frank Deford * 5.30.12
Senator Bill Bradley * 5.11.12
Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams 5.10.12
Alexander McCall Smith * 4.16.12
Lisa See * 3.12.12
Luis Urrea
* 1.17.12
Howard Markel * 11.18.11
Charlene Bry 10.18.11
Stacy Schiff * 9.16.11
Daniel H. Wilson * 6.13.11

2010-2011 Author Visits

Justin Cronin * 5.31.11
Sister Madonna Buder, ’52 * 5.26.11
Helen Simonson * 4.14.11
Wes Moore * 2.17.11
Michele Norris 11.17.10
Ron Chernow 10.28.10
Steven Johnson 10.15.10
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri 6.14.10

2009-2010 Author Visits

Anna Quindlen 5.6.10
Daniel Pink * 1.21.10
John Grogan 10.22.09
Ken Robinson 1.15.09

* Videos of these authors can be seen in the Emmy-nominated and award-winning HEC-TV series, Maryville Talks Books: One on One.

Maryville Talks Books is also available on iTunes.

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