UT Professor to Lead Churchill Book Talks at Library

KNOXVILLE — Due to enthusiastic public interest in the honors seminar he’s teaching at the University of Tennessee, Professor Mike Fitzgerald is taking his course on Winston Churchill on the road.

Fitzgerald will lead public discussions on Churchill-related books from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 13 and March 15 at the Knox County Public Library, 500 W. Church Ave.

The public roundtables lead up to a conference on U.S.-British relations March 29-30 at the Carolyn P. Brown University Center. Lectures and panel discussions, which are free and open to the public, will feature a lengthy list of notable British and American speakers, including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham and Winston S. Churchill, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill.

Fitzgerald, an American studies professor, said he’s received numerous e-mails and phone calls about the companion course and associated readings since the conference was announced about a month ago.

The Baker Center is collaborating with the Churchill Archives Centre at Cambridge University in England to produce the conference.

“So, when staff at the Baker Center suggested a community session at the Knox Public Library, I seized the opportunity to bring a part of the UT class to the community at large,” Fitzgerald said.

The March 13 discussion will focus on Meacham’s “Franklin & Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship” and “My Early Life, 1894-1904” by Winston L.S. Churchill. The March 15 public library book discussion will focus on “The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the 21st Century” by Thomas Barnett, and “Allies: The U.S., Britain and Europe and the War in Iraq” by William Shawcross.

Fitzgerald explained why he chose these books:

– “‘My Early Life’ is Winston Churchill’s autobiography, written when he was in his mid-50s and during one of the low points in his political career. It captures the wit and brilliance of Churchill as a writer,” he said.
– “‘Franklin and Winston’ is a well-written account of a friendship that shaped the world in which we live. Churchill and Roosevelt really come alive in its pages,” Fitzgerald said. “Further, Meacham was born in Chattanooga and graduated from Sewanee. He’s coming home for the March 29-30 conference, and my students are eager to meet him.”
– “‘The Pentagon’s New Map,’ offers a vision of how the world works that is the focal point for debates among policy makers and serious students of public affairs throughout the United States,” he said. “Barnett is one of the most influential strategic thinkers about globalization and international security.” Barnett, who will speak at the March 29-30 conference, is a former senior strategic researcher at the U.S. Naval War College, a contributing editor to Esquire and senior managing director of Enterra Solutions LLC.
– “‘Allies,’ examines the relationship among the United States, Britain, Europe and the war in Iraq,” Fitzgerald said. “Shawcross is a British journalist and intellectual who has written widely about international conflict,” Fitzgerald said.

All of the books are available at the UT bookstore, at the Knox County Public Library, area bookstores and through online distributors.

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Contacts:

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu