Skip to main content
Support
Event

Last Call At the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took on a World at War

At the heart of Deborah Cohen’s new book, Last Call at the Hotel Imperial, is a group of American reporters – John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean and Dorothy Thompson -- who in the 1920s and 1930s achieved world-wide renown.  They warned about the rise of fascism and championed anti-colonial leaders.  Diagnosing a drastic transformation of personal life, they chronicled first privately and then more openly, the slippage between their own relationships and world affairs.  They found they could no longer separate themselves from the crises raging around them, and spoke to readers who couldn’t either.  In this session, Cohen will map out the shared terrain between international history and the history of private life, discussing the ways in which a potent combination of Freudianism, fascism, and imperialism made the relationship between the individual and the collective an exigent mid-twentieth-century question.

Date & Time

Monday
Oct. 3, 2022
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

Location

Zoom Webinar

Overview

At the heart of Deborah Cohen’s new book, Last Call at the Hotel Imperial, is a group of American reporters – John Gunther, H.R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean and Dorothy Thompson -- who in the 1920s and 1930s achieved world-wide renown.  They warned about the rise of fascism and championed anti-colonial leaders.  Diagnosing a drastic transformation of personal life, they chronicled first privately and then more openly, the slippage between their own relationships and world affairs.  They found they could no longer separate themselves from the crises raging around them, and spoke to readers who couldn’t either.  In this session, Cohen will map out the shared terrain between international history and the history of private life, discussing the ways in which a potent combination of Freudianism, fascism, and imperialism made the relationship between the individual and the collective an exigent mid-twentieth-century question.

Deborah Cohen is the Richard W. Leopold Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Northwestern.  Her interests run the methodological gamut, from social science-inspired comparative history to biography.  In addition to Last Call at the Hotel Imperial:  The Reporters Who Took on a World at War (Random House, 2022), she's the author of The War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, 1914-1939 (2001), Household Gods:  The British and their Possessions (2006), and Family Secrets:  Shame and Privacy in Modern Britain (2013).  Her books have been awarded the Forkosch, Sharlin and Stansky prizes, and she's held fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, the ACLS, the Botstiber Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Cohen writes regularly for the Atlantic on subjects ranging from war photography to punk rock.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.

Speaker

Deborah Cohen

Deborah Cohen

The Richard W. Leopold Professor of History and Chair of the History Department, Northwestern University

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more