2013 Season


tom reiss Winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

From Pulitzer Prize announcemet: “For a distinguished and appropriately documented biography or autobiography by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Awarded to “The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo,” by Tom Reiss (Crown), a compelling story of a forgotten swashbuckling hero of mixed race whose bold  exploits were captured by his son, Alexander Dumas, in famous 19th century novels.”

Tom Reiss, Bestselling Author and Journalist, joins us on Sunday June 30th to discuss his critically acclaimed biography The Black Count. The Black Count, one of Time Magazines Top 10 Nonfiction books of 2012, is the true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo.  This stunning feat of historical sleuthing brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

Reiss is also known for The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life. His biographical articles have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and New Yorker magazine.

From: www.tomreiss.com


The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar.  His son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used the General’s life to create some of the best loved heroes of literature. Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secretThis hero was the son of a black slave — who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would for decades. Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage then made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

READ AN EXCERPT: http://www.scribd.com/doc/106362134/The-Black-Count-by-Tom-Reiss-Excerpt




Buck Hill Resident John S. Rodgers is an architect with over forty years of design experience. Since 1986 he has devoted his efforts to designing and planning zoos throughout the world. As part of his design research he has traveled extensively in Africa, South America, Central America and the Arctic studying animals in their natural habitat. Until his recent retirement, John was President/CEO of CLRdesign inc. in Philadelphia, and through his firm has worked with over sixty zoological institutions. John received a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Design, North Carolina State University and a Masters of Architecture as well as a Masters of City Planning from the Graduate School of Design, University of Pennsylvania. John was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and has lectured extensively on design and planning issues throughout North America.

John’s numerous projects include master plans for the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, Henry Vilas Zoo, Rogers Williams Park Zoo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Denver Zoological Gardens, and Louisville Zoological Gardens. John Has directed exhibit designs for a wide range of animal exhibits including “The Range of the Jaguar” (Jacksonville); “Predator Ridge” and Entrance (Denver); “Gorilla Forest” (Louisville); “PECO Primate Reserve” (Philadelphia); “Kingdom of the Apes” and “Arctic Encounter” (Toledo); and “African Elephant Crossing” (Cleveland).

John’s presentation topic for the 2013 Foxhowe Series, “Restoring the Ark”, will discuss issues related to the planning and design of the modern zoo as a conservation institution, a center for environmental education, and a recreation/entertainment destination. He will discuss his experiences designing for animals and traveling to their natural habitats.

For more information and illustrations of the work of John’s firm go to




First_Position_2011“A showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, “First Position” paints a thrilling and moving portrait of the most gifted ballet stars of tomorrow.”

‘First Position’, the award winning documentary that follows six young dancers as they prepare to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most difficult and distinguished ballet competitions in the world. Hundreds of dancers compete each year for a handful of contracts and scholarships with elite companies. The young dancers featured were chosen for their talent, determination and moving personal stories.

Joining us after viewing the documentary will be.

Click here to watch trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_cOwCKODgs




Austin Ratner, author of The Jump Artist. Praised by Harper’s Magazine as “a remarkable work…that documents a triumph of human spirit over tremendous adversity.”

The Jump Artist, Ratner’s debut novel, is a fictional biography of the tragic and inspirational life of renowned photographer Phillippe Halsman, best remembered for his series‘Jump‘ in which he persuaded famous people to leap in the air.

thejumpartist_massmarket_covAustria, 1928. A murder trial sends shockwaves across Europe. An unknown man names Phillippe Halsman stands unjustly accused of killing his father.Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Thomas Mann are moved to speak out on his behalf. However,  as he fights to prove his innocence a whole nation turns against him. So begins an extraordinary journey-from courtroom drama and prison cell to bohemian Paris at its height and Europe on the eve of war- and an extraordinary act of reinvention, one that involves Salvador Dali, Marilyn Monroe and many of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. From tragedy and injustice to freedom and, eventually to fame, this is the remarkable story of The Jump Artist.

The Jump Artist, the 2011 winner of the $100,000 Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Ratner’s previous non-fiction work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and his short fiction has been honored with the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize. Ratner before turning his focus to writing,  received his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is co-author of the textbook Concepts in Medical Physiology.

In May, Ratner was profiled in the New York Times for his new novel “In the Land of the Living,”  which was released in March, and being related to  Bruce Ratner, who helped orchestrate building the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn bringing basketball and arts to the area. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/fashion/a-profile-of-austin-ratner-up-close.html

Read Excerpt: http://tinyurl.com/bhljjzu

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