Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prof. Hedtke to Speak on March 17

The next meeting of the World War II Book Club will be on Tuesday March 17, 2015, as usual at the Millburn Library commencing at 7 p.m.

Our speaker will be Professor James R. Hedtke, a professor of history and political science at Cabrini College located in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Professor Hedtke will talk about his recently published book The Freckleton, England, Air Disaster, the B-24 crash that killed 38 preschoolers and 23 adults, August 23, 1944.

On that date an American B-24 Liberator crashed into the small village of Freckleton in northwest England, located approximately 50 miles north of Liverpool. The plane was on a test flight when it encountered a rare and severe thunderstorm. Air traffic control at the American air base Warton recalled the bomber back to the base. When the pilot attempted to abort the landing because of poor visibility and high winds, a downdraft caught the plane and it crashed into the adjacent village of Freckleton. The huge ball of fire that erupted, engulfed a local school, and destroyed close to an entire generation of children in the village of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants as well as 23 adults. The village would never be the same.

Tragedies like this are not uncommon in war and most of them are very much overshadowed, receiving but brief press accounts and quickly overtaken by accounts of events deemed more newsworthy. Professor Hedtke has made several trips to Freckleton, met and interviewed many of the survivors, and done extensive research in preparing and writing his compelling story of this tragedy. His account brings to life the events that caused such havoc and heartache to this tiny English village.

We look forward to a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tonight's Lecture Cancelled

Unfortunately, the weather has prevented our speaker, Paul Zigo from speaking at our lecture tonight.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

McMillan Lecture Video Available

The video of Dan McMillan's January 20 lecture on his book How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust is now available on Youtube.  Thanks go to Richard Schonberg who taped and edited the lecture and Millburn Camera for the use of its equipment.

View the video »

MIllburn Camera Business Card

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Paul Zigo to Speak at Next Meeting

Paul E. Zigo
The next meeting of the World War II Book Club will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 17, at the Millburn Library.

Our speaker will be Paul E. Zigo who will present a lecture on his recently published book, The Longest Walk, the story of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division.

The 116th Infantry Regiment landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944 and were featured in the riveting opening scene of the movie "Saving Private Ryan." This regiment lost one third of the 3,200 men who made the landing that day. Paul has visited the site of the landing at least five times during the preparation of this book.

Prof. Zigo is an Assistant Professor of History at Brookdale Community College and teaches American History, the History of World War II, Recent American History as well as Human Geography.  He earned a baccalaureate degree in history from Rutgers University in 1964, a master’s degree from Rider University in personnel and guidance in 1973 and a master’s degree from Temple University in recent American diplomatic and military history in August 2000.

In addition, Prof. Zigo is the Founder and Director of the Center for World War II Studies and Conflict Resolution at Brookdale. The Center for World War II Studies and Conflict Resolution is an educational resource center open to all interested in studying the historical impact and significance of the Second World War.

Mr. Zigo is a 30-year veteran of the United States Army Reserve, retiring as a Colonel in 1994. He is a 1989 graduate of the U.S Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA. We look forward to a wonderful evening. Please mark the date.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Richard G. Osborne Lecture on YouTube

Richard Osborne
The video recording of Richard Osborne's November lecture is now available on Youtube, thanks to Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, Sophomores at Millburn High School, who filmed and edited the lecture. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Historian Dan McMillan To Speak at January Meeting

Dan McMillan, Ph.D.
The New Jersey World War II Book Club, a Not for Profit New Jersey Corporation, is pleased to announce a lecture by historian, Dan McMillan, author of the acclaimed How Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust (Basic Books, 2014). McMillan will speak on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 7 p.m., at the Millburn Library, 200 Glen Avenue, next to the Millburn train station. Dr. McMillan's talk is titled: "The Holocaust and Humanity's Moral Progress: An Argument against Pessimism." The lecture is free and open to the public.

What does the Holocaust say about humankind's capacity for moral progress? What does it say about our nature? The Holocaust has inspired considerable pessimism. If the most advanced human society could perpetrate history's most monstrous crime, is our civilization morally bankrupt?

Dr. McMillan will approach these vital questions from three perspectives:  first, Dr. McMillan will analyze the many cases of the Holocaust and the complex ways that they came together to produce this catastrophe. Then he will ask: could this happen again? That is, could one of the world's established democracies, such as Germany or the United States, perpetrate another genocide? Finally, Dr. McMillan will ask why the Holocaust frightens us like no other historical event. He contends thal the Holocaust was unique among historical occurrences in the way that it onfronts us with existential questions, inspiring fear that clouds our judgment about what this tragedy tells us — and does not tell us about human nature.

Dan McMillan holds a Ph.D. in German history from Columbia University and a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and has worked as a prosecuting attorney and as a history professor. Dr. McMillan began his lifelong engagement with the Holocaust as a teenager growing up in Millburn. After reading Simon Wiesenthal's The Murderers Among Us, Dan needed to understand how such a catastrophe could have been possible, and this need shaped much of the course of his life: he learned German from Frau Spier at Millburn High School, studied German and History at Stanford University and at the Freie Universit├Ąt in Berlin, earned a Ph.D. in German history at Columbia, and worked constantly to understand the many causes of the Holocaust.

An acclaimed public speaker, Dr. McMillan has spoken at, among other venues, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library, the University of Chicago. and the National Archives in Washington.

For more information, contact Dr. John J. McLaughlin, Director and Moderator of the Book Club. Dr. McLaughlin can be reach d at (973) 467-3313 or at NJ

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Harvey Kaye Lecture Video Available

Harvey Kaye's October lecture, The Fight for the Four Freedoms, is now available for those who missed the presentation.  Thanks, as always, to our two videographers, Jasen Aziz and Ryan Sullivan, students at Millburn High School, for filming and editing the lecture.  View the video »