Up to Date
9:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

A Look Into Kansas City's Past

John Simonson is the author of Kansas City 1940: A Watershed Year.

1940 was a pivotal year for Kansas City. Tom Pendergast’s rule through corruption and debauchery had crumbled, leaving the new local government to reform a city hungry for jazz and liquor.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we examine how Kansas City was different in the World War II era. On the way, we take a look at how the “Paris of the Plains” changed from a den of iniquity to the city we know today.


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Up to Date
11:12 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Examining 100 Years Of The Panama Canal

It's been 100 years since the Panama Canal was completed.
Credit Lyn Gateley / Flickr-CC

You’ve heard of the man, his plan and that canal: Panama. Well, it’s been 100 years since its construction, and the waterway is getting a facelift.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about a new local exhibit that explores that century of innovation.


  • Alberto Aleman Zubieta, former CEO of the Panama Canal Authority
  • Lisa Browar, president of the Linda Hall Library
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Up to Date
10:27 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Tracing The Atomic Age

The Atomic Age prompted many themed products-- some more dangerous than others.
Credit GetHiroshima / Flickr-CC

If you want drama, the story of how we developed atomic energy has it. From the novelty of X-rays to the destructive power unleashed in Hiroshima, to a major energy source — all the up and downs are there. 

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with an author who has traced the details of these events and many in-between to construct a history of the atomic age. We look at how scientists managed to get from Marie Curie’s discovery to the Manhattan Project and beyond. 


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Up to Date
10:02 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Looking Back At The U-2 Spy Plane Incident

Pilot Francis Gary Powers was shot down by the Soviet Union while flying his U-2 spy plane in 1960.
Credit RIA Novosti archive / Wikimedia Commons

Threats to sovereignty along the Black Sea, lots of discussions about spying … it all brings back memories of the Cold War.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about one of the most notorious incidents of that period. When Russia shot down the U-2 spy plane, pilot Gary Powers became the international face of a mission gone wrong. His son joins us to talk about that event.


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Central Standard
10:55 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

The History Of The Native Peoples Of The Kansas City Region

Camp of Pawnee Indians on the Platte Valley c. 1866
Credit Snapshots of the Past / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Long before the foundation of Oklahoma Joe's was laid or even the first oxen left Kansas City on the Santa Fe Trail, thousands of distinct people called the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers home. In fact, the history of human settlement goes back over 13,000 years to when mastodons roamed where cows now graze. The Kansas City area was home to Clovis peoples and later many more Native Americans, who either called the area home or were pushed here by white colonists.  Their legacy reverberates around the communities of Shawnee, Wyandotte and others.

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Up to Date
10:32 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Saving Art From War: The Monuments Men

Laurence Sickman, Paul Gardner and James Reeds were all Kansas City Monuments Men.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and The James A. Reeds Family

They were a group of soldiers with something in common — a knowledge of art and how to preserve it.

On Monday's Up to Date, we talk about the Monuments Men, a special division from the Allied forces during World War II who braved the battlefields to save priceless art and architecture from the ravages of war.

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Up to Date
9:49 am
Wed January 29, 2014

WWI: Who Lit The Fire?

Sean McMeekin is the author of July 1914: Countdown to War.

When you think of World War I, you may picture soldiers fighting in the trenches, but the whole conflict started with the assassination of an Austrian archduke.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with historian Sean McMeekin, who says it was a group of corrupt statesmen who held the match that lit the European powder keg.


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7:46 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Kansas Agency Encourages A New Black Friday Tradition

A Kansas agency is urging black families talk to sit down and interview their family members on Friday. The Kansas African American Affairs Commission is calling the oral history project called “New Black Friday.”

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Up to Date
11:13 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Warren G. Harding: America's Least Favorite President

Historian Phillip Payne joins Steve Kraske to talk about his biography of Pres. Warren G. Harding

During his presidency, Warren G. Harding was generally well liked among Americans. In contemporary times however, Harding's cronyism and corruption have sent him to the bottom of favorite president lists.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with historian Phillip Payne about Harding's upbringing, his ascendancy to power, and the scandals that still plague his image to this day.

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Up to Date
2:33 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

The Film That Shaped America's JFK Memories

The Zapruder film recorded the moment Kennedy was shot.

The silently haunting images of the Zapruder film captured the moment John F. Kennedy was shot during that famous Dallas parade in 1963. Those images have become part of the mythology that surrounds the event, both for the conspiracy theorists and others. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with historian Max Holland, who has analyzed the effect of the film on how the American people understand the 50-year-old assassination.


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Up to Date
1:44 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Persian Poetry Brings The Past To The Present

Rumi's poetry has been popular for centuries, as seen in this 16th century book.
Credit National Library of France

It's been 800 years, but the words of Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, still seem to entrance people

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske speaks with Rumi scholar Coleman Barks about the poet's legacy and why his verses continue to thrive.


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Up to Date
4:00 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

WWI: Making History Come Alive

Author Robert Massie discusses World War I with Steve Kraske.

Making history come alive is tricky, but some historians manage to paint people like the czars of Russia or Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany not just as dusty textbook figures.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with historian Robert Massie about his vivid descriptions of the powerful people pulling the strings behind World War I.


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Up to Date
12:00 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

1913: Before The Great War

Charles Emmerson joins Steve Kraske to discuss the state of the world in 1913, just before World War I started.

By 1919, much of continental Europe lay in ruins in the aftermath of World War I. Prior to that conflict, with three European empires ruled by the “Kingly cousins,” most people thought a war was nearly impossible.

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Up to Date
4:00 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Looking Back At The Sunflower Ammunition Plant

The Sunflower Ammunition Plant is the focus of a new exhibit at the Johnson County Museum.
Credit Thomas Long/Flickr-CC

The Midwest is generally a calm place, but a new museum exhibit in Johnson County is recalling a place that was potentially explosive.

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk about the history and development of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. A former plant manager and the top government official both join us today to give an inside look at what it was like to work there.


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KC Currents
4:42 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

New Book Explores Stories Of 'Extraordinary Black Missourians'

Written histories of Missouri (and arguably, all states) often overlook the contributions of African Americans, but a new book by St. Louis-based authors John and Sylvia Wright attempts to fill in the gaps.

Extraordinary Black Missourians: Pioneers, Leaders, Performers, Athletes and Other Notables Who’ve Made History  includes stories about well-known Missourians like Tina Turner, Dred Scott, and Langston Hughes, but also includes untold stories of little-known African Americans.

Here are a few stories from the book, as told by the Wrights.

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Up to Date
9:52 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Looking Back At Gettysburg

Allen Guelzo joins Steve Kraske to talk about Gettysburg on Up to Date.

It’s been 150 years since the muskets fired and men in both blue and gray fell to the ground at battleground in Pennsylvania. Gettysburg’s dubious distinction was to have the most casualties of any battle of the Civil War. 

On Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Allen Guelzo, author of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, about the politics and power plays that surrounded the famous battle.

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Up to Date
10:08 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Real Pirates Commandeer Kansas City's Union Station

Real Pirates will take over Union Station from June 22 to January 4, 2014.
Credit Union Station Kansas City / National Geographic

Blackbeard. Jack Sparrow. Captain Hook. We’ve seen the ships, peg legs, skulls and crossbones. They cross the turbulent high seas on the big screen, in books and in our imaginations. But who were pirates, really?

This Saturday, Union Station opens the doors to its “Real Pirates” exhibit. Local actors and actresses bring to life more than 200 artifacts unearthed from the Whydah , a slave ship hijacked by pirates that sunk during a violent storm in 1717. It’s the first real pirate ship to be found off the coast of the U.S.

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Up to Date
12:00 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

WWII: The Last Year Of Europe's Battles

Rick Atkinson
Credit rainydaybooks.com

Omaha, Juno, Utah, Gold and Sword. The names of the Normandy beaches echo in the annals of World War II history, but the iconic invasion wasn’t the last step of the European campaign.

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Up to Date
12:00 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

Pulling Up The Roots Of Words

Let's Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition

Ever wonder where the word hornswoggle comes from? How about doubloon?

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Up to Date
9:55 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Tracing The Economy's Roots

Founding Finance

The financial crisis may have started in this century, but the economic system that built up to it has been part of this country since its founding.

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Up to Date
9:54 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Past Meets Present In The Adams Family

Abigail Adams

It's easy to forget that the big names of history still have living relatives today.

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Up to Date
6:00 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Looking Back At The Anti-Slavery Movement

American Antislavery Writings: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation

Ask a school kid, and he or she will tell you that slavery in America ended in the mid-1860s. But when did the movement against slavery start?

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Up to Date
10:06 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Two Women, One World & 80 Days

Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman
Jessica Hills

In 1889, it wasn't a woman's world, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of reporters Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland when they embarked on a journey to beat Phileas Fogg's fictional travels.

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Up to Date
7:20 am
Fri February 15, 2013

How Music Affected World War I

Sheet music for "When the War Is Over"

All wasn't quiet on the homefront during World War I.

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Up to Date
10:34 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Film Traces Career Of KC Musician

Virgil Thomson

He tickled the ivories from Kansas City to Paris in the 1920s. Now, a new documentary is chronicling organist Virgil Thomson’s journey from movie theater musician to trailblazer of the American style of music composition.

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Up to Date
10:50 am
Tue February 5, 2013

A Rival Who Became 'Indispensable'

Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man

William Seward may be famous for his "folly" of purchasing Alaska for the United States, but he also led the team of rivals Pres. Abraham Lincoln assembled to guide him in his administration.

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Up to Date
10:18 am
Fri January 25, 2013

From Poetry To History

Needle in the Bone by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

It's not often a state poet laureate turns her pen to write a non-fiction tale, but Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg has done just that.

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KC Currents
6:53 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Local Artifacts From The Atomic Era

A photograph from the exhibit 'Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow' at the Kansas City Public Library Central Branch.
Susan B. Wilson KCUR

Once upon a time, youth in the '50s and '60s lived in fear. They practiced going to “fallout” shelters to escape the atomic bomb.

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Up to Date
10:24 am
Sun November 11, 2012

Truman Capote's Take On True Crime

In Cold Blood.

Truman Capote's book, "In Cold Blood" showcased a quadruple murder case in southwestern Kansas, becoming one of the most famous true crime books ever.

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Central Standard Friday
9:30 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Highlight Reel

flickr / Ronan_C

We've got a rare treat for you.

Tune in this week when Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, of The Pitch and Fat City Blog, and Emily Farris, of Feed Me KC, join forces with history host Monroe Dodd to bring you a very special edition of Central Standard Friday.