90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Simon Schama, Niall Ferguson on America
The American Future

The American Future

The British know something about rise and fall. Their Edward Gibbon wrote The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Their own empire came and went.

Now, two big British historians and thinkers who live in the United States are thinking hard about the American future.

Simon Schama says he’s in love with America, and sees the makings of potential renewal emerging right now. Niall Ferguson admires America too, and sees — even so — the makings of disaster around us.

This hour, On Point: Simon Schama and Niall Ferguson, together, on the American future.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Simon Schama, professor of history at Columbia University. He’s an essayist for The New Yorker, and a well-known maker of historical documentaries for the BBC, PBS, and the History Channel. His new book is “The American Future: A History.”

Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard University and a professor at Harvard Business School. He writes for the Financial Times, The New York Times, and Los Angeles Times. His latest book is “The Ascent of Money.”

More links:

Schama has been reflecting recently about America’s uneasy relationship with the banking sector. And Ferguson is weighing in against going too far in re-regulating the financial markets.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment