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New People's U Series — The Cold War — Starts in Four Weeks

Posted 11/04/21

Calendar Event Photo

The thirty-third series in our People's University program,  "The Cold War,"  starts Thursday, December 2, 2021.  The "Cold War" was the crucible by which the United States was transformed into a global superpower and laid the basis for the national security state. The ideological and geopolitical competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union shaped the global and regional makeup of the modern world. A driver for the development of both conventional and nuclear forces, the Cold War played out not just between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R, but also in Europe, East Asia, the Middle East, indeed, the entire world, leaving legacies that continue to influence global politics in the twenty-first century.

In this series of eight classes, we'll look at the origins and developments of the conflict, from containment, the red scare, the space race, the building and tearing down of the Berlin Wall, to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will also explore memories and events of Wheeling and the state of West Virginia during the period and end by examining how the Cold War is still impacting the world today. 

Class 1: Dec. 2 — Introduction: Iron Curtain Rising. What was the Cold War? — Instructor Dr. Gary Kappel
Class 2: Dec. 9 — Wars of Containment — Instructor Dr. Gary Kappel
Class 3: Dec. 16 — Fall of Empires — Instructor Dr. Joe Laker
Class 4: Dec. 21 (Tuesday) — The Second Red Scare — Instructor Dr. Hal Gorby
Class 5: Dec. 30 — Rivalries, Propaganda, and Cultures — Instructor Dr. Gary Kappel
Class 6: Jan. 6 — A Global War — Instructor Dr. Joe Laker
Class 7: Jan. 13 — Reagan and Gorbachev — Instructor TBA
Class 8: Jan. 20 — Epilogue, Duck and Cover: Is the Cold War Over? — Instructor TBA

Dr. Gary Kappel, Emeritus Professor of History and Political Science, spent his entire professional career serving the students and his colleagues at his alma mater, Bethany College. In addition to teaching courses in World History, European History, Military History, and the history of ideas, for many years he taught First Year seminars in the Cold War and the history of Bethany College. He earned his B.A. at Bethany College, and his M.A. & Ph.D. at West Virginia University.

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Joe Laker is Emeritus Professor of History at Wheeling Jesuit University and a Board Member of the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation. Following his graduation from Marian College with a degree in history, he spent two years teaching English conversation in Kyoto, Japan. He returned home to seek advanced degrees at Indiana University and received his Ph. D. in history in 1975. He spent the next 33 years at Wheeling Jesuit University. He has written a number of articles on various aspects of Japanese and world history. Since retiring in 2008, he has written a history on Wheeling Jesuit and a variety of articles on West Virginia history.

Dr. William Hal Gorby is a teaching assistant professor of history and director of undergraduate advising at West Virginia University. He teaches courses on West Virginian, Appalachian, and American immigration history. He consulted on the research and script editing for the Emmy-nominated PBS American Experience documentary The Mine Wars and hosted and researched the podcast "Henry: The Life and Times of Wheeling's Most Notorious Brewer," produced by Wheeling Heritage Media. His book, Wheeling's Polonia: Reconstructing Polish Community in a West Virginia Steel Town was published by WVU Press in 2020.

Dr. Korcaighe Hale is Associate Professor of History at the Zanesville campus and began her career examining the nature of Irish neutrality policy during World War II and after, as well as European diplomacy in the immediate post-World War II era. More recently, her research has expanded to include modern popular culture studies, and she is currently working on a monograph examining the use of historical methods in science fiction. Dr. Hale earned a B.A., Journalism and History, from the University of Montana, an M.Sc., International History, from the London School of Economics, and her Ph.D. in History from Ohio University.

Classes starts at 7:00 pm in the Library Auditorium. These programs will be available to watch live online though Facebook Live, on YouTube, and on the OCPL website's People's University "Cold War" Livestream page Online viewers can leave questions for our presenters by logging into their Facebook or YouTube account during the program to leave using the comments box. The questions will be answered during the live broadcast. 

People's University: The Cold War Preview

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The Cold War: A New History,  by John Lewis Gaddis. (Penguin Press, 2005)
[Reserve a copy from the Library  |  Stream the audiobook with your OCPL library card through WVDeli or HooplaDigital ]

book coverThe "dean of Cold War historians" (New York Times) now presents the definitive account of the global confrontation that dominated the last half of the twentieth century. It began during the Second World War, when American and Soviet troops converged from east and west. Their meeting point-a small German city-became part of a front line that solidified shortly thereafter into an Iron Curtain. It ended in a climactic square-off between Ronald Reagan's America and Gorbachev's Soviet Union. In between were decades of global confrontation, uncertainty, and fear. Drawing on new and often startling information from newly opened Soviet, Eastern European, and Chinese archives, this thrilling account explores the strategic dynamics that drove the Cold War, provides illuminating portraits of its major personalities, and offers much fresh insight into its most crucial events. Riveting, revelatory, and wise, it tells a story whose lessons it is vitally necessary to understand as America once more faces an implacable ideological enemy.

➤ View all books about the Cold War available at the Library
➤ View all books about the Cold War available through WVDeli
➤ View all books about the Cold War available through Hoopla

- People's University Online-
Thursdays from 6:30 pm to 8 pm on YouTube Live and Facebook Live
Note: Class 4 with Dr. Gorby is TUESDAY, Dec. 21

Subscribe to the People's University Youtube channel or like us on the People's University Facebook page or to receive notifications of our upcoming People's U broadcasts. To receive emails about our upcoming programs, visit our News page, click the "Subscribe" button to sign-up for our news blasts or download our free OCPL Connect app from your smartphone's app store. 

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In 1951, the Ohio County Public Library's librarian, Virginia Ebeling, referenced British historian Thomas Carlyle, who said, “the public library is a People’s University,” when she initiated a new adult education program with that name. Miss Ebeling charged the library with the responsibility of reaching “as many people in the community as possible.” In keeping with that tradition of public libraries as sanctuaries of free learning for all people, the Ohio County Public Library revived the series in 2010.

The People’s University features courses (taught by experts in each subject) that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, music appreciation, philosophy, and literature. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements and all programs are free and open to the public. For more information about PU: The Cold War, EMAIL US,  visit or call the library at 304-232-0244.

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