Series Blog

Khrushchev and the Comedy of History

Nikita Khrushchev’s delightfully absurd 1959 trip across America was a hilarious journey that illustrates a truth most historians choose to ignore: History is sometimes comedy.

Historians tend to chronicle the past in two somber moods—the heroic and the tragic. And of course, there’s plenty of heroism in history—and plenty of tragedy. But history is the story of what human beings have done on this planet, and—as every human knows—much of human life is absurd, preposterous, inane, insane and laughable.

Most historians ignore the comic side of history, perhaps because they want to be taken seriously. But I wrote my book on Khrushchev’s trip, K Blows Top, precisely because the event illustrates just how funny the world’s most powerful humans can be, even when they are threatening to unleash nuclear Armageddon. Cold War Roadshow goes one step further by letting us actually watch these powerful people at their most ridiculous.  

"Walt Disney" to Premiere Fall 2015

At the semi-annual Television Critics Association conference today, PBS and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE announced that "Walt Disney,” a new four-hour, two-night film that explores the life and legacy of one of America’s most enduring and influential storytellers, will premiere in fall 2015.

Remembering John Seigenthaler

Remembering John Seigenthaler: At American Experience, we are grateful for Mr. Seigenthaler’s stories, for his time, and for his enduring contribution to this nation. He will be missed.

“O’er The Land of The Free And the Home of the Brave”

Anniversaries can serve as times of reflection. Lately, on the 200th anniversary of the Francis Scott Key’s "The Star Spangled Banner", I’m thinking back on a particular moment the song touched my heart.

Growing up in St. Paul, MN, I attended a small, pre-k through 12th grade school -- Mounds Park Academy (MPA). Throughout my education, students experienced various milestones; we looked forward to those ahead of us, and enjoyed seeing the younger kids grow up to encounter the same educational landmarks. Fifth graders got to perform the Odyssey, seventh graders got to go on a class trip to ...

Test Your Freedom Summer Knowledge

Test your Freedom Summer knowledge with this quiz from PBS Black Culture Connection.