Interviews with History

Through the centuries, the destiny of nations and of millions of human beings has been in the hands of men and women with ambition, determination and power. In the past it was up to historians, through arduous research, to discover the personalities of these individuals and to understand what influenced them, how they thought, and what motivated them to act as they did. It is only after the end of World War II that interviews have made world leaders more accessible to us in our own time. Oriana Fallaci, an Italian journalist and author, was one of the most recognized professionals in this field in the mid-20th century. Unabashed, daring and well informed, she traveled around the world meeting the most powerful and influential political actors of the times. Her name was well known, and many of the people she interviewed felt an obligation to grant her some time due to her popularity. They feared her pen, however, because she did not hesitate to ask deeply revealing questions about their personalities, politics and actions. During this six-week course, we will read and discuss 14 of her fearless interviews from the dozens she wrote. The names Kissinger, Robert Kennedy, Golda Meier, Indira Gandhi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Reza Pahlavi (Shah of Iran), Ariel Aaron, Lech Walesa, and Deng Xiaoping are among those you will find in her book, Interview with History, published by Rissoli in 2016. Be prepared to dedicate two or three hours a week to reading the assigned material before coming to class. We hope that the readings will elicit interesting discussions.

Group Leader: Francesca Piana
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Meets on: Wednesday 1 to 3 PM
Starting: 10/9/2024
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 25
Teaching Style: Lecture with questions
Weekly Preparation: 2 - 3 hours
Group Leader Biography:

Francesca Piana received both B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of San Francisco. She also received an M.A. in Spanish literature at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain. She taught history, international relations, and Spanish literature at the University of San Francisco, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Phillips Academy in Andover before retiring. She was also the director of summer programs for Phillips Exeter and Phillips Academy in Salamanca, Spain and director of the School Year Abroad in Barcelona, Spain.