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How A Thousand Points Of Light Lit The National Tree

Billions of brilliant lights sparkle on houses and trees around the nation as people celebrate the Christmas season. Those lights have also given American presidents reason to joyfully flip the switch on the national tree for nearly 90 years.
NPR

A Passion For The Past: 2011's Best Historical Fiction

These five outstanding novels take us to unfamiliar eras and exotic locales — ancient Israel, Elizabethan England, 1920s Paris — while confirming our common humanity.
NPR

A 'Happy Burden': Reflections On The Medal Of Honor

On the 150th anniversary of the nation's highest military honor, two recipients share their stories. While badly wounded and under heavy fire, recalls one Vietnam War veteran, "what goes through your mind is the understanding that if you don't do something ... then everything is lost."
NPR

The Story Of The Chitlin' Circuit's Great Performers

Before the Civil Rights movement, segregated American cities helped give birth to the Chitlin' Circuit, a touring revue that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians. Rock historian Ed Ward profiles two recent books which illuminate the conditions these musicians endured.
WAMU 88.5

Hearing 130-Year-Old Recordings For The First Time

Shakespeare's timeless Hamlet soliloquy is among the more than century-old recordings that researchers from the Library of Congress have  unveiled recently.

NPR

Powerful Portraits Capture China's Empress Dowager

A new exhibit at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., features photos of Cixi, a teenage concubine turned empress who ruled China for 43 years. The portraits were taken as a diplomatic effort — an attempt to revive the reputation of a dying dynasty.

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