Bob Batchelor is a critically-acclaimed cultural historian and biographer. He has published books on Stan Lee, Bob Dylan, The Great Gatsby, Mad Men, and John Updike. Bob’s new book Rookwood: The Rediscovery and Revival of an American Icon, An Illustrated History explores the company’s rich history from its 1880 founding to the current day, mixing 300 images with a vibrant narrative. The book provides a perceptive examination of Rookwood’s 140-year legacy as an American icon.
The Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition’s Evil Genius won the 2020 Independent Book Award for Historical Biography. Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel was a finalist for the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction.
Bob’s books have been translated into a dozen languages and his work has appeared in the Time magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times. He has appeared as an on-air commentator for The National Geographic Channel, PBS NewsHour, and NPR.
Bob earned his doctorate in English Literature from the University of South Florida. He has taught at universities in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as well as Vienna, Austria. Bob lives in Cincinnati with his wife Suzette and their teenage daughters.
The Bourbon King: The Epic Rise and Fall of George Remus, America’s Bootleg Baron, and the Roaring Days of the Jazz Age
Considered the J.D. Rockefeller of bourbon, George Remus created a national bootlegging network from his Cincinnati headquarters, raking in some $200 million dollars (about $2 to $5 billion today). Later, Remus stood at the center of the Jazz Age’s “trial of the century” after he murdered his wife Imogene in cold-blood after a car chase that ended at Cincinnati’s Eden Park. This is a spectacular story of bourbon, betrayal, murder, and the 13-year folly of Prohibition in America!
Maria Longworth Storer: The First Woman to Found a Manufacturing Company in America
In the face of criticism from male business leaders in Cincinnati, Maria Longworth Nichols Storer founded Rookwood Pottery in 1880, becoming the first woman in American history to found and manage a large manufacturing company. Rookwood launched art pottery in the US and within nine years, won a gold medal at the Paris World’s Fair, establishing it as one of the finest potteries in the world. Rookwood would go on to greater heights, filling museums globally and moving into architectural tile, used in skyscrapers and public spaces across the nation, from Grand Central Station to Louisville’s luxurious Seelbach Hotel. The great success all began with Maria’s grit and dream for female empowerment…some 40 years before women gained the right to vote.
Heroes and Villains: The Marvel Century
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and a team of hungry artists and writers reimagined comic book superheroes in the early 1960s. They created heroes like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books. Marvel’s heroes and villains won the hearts of readers because they had everyday problems and lives that seem connected to their readers, like Spider-Man’s teen angst or the Hulk’s anger issues. Popular culture would never be the same! This engaging talk examines the rise and enduring influence of Marvel on modern America, from the humble comic book beginnings to the current movie franchise that has generated billions of dollars and delighted countless fans around the world.
The Decade that Roared: The Jazz Age in America and Why It Matters
Always provocative and interesting, the Jazz Age continues to delight history buffs and audiences who have fallen in love with the glitz, glamour, and intrigue of America’s most glittering era. Offering deep insight into the colorful characters, films, literature, and newspaper headlines of the day, this talk reveals the hidden history of the decade that roared and why it still matters today.
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