Icons of American History Reconsidered: From the Pony Express to Milton Friedman

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Join us for a stimulating conversation about history, myth, and the American ideal.  Biographer Jennifer Burns and journalist Will Grant will talk about their latest books, Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative and The Last Ride of the Pony Express: My 2,000-Mile Horseback Journey into the Old West, respectively, and how their books illuminate American cultural ideals of rugged individualism and free market capitalism.

Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative brings to life one of the twentieth century’s most influential economists.  More than an economist, Friedman was an innovative policy thinker and a major ideological figurehead whose vision—for reduced government, expanded markets, and the twinned forces of capitalism and freedom—circled the globe and reshaped American politics. 

The Last Ride of the Pony Express: My 2,000-Mile Horseback Journey into the Old West recounts Will Grant’s 142-day ride from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, following the trail of the famed nineteenth-century mail service, the Pony Express.  Along with rich encounters with farmers, ranchers, and families who populate the trail, his exploits on horseback offer an intimate portrait of how the West has evolved and sheds new light on the American West and the process of nation building.  

Jennifer Burns, a New Canaan native and graduate of New Canaan Country School, is Associate Professor of History at Stanford University, where she teaches courses on American history.  She is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (Oxford, 2009).  Jennifer is delighted to return to the New Canaan library, where she spent many hours as a child, and to partner with Elm Street Books, which her parents John and Barbara Burns helped start. 

Will Grant is a writer, journalist, cowboy and adventurer, who has written for Outside magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many other publications.  Will came to know New Canaan when he joined the Antoszewski family, and is thrilled to nourish the literary culture in his adopted hometown.