Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
March 5th, 2013
12:35 PM ET

Actor Matthew Fox goes from 'Lost' to 'Emperor,' explains the appeal of playing a character from history

Matthew Fox is best known for his role as Dr. Jack Shepard on the popular TV show Lost. Now, Fox sits down on "Starting Point" to talk about his role as General Fellers in the new historical drama “Emperor.”

The film takes a look at the time directly following Japan’s surrender that ended World War II, and a 1945 investigation that looked at whether Japan’s Emperor Hirhito should be tried for war crimes, and potentially hanged as a war criminal. General Fellers is MacArthur’s “right hand man, and was with him through a large portion of the South Pacific campaign.”

Fox’s character, “was a Japanese expert, and in our story he had fallen in love with a Japanese woman in 1930, and their love was torn apart by the war breaking out so MacArthur tasks him with the responsibility…of making this determination, and the film focuses on that 1945 investigation.”

While Fellers has no definitive evidence to suggest that the Emperor should not be tried as a war criminal, he still recommends to MaCarthur that the Emperor should not be removed from his position, citing “removing the emperor as the emperor of Japan is going to lead to chaos in Japan.”

Fellers strongly believes that the implications of executing the Japanese Emperor would hinder rebuilding Japan after the war. “He understands more than most Westerners the implications of that, and that the Japanese people look to the Emperor in a way that no Westerner could really understand, and to remove that position would be terrible."

Fox revealed when he took on the role of the general that, “I really knew very little, almost nothing about this moment of our history...and I think that the movie does a great job of reminding us that there are always going to be conflicts, but it’s the way we exit those conflicts that often times determine how we’ll look back at that over history."

Fox says he thought “the US foreign policy decisions made at that time were really a shining moment for US foreign policy, and the recommendations that MacArthur made to Washington after Fellers made recommendations to him, he was looking down the field, looking at the big picture.”

“Emperor” will be released nationwide on Friday, March 8th.

Filed under: A little fun • History • World War II
January 10th, 2013
09:15 AM ET

The world according to Hollywood; Zoraida Sambolin looks at the Oscars' past with awarding history


Hollywood and all its fans wait with bated breath until Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announce this year’s Academy Award nominees this morning. Big contenders include “Lincoln”, “Argo” and “Zero Dark Thirty”, critically acclaimed films with historical or political importance. But these are hardly the only movies in the race that have drawn scenes from the past. Zoraida Sambolin looks at Hollywood’s fascination with history in the Oscars and tells us more.




“Since 1927, nearly half of pictures nominated for the Academy Awards are about something historical,” Sambolin says. “Why does history and politics make for so much of Oscars attention?” She offers some answers.




“Sometimes it’s as simple as good presidents, patriots and politics,” she says. “And at a time when the economy is roughed and two wars are winding down, movies can provide an escape. Then there is the controversy that usually surrounds a political film.” These factors can be related to any of the three films. “But it’s not just the action and the controversy, directors also like the personal layers in historical films—taking a character who is often larger than life, and making them human.”


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Filed under: American History • Entertainment • Film • History • Movies • Trending
December 5th, 2012
12:10 PM ET

Todd Andrlik's book 'Reporting the Revolutionary War' documents war through newspaper clippings

Most Americans learn about the Revolutionary War through textbooks, movies and the occasional "history channel" documentary, but in Todd Andrlik's, "Reporting the Revolutionary War," Americans can now see a different side of the birth of our country, as it was reported in real-time by the journalists of the day.

Author Todd Andrlik is the curator of, an online historical archive of newspapers dating back to the sixteenth century. He says the purpose of his book is to "invert the traditional history book and provide full color access to the original newspapers that were the only mass media of the day."

Andrlik adds that the newspaper editorials were extremely powerful because they "fanned the flames of rebellion and sustained loyalty to the cause throughout the war." He believes, like many historians, that "without newspapers, there would have been no American Revolution."

Filed under: Book • History
November 23rd, 2012
09:35 AM ET

Actor James Spader takes on role of little-known lobbyist in 'Lincoln'

Actor James Spader on his role as W.N. Bilbo in the new Stephen Spielberg movie "Lincoln."

Filed under: Entitlement • History
July 12th, 2012
06:32 PM ET

New book imagines the question: What if Lincoln were impeached?

Stephen Carter, author of "The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln," explores the 'what if' of the Lincoln presidency.

Filed under: History
April 9th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

"Forrest Gump" author Groom explores pivotal battle of Shiloh in "Shiloh 1862"

Winston Groom, author of "Forest Gump," talks about his new "Shiloh 1862" on the pivotal American Civil War battle. He explains why he chose to focus on researching this battle, and why it was so important.

Filed under: History