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The Bob Edwards Show

August 2007

 

Saturday-Sunday, August 4-5, 2007

From the executive producer of “ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” a new documentary compiles interviews with White House and military leaders about the severe lack of planning, resources, and guidance in the Iraq transition of power. Bob talks to Charles Ferguson, the producer and director of “No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq.”One reviewer says Ferguson “works with a thirst for history that transcends ideology, as he gets a platoon of Bush officials…to go on record about how their advice was trivialized and ignored.”

Deanie Parker first came to a recording studio on McLemore Avenue in Memphis in 1963. She had won a local talent contest and first prize was an audition with Stax Records. Deanie ended up staying and did everything from singer and composer to secretary, liner notes writer, photographer, editor, publicist and documentarian. Deanie talks to Bob about the record label that was a major player in the creation of American soul music. Stax artists included Otis Redding, Isaac Hays, The Staple Singers and Sam & Dave. Stax celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

 Bob talks with Michael Wallis, author of the new book The Lincoln Highway : Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate. It’s a trip across the United States through a bygone era, before interstates turned roadside kitsch into monotony.

Bob talks to Michael Taft about the sounds of carnivals. It’s part of our regular monthly series with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress .

 

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bob talks politics with regular Monday guest David Broder of The Washington Post . Then, Bob talks to Susan Shreve about new memoir Warm Springs: Traces of a Childhood at FDR’s Polio Haven. Shreve was sent to Warm Springs in 1950, just after her eleventh birthday and at the height of the polio epidemic.

 

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bob talks to Ted Anthony. He has written an entire book about one song. It’s called Chasing the Rising Sun: The Journey of an American Song . Then, Bob talks to members of the Young at Heart Chorus . When this group of 70-plus-year-olds perform songs such as The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the lyrics often take on new, often ironic, meaning. Their latest CD includes U2’s “One” and Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

 

Wednesday , August 8, 2007

Bob talk to Katherine Eban about her article “Rorschach and Awe” in Vanity Fair. American’s coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by the two CIA psychologists who had spent their careers training US soldiers to endure communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical “black sites” operation. Then, Steven J. Harper talks with Bob about his book Crossing Hoffa: A Teamster Story. In 1961, truck driver Jim Harper’s brake lines were cut, nearly ending his life. Earlier, Harper had fought against corruption in Teamsters’ Local 544 in Minneapolis, efforts that captured media attention and the notice of Jimmy Hoffa, who was trying to repair the union’s image and ensure its autonomy. Jim’s son retraces the facts and events that led to Harper and Hoffa’s confrontation.

 

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former press secretary (1994-2003) talks with Bob about his book The Blair Years: The Alastair Campbell Diaries. It’s an intimate account recorded daily by Blair’s most trusted strategist and confidant. He has often been described as the second most powerful figure in Britain. Then Bob speaks with author Paul Dickson about Burgess Unabridged: A Classic Dictionary of Words You Have Always Needed, by turn of the century author Gelett Burgess, and Dickson’s own Family Words: A Dictionary of the Secret Language of Families . Burgess Unabridged, published in 1914, introduced a playful spirit of linguistic experimentation into the American cultural landscape, which has been diligently documented by Dickson in his various works on American slang.

 

Friday, August 10, 2007

During a break between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Bob talks with tennis player, James Blake. 2004 was a particularly painful year for Blake. A few months after sustaining a neck fracture after a freak accident on the court, Blake was diagnosed with shingles; and it was also the year that his father lost his long struggle with stomach cancer. Blake chronicles the difficult time and his bounce back in a new memoir called Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life . Then, Bob speaks with Michael Quinion (KWINN-ee-un), the etymologist behind the World Wide Words web site. This time they uncover the origin of the phrase, “to clean one’s clock.” And finally, we hear from cowboy poet Baxter Black.

 

Saturday-Sunday, August 11-12, 2007

Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former press secretary (1994-2003) talks with Bob about his book The Blair Years: The Alastair Campbell Diaries. It’s an intimate account recorded daily by Blair’s most trusted strategist and confidant. He has often been described as the second most powerful figure in Britain.

Bob talks to travel writer Colin Thubron about his latest book Shadow of the Silk Road. In the book, he chronicles his events through the ancient paths of the Silk Road. He spent eight months traveling 7,000 miles tracing the vestiges of the legendary trade route between China and Antioch.

 Bob talk to Katherine Eban about her article “Rorschach and Awe” in Vanity Fair. American’s coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by the two CIA psychologists who had spent their careers training US soldiers to endure communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical “black sites” operation.

Thorstein Veblen was the economist who coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption.” Economics professor, Ken McCormick talks to Bob about Veblen’s legacy on the sesquicentennial of his birth. McCormick is the author of Veblen in Plain English .

Bob talks to Ted Anthony. He has written an entire book about one song. It’s called  Chasing the Rising Sun: The Journey of an American Song.

 

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bob talks politics with regular Monday guest David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, Helen Thomas has been part of the White House press corps for decades, covering every president since John F. Kennedy. Bob sits down with Thomas in her Washington office to discuss her long and impressive career. Her latest book - called Watchdogs of Democracy? – is now out in paperback.

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 

Bob talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Tim Weiner about the confusion and misdirection that pervades the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Weiner interviewed CIA insiders including former agency chiefs and wrote his findings in Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. Then we revisit Bob’s interview with Doug Block. He talked to Bob about his documentary film “51 Birch Street.” which asks the question: Do you really want to know your parents? The film is released on DVD today.

 

Wednesday , August 15, 2007

Bob talks with our sports analyst King Kaufman about baseball, and the budding football season. Then, movie reviewer David Kipen joins Bob to discuss what’s in theaters now.

 

Mundell Lowe and Jim Ferguson are separated in age by a few decades but they are united in their love of playing jazz together. With Lowe on guitar and Ferguson on bass, the pair began touring and eventually realized that their musical pairing was deserving of an album. Bob talks with Mundell Lowe and Jim Ferguson about Jazz, their careers, and their new album, titled “Haunted Heart.”

 

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Novelist and critic Francine Prose talks with Bob about her book “How to Read like a Writer.” Prose writes that before creative writing workshops aspiring writers learned to write by reading the work of great writers. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoysevsky, Flaubert, kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why these writers endure.

 

Singer songwriter Peter Yarrow’s most beloved song “Puff the Magic Dragon” is brought to life in a new illustrated children’s book. Yarrow talks to Bob about how “Puff” came into being, what it was like to record with his daughter, and his years with friends and musical collaborators Paul and Mary.

 

Friday, August 17, 2007 

Bob talks with filmmaker Tom DiCillo about his new movie, “Delirious.”

 

Saturday-Sunday, August 18-19, 2007

Novelist and critic Francine Prose talks with Bob about her book “How to Read like a Writer.” Prose writes that before creative writing workshops aspiring writers learned to write by reading the work of great writers. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why these writers endure.

Singer songwriter Peter Yarrow’s most beloved song “Puff the Magic Dragon” is brought to life in a new illustrated children’s book. Yarrow talks to Bob about how “Puff” came into being, what it was like to record with his daughter, and his years with friends and musical collaborators Paul and Mary .

Helen Thomas has been part of the White House press corps for decades, covering every president since John F. Kennedy. Bob sits down with Thomas in her Washington office to discuss her long and impressive career. Her latest book called “Watchdogs of Democracy?” is now out in paperback.

Bob talks with filmmaker Tom DiCillo (“The Real Blonde,” “Johnny Suede,” and “Living in Oblivion”) about his new movie “Delirious” starring Steve Buscemi.

Mundell Lowe and Jim Ferguson are separated in age by a few decades but they are united in their love of playing jazz together. With Lowe on guitar and Ferguson on bass, the pair began touring and eventually realized that their musical pairing was deserving of an album. Bob talks with Mundell Lowe and Jim Ferguson about jazz, their careers, and their new album, titled “Haunted Heart.”

Monday, August 20, 2007
Bob’s regular Monday guest, David Broder, is away, so Bob will talk politics with Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times. Then, we kick off our series, The L Word: Liberalism in America. We begin with Cheryl Reed , the newly appointed editorial page editor for the Chicago Sun-Times. She recently decided to change the ideological perspective of the Sun-Times. Bob talks to her about that process and the role of liberalism in journalism today.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
As part of our special series on liberalism, Bob talks to economist Dean Baker about what the US economic policy should be right now and why trickle down economics doesn’t work. Dean Baker writes for The American Prospect and is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Bob talks with James Scurlock about his documentary film “Maxed Out.”  “Maxed Out” takes viewers on a journey deep inside the American style of debt. The film shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of “preferred customer” and tells us why the poor are getting poorer while the rich keep getting richer. The film is currently out on DVD.
Wednesday , August 22, 2007
For part three of our series, The L Word: Liberalism in America, Bob talks to Peter Beinart about the benefits and challenges of a liberal national security policy. Beinart wrote “The Good Fight: Why Liberals—And Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.” Then, Bob talks to New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Chris Rose about his collection of post-Katrina essays and articles. After the storm, Rose regularly passed an abandoned house on St. Roch Avenue in the 8th Ward. On the front was spray-painted, “1 dead in attic.” Rose writes, “It’s spray-painted there on the front of the house and it probably will remain spray-painted there for weeks, months, maybe years, a perpetual reminder of the untimely passing of a citizen, a resident, a New Orleanian.”
Thursday, August 23, 2007
As part of the special series on liberalism, Bob talks to Reverend John Buehrens about Christian liberals, civil rights, and moral economics—where religion and politics intersect. Buehrens argues the prominence of the “religious right” has been distorted in the United States. John Buehrens is the author of “Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers, and Religious Liberals.”
Friday, August 24, 2007
For the final installment of our series, “The L Word: Liberalism in America,” Bob chats with political humorist Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post. Then, Bob talks to director Seth Gordon about his documentary King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Gordon documents the battle over reigning gaming legend Billy Mitchell and local hero Steve Wiebe for the title of Donkey Kong champion. Bob talks to director about his documentary Gordon documents the battle over reigning gaming legend Billy Mitchell and local hero Steve Wiebe for the title of Donkey Kong champion.

 

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bob’s regular Monday guest, David Broder, is away, so Bob will talk politics with Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief of the Los Angeles Times. Then Bob talks to Esquire magazine journalist Brian Mockenhaupt. He served two tours in Iraq and recently returned to Ghazaliya for his latest article titled “God’s Not Watching Baghdad.” And finally, Bob talks to our music reviewer Anthony DeCurtis about two new CD releases — “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” and Brandi Shearer’s “Close to Dark.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We revisit two interviews from our archives. First, Bob’s conversation with renowned writer Lee Smith about her latest novel On Agate Hill. Smith grew up in Grundy, Virginia but came late to the idea of writing about the civil war.  Next, Bob speaks with Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Both books are now available in paperback.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On this second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we dip in our archive. First to bring back Bob’s interview with Christopher Cooper and Robert Block. The Wall Street Journal reporting team has co-authored Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security. Then Bob chats with the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas about how Katrina has affected her family, friends and her nightclub, the Lion’s Den in New Orleans.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New York Times reporter John Leland most recent book is Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They’re Not What You Think).  In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s Beat novel, Bob talks with Leland about the importance and lasting effects of “On the Road.” Then, writer Joyce Johnson’s memoirs “Minor Characters” details her relationships with many key figures of the Beat movement and focuses particularly on the years she lived with writer Jack Kerouac.  Joyce talks with Bob about 1957 and 1958, when Kerouac rose from obscurity to fame with the publication of “On the Road.”  This month marksthe 50th anniversary of “On the Road.”

Friday, August 31, 2007

When Elvis Presley recorded “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog” in 1956, he had to find a Side B. He rummaged through a pile of demos and found a tune by a man named Otis Blackwell. The song was “Don’t be Cruel.”  In this month’s issues of the magazine American Songwriter, Brian Gilmore writes about Blackwell who wrote over 1000 songs. Blackwell died in 2002.  Gilmore is also a poet and has written a book of poems called Elvis Presley Is Alive and Well and Living in Harlem.