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Bob Edwards Weekend

January 2009

JANUARY, 3-4 , 2009


According to a recent Gallup poll, four out of ten Americans say they dislike Muslims -- but those Americans might not know just how much influence Arabic culture has had on our language, art, architecture and music. Journalist JONATHAN CURIEL explains how everyone from Ralph Waldo Emerson to The Doors were influenced by Muslims.  Curiel's book is titled Al' America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots.

Newsweek editor JON MEACHAM discusses his latest book which chronicles the life of Andrew Jackson. American Lion sheds light on the myth surrounding America's seventh President and examines Jackson's personal struggles and political philosophies.  Meacham's latest book is titled American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.


Every day, we all create a digital trail of information that forms a picture of who we are, what we buy and where we go. Data mining is nothing new, but now companies and governments can use math and statistics to quickly compare and compile all that data and use it to their advantage. Bob talks with journalist and author STEPHEN BAKER about The Numerati -- the statisticians who translate that raw data into highly targeted ads for consumers and voters.

Bob visits with cowboy poet, rancher and environmentalist WALLY MCRAE at his ranch outside of Colstrip (KOHL-strip), Montana. McRae's family has been raising cattle near Little Big Horn for four generations and McRae is also a founding member of the Northern Plains Research Council, an advocacy group whose work led to the passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. McRae was also the first Montanan and the first cowboy poet to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship.


January 17-18, 2009


In her 2003 best-seller Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, Azar Nafisi wrote about the lives of women in Iran. Now she tells her own life story in Things I've Been Silent About. Nafisi's new memoir is a historical portrait of a family and country leading up to the Islamic Revolution which turned Iran into a religious dictatorship.

Then, Bob talks to Edward Zwick, director of the new film Defiance. It tells the true story of three Jewish brothers who led an armed resistance against the Nazis and saved the lives of more than 12-hundred Jews at the end of World War Two.


In honor of the 200th anniversary of poet and writer Edgar Allen Poe's birthday, writer Peter Ackroyd talks with Bob about his new book Poe: A Life Cut Short.

Finally, Bob talks with singer and musician Boz Scaggs about his expansive career and his new album Speak Low, which covers the standards from the likes of Rodgers and Hart and Duke Ellington.


January 24-25, 2009


DAVID SANGER is chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and the author of The Inheritance. Sanger talks with Bob about the foreign policy challenges and covert programs left behind by the Bush administration for Barack Obama.

EUGENE JARECKI's 2005 documentary Why We Fight was about the causes and inner-workings of what outgoing president Dwight Eisenhower dubbed the military-industrial complex. Jarecki spent the next few years building on the ideas in the film and now has a book, The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril.


Eighteenth-century scientist and philosopher Joseph Priestley was one of the world's most prominent religious thinkers as well as one of The Enlightenment’s most gifted amateur scientists. Writer STEVEN JOHNSON's book The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America uses Priestley's life to look at how revolutionary ideas emerge and spread.

Bob talks with writer MARK HARRIS about his book, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, which compares and contrasts the five Oscar nominees for best picture of 1967. In the Heat of the Night beat out fellow nominees Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Doctor Dolittle.


January 31-February 1, 2009




  • Bob takes a tour of an exhibition titled "Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans" with National Gallery of Art Curator of Photography Sarah Greenough. It's been 50 years since Frank published his landmark photo essay in a book called The Americans.


  • In 1955, Swiss photographer Robert Frank received a Guggenheim grant to document American society as he saw it. After a few years traveling the country and shooting almost 30,000 pictures, Frank chose 83 images to include in "The Americans." The work established him as one of the most important photographers of the 20th century. Frank's photographs were embraced by young artists and critics but the book was generally loathed by the public as a cruel and unsympathetic look at the country.




  • This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. To celebrate, Bob talks with Michael Davis, author of a new book titled Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. Davis conducted more than 200 interviews over five years to tell the story of public television's beloved children's television show.


  • Dave Zirin writes the weekly online column ”Edge of Sports” and hosts a show with the same name on Sirius XM Channel 167. He's also authored several books including What's My Name, Fool? and Welcome to the Terrordrome. In his newest book, Zirin tracks an alternative history of our country as seen through the sports and games Americans have played. The book is called A People's History of Sports in the United States.