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Bob Edwards Weekend - November 2011

November 5-6

HOUR ONE:

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about the country’s looming budget battles and how that will affect politics in this election year.

Journalist Bill Vlasic is the Detroit bureau chief for the New York Times and author of Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America’s Big Three Auto Makers – GM, Ford, and Chrysler.  In his new book, Vlasic chronicles the behind the scenes drama that began in 2005, culminating with the bailout of 2008.

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Erin Blakemore.  When Blakemore joined the local roller derby league, she was an inhibited and buttoned-up woman, but full-contact skating gave her confidence and strength. She heard a similar story from her fellow skaters, who meet four times a week to beat each other up, and build each other up.

HOUR TWO:

Scholar, literary critic and best-selling writer Stephen Greenblatt’s book The Swerve: How the World Became Modernexamines the ancient Roman document that helped inspire the Renaissance.   But that two thousand year old poem by Lucretius was lost for hundreds of years, then found and copied by an Italian scholar in the 15th century.

In modern society, the idea of privacy is rapidly becoming extinct. The feelings and actions we share online – intentionally or otherwise – are unthinkable to previous generations. In his second novel, The Visible ManChuck Klosterman explores the titillation of peeping into private lives through the story of a therapist and one of her patients, a man who uses secret government technology to make himself invisible. Klosterman is the author of Downtown OwlSex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, and Eating the Dinosaur.

 

November 12-13

HOUR ONE:

Dominic Fredianelli signed up for the National Guard after graduating high school, not so much out of a sense of patriotism, but because it seemed like the best opportunity around: one weekend of training a month, a $20,000 signing bonus, and much-needed college tuition support. Soon, 10 of Dominic’s friends also joined up. Heather Courtney’s new documentary Where Soldiers Come From follows the effect one National Guard Unit’s Deployment has on this group of lifelong friends and the town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that they leave behind.

Jan Scruggs is the Founder and President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.  He’ll discuss the significance of the memorial, a book about it, Dreams Unfulfilled: Stories of the Men and Women on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and the future “Education Center at the Wall.”

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Major Peter Godfrin.  He has served in the Army for 14 years, including tours of duty in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. Godfrin writes about the sacrifices made by members of the military throughout American history, and he remembers one of the soldiers in his command who died in Iraq in 2004.

HOUR TWO:

Bob talks with Illustrator Chris Van Allsburg, a three time Caldecott winner and the creator of a number of classic children’s books, including Jumanji, The Polar Express, and The Z Was Zapped.  In 1984, Van Allsburg drew The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a series of illustrations that hint at stories.  Now 14 notable writers – Sherman Alexie, Jules Fieffer, Steven King among them—have written short stories to go with each illustration in The Chronicles of Harris Burdick.

Famed writer Margaret Atwood has just written a treatise on science fiction called, “In Other Worlds: Science Fiction and the Human Imagination.” She talks with Bob about her relationship with the genre and its subtleties.

 

November 19-20

HOUR ONE:

Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.

On November 18, 1978, more than 900 people killed themselves in a jungle in Guyana. A new book titled A Thousand Lives: the Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown tells the story of five of those who willingly followed pastor Jim Jones to South America and to their own demise. Author Julia Scheeres joins Bob to discuss the tragedy.

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jocelyn Fong.  The United States is a nation of immigrants, and no holiday acknowledges that cultural history more than Thanksgiving. For Jocelyn Fong, Thanksgiving meant gathering at her Chinese grandmother’s house with all of her cousins, and piling her plate high with rice — topped with gravy. Fong says her family is an “American blend of a Chinese past and a multicultural future.”

HOUR TWO:

Writer and literary critic Umberto Eco is most famous for his international best-seller In the Name of the Rose.  His most recent novel, The Prague Cemetery, is a literary whodunit that was recently criticized by both a Vatican backed newspaper and by the Chief Rabbi of Rome.  Set in Europe in 1897, the story follows secret agent Captain Simone Simonini as he investigates an assassination and political intrigue.

Bob hears about new books for a winter reading list from Salon.com senior book critic Laura Miller.

 

November 26-27

HOUR ONE:

The art of political name calling in this country goes back to the beginning. Now it’s “latte liberals” and “tea-baggers,” then it was “pettifoggers” and “slang-whangers.”  Linguist Rosemarie Ostler has compiled the history in her new book, Slinging Mud: Rude Nicknames, Scurrilous Slogans, and Insulting Slang from Two Centuries of American Politics.

Werner Herzog’s latest documentary Into the Abyss concerns a death penalty case in a small Texas town that explores themes familiar from his previous films: death, violence and time. Although the details of the triple homicide are grisly, Herzog focuses the film more on the effect the crime had on the families of the victims, the families of the killers, and the killers themselves. 

In this week’s installment of our series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Korinthia Klein.  She is a lifelong musician who knows the power of the perfect song. When Klein was young, her grandfather was her biggest fan, but he always requested one song she didn’t know — “Amazing Grace.” When her grandfather was dying, and medication could not ease his pain, Klein played “Amazing Grace” for him, and saw the comfort her music brought.

HOUR TWO:

Bob spends the hour with Chris ThileNoam Pikelny and Chris Eldridge, members of the bluegrass group The Punch Brothers. They discuss their musical philosophy, their nicknames, how the band formed and how it got its name. The group just finished recording their latest CD for release next year, but Thile and Pikelny also have brand new side projects out now. Banjoist Pikelny’s solo album is called Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail while Thile appears on Yo-Yo Ma’s CD The Goat Rodeo Sessions.