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Bob Edwards Weekend

October 2008

October 4-5, 2008


In the early 1970s, a young writer named Paul Theroux traveled by train through Europe and Asia. The resulting book, The Great Railway Bazaar, launched Theroux's career and set a high standard for the modern travelogue. More than 30 years and 30 books later, Theroux talks with Bob about why he made the trip again, searching for differences and similarities, both in himself and the many countries he visits. Theroux’s latest book is called Ghost Train to the Eastern Star.

Lila Downs didn't always appreciate her multi-cultural background. Her Irish-American father taught at the University of Minnesota, her mother is Mixtec Indian from Oaxaca, Mexico--and for a while Downs rejected all of that to be a traveling "Deadhead." But through music, she embraced her Mexican heritage, now performing passionate songs in Spanish and English. Downs talks with Bob about her life, career and her most recent album titled Shake Away.


Bob talks with Heidi Hyatt, the widow of musician Walter Hyatt who died in a plane crash eight years ago. During his lifetime, the singer/songwriter was part of the Austin music scene and Hyatt is credited with being the original Americana musician. Heidi talks with Bob about a new CD she produced of her late husband's music. It's called Walter Hyatt: Some Unfinished Business, Volume One.

This year marks the Oxford English Dictionary's 80th anniversary and to celebrate, Bob speaks with chief editors John Simpson and Jesse Sheidlower to discuss the etymologies of a few of the 291,500 entries in the world's most comprehensive collection of the English language.

Bob talks with Ammon Shea, author of Reading the OED. It chronicles Shea’s year spent reading the Oxford English Dictionary – all 21,730 pages of it –and tells what he discovered about the English language from A to Z.

October 11-12, 2008


Eugene Rotberg started his career as an attorney at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the early 60s then was Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank for almost 20 years. He's testified before Congress multiple times about the problems facing the US banking system -- the same exact problems that triggered the need for the $700 billion government bailout. Rotberg talks with Bob about why the Fed and regulatory agencies have been resistant to change and why there likely won't be any permanent fixes made to the system in foreseeable future. 

Theoretical physicist Brian Greene has authored two of the best-selling and most accessible books on science: The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos. Greene talks with Bob about his most recent book, Icarus at the Edge of Time, which is a retelling of the Greek myth of Icarus. 

For decades now, folk singer Judy Collins has been performing songs that she hopes "help people heal." On October 14th, Wildflower Records will release Born to the Breed - A Tribute to Judy Collins. The album will include covers of songs Collins made famous by artists such as Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, Jimmy Webb, Shawn Colvin and Dolly Parton.


Music critic Anthony DeCurtis reviews a new double CD from Bob Dylan. Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Volume 8 features rare and unreleased songs recorded by Dylan between 1989 and 2006.

Bob visits with Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen, who made up the first -- and last -- black and white stand-up comedy team in America. They're the subjects of a new book, called Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White, about their ill-fated and often painful attempt to foster tolerance in the 1960s and 70s.



October 18-19, 2008


Dexter Filkins has been covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for The New York Times since 2001. He describes his new book, The Forever War, as visceral, not intellectual. He talks with Bob about his book and his aim to give readers a sense of what it is really like in those countries, which means leaving the protected Green Zone, listening carefully to what Iraqis and Afghanis have to say, and putting his life in great danger.

Bob talks with director Mike Leigh whose latest film Happy-Go-Lucky follows the story of 30-year-old school teacher Poppy played by Sally Hawkins. Poppy's cheery outlook on life is challenged by her driving instructor who has anger management issues.

Musician Jenny Lewis started her career as a child actress, but it didn't take long for her to firmly establish herself as one of indie music's best-known female rockers. Acid Tongue is Lewis' second solo album, and this time she's joined by musical guests like Elvis Costello on a few of the tracks.


Owen Matthews aims to humanize Russia and its people with his new book, Stalin's Children. It's a family memoir, filled with amazing stories of betrayal, survival and perseverance including his mother's childhood spent in a series of orphanages and his Welsh father's obsession with Soviet Russia. Matthews also recounts his own experiences working as a journalist in Russia, resulting in one of our most complete pictures of the Russian psyche. book critic Laura Miller talks with Bob about new fall fiction.

Bob talks with Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson and director Gina Prince-Bythewood about the new movie The Secret Life of Bees, adapted from the New York Times best-selling novel. The story, set in South Carolina in 1964, centers around 14-year old Lily Owens' journey into the lives of three women who show her the true meaning of life and love. The movie also stars Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo.


October 25-26



Former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach is the man who represented the federal government during the stand-off with Alabama governor George Wallace who tried to prevent black students from entering the University of Alabama in 1963. Katzenbach was a behind-the-scenes player in many of the seminal events of the 1960s-- the Civil Rights movement, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cold War and the Vietnam War. He talks with Bob about his new memoir Some of It was Fun: Working with RFK and LBJ.

Steven Rosenfeld has been tracking accusations of voter fraud and manipulation going into this year's Presidential election. He's the co-author of What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election and most recently, of Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting. Rosenfeld talks with Bob about how voter registrations are being challenged, how some states have illegally purged voter lists, and other tactics that have been used to alter the outcome of this year's election.

James Cromwell was a run-of-the-mill character actor until the movie Babe or, as Cromwell puts it, until "my pig came in." Now he's a well-known movie star, currently portraying George Herbert Walker Bush in the new Oliver Stone movie W.


Bob talks with Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman who makes his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a troubled theater director. Kaufman's off-beat, absurdist tone was displayed in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. In this new film, Kaufman takes an even darker look at sanity and relationships.

Jim Davis started out writing and drawing a comic strip called "Gnorm Gnat" which soon ended up being about a beloved, fictional orange cat. Garfield made his first appearance 30 years ago and is now the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world --- translated into 45 languages and delighting more than 200 million readers. Jim Davis has kept the Garfield operation in his home state of Indiana, where Paws, Inc., employs about 50 people, most life-long employees.