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Bob Edwards Weekend

October 2009


October 3-4, 2009




Journalist Allison Hoover-Bartlett became friends with a rare book dealer and John Charles Gilkey, the thief who stole from him.  Bartlett’s book The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession ties all of their stories together, and offers a glimpse into the exclusive world of book collectors.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from William O. Douglas. He was an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1939 to 1975. As a boy, he hiked the Cascade Mountains near his home in Washington to strengthen legs weakened by polio. Douglas’ prolific career on the bench was marked by controversy and two attempts to impeach him.


Click here to listen to Hour One.




Juan Gabriel Vasquez grew up in Colombia, was educated in his home country, and in Paris at the Sorbonne.  The 36-year old writer has been translated in nine languages and now for the first time published in the United States.  The Informers is a novel set in World War II Colombia and tells the story of a man who publicly betrays his son and how long buried family secrets come to light.


Mike Fay is an explorer and conservationist who specializes in long journeys. In 1999, he hiked 2,000 miles across the Congo River Basin to take an ecological census of the area. His latest journey was through the magnificent Redwood forests of the Pacific coast. Along the trek, Fay met loggers, environmentalists and ecologists who are developing “enlightened forestry.” Photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols accompanied Fay on the journey and their work is being showcased in October’s edition of National Geographic Magazine. The journey is also being featured in “Climbing Redwood Giants” on the National Geographic TV channel’s “Explorer” program.


Bob talks with entertainment critic David Kipen about new movies in theaters this weekend.


October 10-11, 2009




Last month, another new school year started for students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, New York.  The difference is now they have a brand new, state-of-the-art building in a vibrant neighborhood in Queens.  Bob was there for the ribbon cutting ceremony and to interview Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan Benedetto, about their work in founding and funding one of New York City’s newest public schools.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Martha Graham.  In seven decades as a dancer and choreographer, Graham created 181 ballets. A founder of modern dance, she is known for her collaborations with other leading artists, including composer Aaron Copland. Graham’s company trained dance greats such as Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharp.





The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank is required reading for many junior high and high school students, but most people fail to revisit the work in adulthood.  When author and critic Francine Prose reread Anne Frank’s famous diary, she realized it was the work of a great writer.  In Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, Prose examines the words and cultural effects of this young woman’s writings.


When Rosanne Cash was 18-years-old, her father made a list of 100 essential songs she should hear and appreciate.  Luckily, Johnny Cash’s daughter saved that piece of paper and performs her versions of some of those tunes on a new CD called “The List.”



October 17-18, 2009



As one reviewer put it, “If you think classical music is boring, you haven’t met Michael Tilson Thomas.”  Thomas is doing for classical music today what Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts did in the 1950s and 60s.  Thomas is music director of the  San Francisco Symphony and the host of the PBS program, Keeping Score.  The program was created in 2006 to make a general audience “more comfortable” with classical music not only through the music itself, but by giving life to the men who created the music.  This October, three new episodes are scheduled highlighting  Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, Charles Ives’s Holiday Symphony, and  Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from critic,  journalist, novelist and feminist Rebecca West.  She is known for her studies of the Nazi war crimes  trials at Nuremburg, for which President Harry Truman called her “the world’s best reporter.” In 1959, West was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire, the female equivalent of an honorary knighthood.





Writer Nick Hornby has made a career of writing about the aging issues facing many contemporary men, in his best-selling novels High Fidelity and About A Boy.  His latest book, Juliet, Naked, tells the story of a music fan named Duncan, who discovers an unplugged version of one of his favorite albums.  In his effort to connect with the record’s now-washed-up creator, Duncan discovers that his girlfriend already has found him, and formed an unlikely friendship with the musician. 


Danish director Lone Scherfig is best known for her 2000 film Italian For Beginners.  Her most recent film, An Education, is based on a memoir by  English journalist Lynn Barber and adapted for screen by writer Nick Hornby.  This young English girl’s coming-of-age tale won the Audience Choice and Cinematography awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.


10 years after his first album, Nashville favorite Paul Burch continues to write honky tonk music that even the most staid of Yankees can’t help but enjoy.  His latest album “Still Your Man” showcases new music from this musician who counts Marianne Faithful and Chet Atkins among his fans.


October 24-25, 2009




The number 350 – as in parts per million – is the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.  Environmentalist Bill McKibben talks about his latest project: and why this year is so crucial to scientists concerned about climate change, and what the group has planned for this weekend. October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action.


Kurt Vonnegut is gone but not forgotten. His works are celebrated for their satirical humor and a startling creativity that experimented with traditional narratives. A new book collects some of Vonnegut’s previously unpublished short stories. It’s called, Look at the Birdie. Vonnegut’s longtime friend Sidney Offit wrote the forward, and he joins Bob to reminisce about Vonnegut’s early career and the heyday of magazine fiction, when works by the best writers appeared at newsstands and not just the bookstore. A writer himself, Offit is the author of fourteen books and serves as the curator of the George Polk Awards in Journalism.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Bobby Doerr.  He was the second baseman for the Boston Red Sox from 1937 to 1951, played in nine All-Star Games and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. Doerr now lives in Oregon on land he bought when he was a teenager.  That’s where we reached him by phone to reflect on the essay he recorded decades ago.




Rafe Esquith teaches fifth grade at Hobart Elementary in Los Angeles, California.  He’s the only teacher ever to win the president’s National Medal of the Arts and he returns to the show to discuss his new book, Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World.


Any fan of Libby Gelman-Waxner’s monthly column, “If You Ask Me,” in Premiere magazine (1987-2007) could tell you all about Libby’s home life and her hilarious observations on Hollywood and films.  But many of those fans never knew that “Libby” was actually a pseudonym for screenwriter, playwright, and novelist Paul Rudnick, one of America’s greatest humorists.  Rudnick’s most recent book is a memoir about his work in the theater world, titled, I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey.


October 31-November 1, 2009




Beginning in the late 1960s, Charles Kuralt headed out with a small crew to document unusual and overlooked stories from America’s back roads.  Logging more than a million miles and going through several motor homes, the resulting vignettes became On the Road, and dozens of those segments are now available on DVD for the first time.  Isadore (Izzy) Bleckman was Kuralt’s cameraman for most of those 25 years, and he shares his stories from the road.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gedimanabout the essay from Robbins Milbank. A Princeton graduate and son of a prominent New England family, Milbank worked as a logger in British Columbia for six years. He later moved into advertising, becoming a vice president at McCann-Erickson, and wrote docu-dramas for television.




The 2010 Census is slated to begin soon. And 18 months ago, as required by law, the Census Bureau submitted to Congress the exact wording of each of the ten questions that would be included on the survey. But now Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has introduced an amendment that would require an 11th question: Are you an American citizen?  Patricia Murphy writes “The Capitolist” column for Politics Daily and explains the controversy over the proposed 11th question.


With everyone from the environmental movement to big business “going green,” oceanographer Sylvia Earle urges us to remember the blue. In her new book, The World is Blue, Earle describes the deteriorating health of our oceans and how their decline affects other animals – including humans. Earle is a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and she led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1990-1992.